So I read the entry written by Tina Cassidy's husband on her blog and have been thinking about the impact of partners on the choice of birth place. Matt would have written the opening sentence the same way, "I guess you can call me a home-birth husband" (emphasis mine). Matt is by no means as passionate about the benefits of home birth as I am. He acknowledges, after a thorough analysis of the issue, that given the state of birth in the U.S., it does seem to be the safer choice for many women. Not all partners are able to make the journey from home birth skeptic to home-birth husband/partner, which means mom might end up going along with their partner's wishes, silencing the tiny voice in their heart that hoped for a better birth.
I fear that too many partners have trouble making the leap to home or birth center birth. I frequently hear women mention they would love to have a doula, switch to a midwife, switch to a birth center, switch to a home birth, but lament that their husband doesn't support their decision. I didn't switch to a home birth for my VBAC until I was about 7 months pregnant because when I first broached the subject Matt said, in effect, NO WAY. Should a partner have an equal vote in choosing birth place? In my first and second pregnancies I was quick to reply yes. With this baby I would have to say, in my opinion, no. I think that a decision whose full impact is on the mom/baby should, in the end, be made by the mom. I think the reason I was quick to give Matt an equal share in the decision-making process is that when I agreed to a hospital birth, I didn't really know what I was missing. The easier recovery process, the new-found faith in my body and my ability to mother, the ecstasy of birth, these things were not yet a part of my reality.
I love the fact that Tina's husband learned to buy in 100% and that he shared his story on Tina's blog. I hope partners hear his message and put a similar trust in their partner and their quest for a better birth. I am very thankful that Matt found the way to home birth and appreciate his willingness to share his story with local dads. If he had never come around to the idea, there is a very good chance I would never have had a VBAC and as a result I would not be pregnant with this beautiful baby that I am now carrying.