There is so much controversy surrounding homebirth; many people in our country are simply appalled at the suggestion that homebirth still exists. At the same time, there are those who would not consider birthing any other way. There are several studies that indicate no difference in outcome for a healthy mother and baby experiencing a healthy pregnancy. However, homebirth is still very much the exception in the U.S.
I have no doubt that many more would consider homebirth if they understood more about modern birth practices. There is a new video available through most video rental stores called "The Business of Being Born.” It is a documentary by Ricki Lake and Abbie Epstein that depicts the history of modern birth practices and showcases the depth and power of homebirth, contrasting it with hospital birth. There is no doubt that a natural birth enhances mother/baby bonding and eases breastfeeding.
If women knew what they were giving up, I am certain they would overwhelmingly choose to birth their babies naturally. The difficulty with birthing naturally in the hospital is the unfamiliar surroundings, the unfamiliar staff, and the immediate "option" of pain relief. While birth is an intense process and it is difficult to not want relief, women who successfully birth naturally indisputably experience a "high" that is indescribable. Additionally, there is something about making it through, reaching deep into ourselves for an inner strength we did not know we had. It is a rite of passage that most women in America no longer get to experience. It is something that we can carry forward into those long nights awake with a sick baby, the difficulties of raising a teenager, all the challenges that life throws at us; we know where to reach inside for that place of strength we might not otherwise know how to access.
One thing is certain: mothers who birth naturally in the intimacy and familiar comfort of their homes generally experience greater bonding with their babies, greater success with breastfeeding, and closer-knit families. Perhaps this is all a reflection of who they are; perhaps it is because there was not a disruption of the natural hormones and pheromones present at a birth with no interventions.