Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ignore Doula Dani Because...

I hear/see a lot of reasons why home birth advocates try to convince people not read my blog. And it's not just me, it's anyone who brings up issues or concerns with home birth. We all pretty much hear the same things to deflect and/or discredit those of us who vocalize our concerns. If I take part in these conversations, I ask "what have I written that is not accurate?" But instead of answering that question (or addressing any of the issues I bring up), they either delete my comments or they avoid my questions or they try to attack me personally (in hopes of hurting my credibility). What are the typical excuses home birth advocates use? Let's discuss them.

1. She is a "minion of Dr. Amy."

I don't keep it a secret that I read The Skeptical OB's website. Am I her minion? No. Come on. I am not the minion of anyone. What is it about Dr. Amy? Do people think if they visit her website that free will flies out the window? It's just the most absurd thing. Do I agree with everything she writes and how she writes it? No. I highly doubt anyone reads any website or blog or what-have-you and agrees with everything the author says. But I think she brings up a lot of excellent points and I understand what her bottom line is regarding home birth: to help prevent more preventable loss.

Perhaps next time I am involved in a discussion about home birth -- which I often am -- instead of addressing someone's comment I will just say "you are just one of Ina May Gaskin's minions, there's no point in discussing home birth with you." But I wouldn't do that. Because it's a cop out.

Let's be clear: I have come to the place that I have and have developed my opinions and my own stance about home birth because of my own personal experiences and from reading and looking up information myself. I have references to everything on my blog so people can look up information themselves. If you don't want to believe me or what I have written, I completely understand! I am a stranger on the internet. I get it. So here's the good news: I provide all of the studies and resources so you can check for yourselves... and I think you should check for yourself. Have I made a mistake? Let me know. I am not here to make a point by deceiving anyone. I want you to have truthful, accurate information so you can make your own informed decision. My blog may not offer up anything you didn't already know. Or it may bring up some things you hadn't considered or weren't yet aware of. Regardless, I want to offer up truthful information and if I have made any errors in information I have presented, I want to and will fix it.

2. She has an agenda.

My agenda? To help women understand that there is another side to the home birth propaganda. To help women make informed decisions. Home birth forums/websites/pages/blogs consistently censor and delete information that does not support their point-of-view. They do not allow open conversation. They maintain echo chambers. So it's hard for women to see that there is another side to home birth because of all of the censorship. I started my blog to help share that "other side" coming from the perspective of someone who truly understands the value and appeal of home birth, someone who initially wanted home births for my own children. Just as I would hate for a woman to choose an elective cesarean section without true informed consent, I'd hate for a woman to choose home birth without true informed consent.

3. She wants hits on her blog.

Why? What would gaining "hits" do for me? I don't earn money from my blog. I purposely keep it ad-free just so readers can be 100% certain that gaining hits does not benefit me in any way. Quite a while ago, I removed the site traffic counter from my blog. I truly have no incentive at all to try to gain hits.

4. She wants everyone to draw the same conclusion that she did.

It is none of my business where you choose to give birth and with whom you choose as your care provider. It does not make a difference at all to me - no difference whatsoever. Your choices do not validate nor invalidate my choices. I am not campaigning to make home birth illegal.  I do not want home birth to be illegal. I simply want women to understand what they are choosing when they choose to have a home birth in our country.

5. She's biased, angry, and extremely anti-home birth.

I'm not against home birth. In fact, I think it is an important option for women. I understand the benefits of home birth. My issue is not with the option to have a home birth and it is certainly not with the women/families who choose home birth.

My issue is with how home birth is promoted with misinformation.

My issue is with NARM and their lack accountability and their low standards.

My issue is with the higher mortality rates at home births in our country and how these deaths are not dealt with, they are swept under the rug, nothing is being done to make improvements.

My issue is that the focus of MANA and those at the forefront of the home birth movement should be "what can we do to improve outcomes for home birth." But instead their focus is and has been "what can we do to fool women into believing these outcomes are good."

Yes, this stuff makes me angry: misinformation, misleading women, censorship, preventable loss.... to me these are good reasons to feel angry. I try to keep my tone as kind as possible. It was easier for me at first when discussing these issues... but over time, after being censored and called names and seeing how loss moms are treated (horribly) and having people dodge my questions over and over and over again, it takes its toll. It is hurtful, frustrating, angering.... and sometimes I have a hard time not writing out those frustrations. But I truly try to keep my tone and blog to reflect my true feelings: that home birth is an important option that I do not want to see go away but that our home birth system needs an overhaul so that it is a truly safe option. Is it bad to be angry at times? Is one supposed to walk through life without ever experiencing that emotion? Of course not. I deal with my anger in the same way that I teach my children to deal with anger and frustration: with my words.

So why else should you ignore me? Have I missed anything?

The truth is.... I'm not here to tell you not to choose home birth. I just want women to make informed decisions. I want women to understand what's going on with home birth in our country.... the full scoop.


  1. Ah, how I recognize that hollering from the crowd of NCB advocates! I've been the target as well... and am pretty sure I wrote a post just like this one when I got tired of the rabble and their noise. So, you aren't alone!

    You are doing the right thing... or else they wouldn't be so loud and adamant about not reading your blog. Congratulate yourself!

    I'm right here next to you, keeping you company. I'm proud of you.

    1. Thank you, Barb! I appreciate so much how you share both sides of the story about home birth (and more) on your blog and Facebook page. Your perspective is so valuable.

  2. They are really reaching to discredit you. I have to say that you are very nice and thoughtful, even when other people are slinging mud. I admire your restraint.

    1. Thank you, I really appreciate that. I was shocked to hear someone say that I seem angry... But when I take an honest look at myself, yes, there are a few times when I get a little, um, impassioned?? :)

  3. ..Because you make people uncomfortable. That's how you know you are doing a good job of being critical. If they had any actual arguments to use against you they would, but they are just trying to smear you for this or that reason.

    I run an ex home birthers blog that is very critical of dr amy. Not a lot of hardcore NCB types have shown up yet, but I am sure they would find a reason to dismiss me too.

  4. Dani- do you have any references to studies for pregnancy after rupture? A woman in my online group is attempting a VBa2c in a birth center AFTER a dehiscence was discovered during her 2nd section. Her midwife told her her risk of rupture is less than 1%.

  5. actually you don't seem angry to me but you do come accross as an Amy Tuteur mouthpiece, and i'm not a homebirth advocate (although not opposed either). the reason is that almost every single point you make is something said by Amy Tuteur. not everything but most. Link after link after link in your pieces takes one back not to original scientific data but to Amy Tuteur. so if someone wants amy tuteur's perspective without the nastiness, ad hominem attacks, and extraneous topics like attachment parenting or whatever, than your blog is a good address. on the other hand, if someone is accustomed to visiting amy's blog they really have no reason to visit yours as well because they're unlikely to find anything they haven't already read. you didn't ask me for advice of course, but my 2 cents is you should take a break from reading amy's blog for a few weeks and find your own voice.

    1. What links have I provided that take you to Amy Tuteur?

      I'm aware that I discuss topics already covered by Dr. Tuteur. The reason I started my blog was because there are many home birth advocates that will never visit her website because of what they have heard about her, so I wanted to offer the same type of information but in a different way and obviously from a different person..... Another reason is because my perspective is very different. She is an OB/GYN who would never even consider a home birth; I'm a birth doula who planned to have home births -- so our perspectives are very different. And finally, my blog has offered me personally a way to sort through my own feelings and finding information for myself, from the original sources, not from other blogs.

  6. as for the vba2c studies check out KMOM's website which has references to lots of vbac studies.


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