Of the few friends I have who have either VBACed or had a homebirth, I've never understood why they aren't more outspoken advocates of their experiences. Maybe they just don't have the time to devote, or the desire, seeing their "alternative" birth as a once-and-done experience and are ready to move on to something else. In my circle of friends, I seem to be the one loud-mouthed person who is writing about it, reading about it, talking about it, and I wish that could change.
When I was pregnant with my second, I had no intention of having a VBAC at first. A woman from my church quietly took me aside and asked if I had ever considered having one, and I said I wasn't sure and they sounded too dangerous, blah blah blah. In fact, I had never done any research on them at that point, and just thought a repeat cesarean was my only option. She herself had had a long, arduous vaginal birth, bargaining with her doctor to be allowed more time to labor, finally delivering a baby boy with a nuchal hand. In short, a real "birth warrior" who was exercising her rights and being her own patient advocate at a difficult time. After that, though, probably because she was done having children, her interest in advocating childbirth choices seemed to fade into the background, at least until she spoke to me.
Little did either of us know that, in my 37th week of pregnancy, I'd be calling her on the phone at 10 p.m. to ask about her VBAC. Not what either of us ever expected!
I liken those parallels to some of the celebrities we know of who have had either a natural birth (more on that later) or a homebirth. There is no shortage of them, and websites galore list them. If you were to picture a mental list of celebrity homebirthers, Ricki Lake and Gisele Bundchen would probably top the list. And that's okay - they're both outspoken and educated about it, passing on that information to any and all who can benefit from it. Gisele does have a blog, and while her primary focus seems to be on the environment, she does devote some space to childbirth.
Some would argue that perhaps the reason we're so familiar with Ricki's stance on birth is because, thank God, she's made a movie about it. Whatever it takes! It got our attention (whether good or bad), and people know she's a staunch advocate of homebirth and choices in childbirth. But where the heck is everyone else?!
Dozens of celebrities have had homebirths, and only one I can think of has VBACed - Kate Winslet. I remember reading awhile back how she lied about the birth of her first child because she felt ashamed or a sense of failure over her c-section. Not uncommon, sadly. However, I'm not sure she really tooted the VBAC Horn, either, and I think even made mention how she "quietly VBACed" with her second child. Not sure if that means it was boring and uneventful, or if she just didn't want to talk about it. While she probably has strong opinions about VBACs, it's not like she's talking about it regularly or encouraging other women to have them.
Julianne Moore, Kelly Preston, many entertainers (Nelly Furtado and Ani DiFranco, to name a few) and the wives of many male celebrities all had home births. Remember Kenny Loggins, a folk/pop singer from the 70's? His wife gave birth at home unassisted, albeit by "accident," because of a precipitous labor. Meryl Streep had all four of her children at home. Pamela Anderson had both of her sons at home, and apparently is a big advocate of long-term breastfeeding. Really? Who knew? I know she walked down the catwalk pretty much nekkid to promote PETA, of all things, but why not do it while having an infant at her breast?
Perhaps a little extreme. But sometimes I just wish these people in positions of "clout" would promote their successful, safe "alternative births" more - like, the way they talk about PETA or environmentalism. Wouldn't that be a wonderful boost for the cause?
One midwife's website that I recently read stated that Gisele was the next celebrity spokesmodel for homebirth or something like that - "move over, Ricki Lake!" I frowned and thought, no need to move over - there's room for many more.
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