Dr. Phil’s request for homebirth horror stories

August 29, 2008 § 7 Comments

Dr. Phil, you are a jerk!

Dr. Phil has a t.v. show here in the U.S. He is asking for home birth horror stories for an upcoming show. Please be patient as I fume during this entry. After asking you to recount your homebirth horror story, one of his questions he asks is, “Did you have your second child the traditional way in a hospital?” Now, Dr. Phil, you don’t look like a young man. How can you call a hospital birth “traditional”? Have you asked your grandmother where she had her babies? Are you absolutely sure your mom wasn’t born at home? Okay. Besides the fact that he’s a sensationlist, promoting negative birth stories and plus negative home birth stories is really bad karma! How many babies does he want to have stall on the way out? Are his ratings really that low that he has to turn to this? Argh! I did write him a note telling him of my positive homebirth story. One of the midwives in town is trying to get a bunch of us to write to him, hopefully swamping him with positive homebirth stories. Will it work? Who cares. We have to try! Here’s what I wrote to him:

I had a wonderful home birth with my first child, in 2006, in Chicago with HomeFirst Health Services. It was a quick labor and I felt completely supported by those present. I had my family and some friends worried that we had made a wild decision to have our child at home, but in the end found our choice to be quite conservative. My husband’s grandmother and my father and his sisters were all born at home, connecting us on a generational level. By the way, hospital births are not the tradition, if you check your sources correctly, home birthing is.

One of the reasons I chose a home birth was that I actually wanted to have an experience where I’d be allowed to not be in control. Labor, which you wouldn’t know about first hand, goes smoothest when, like the internationally-known midwife Ina May Gaskin puts it, you let your monkey do it. This involves being able to feel comfortable enough to move and vocalize in the way your body wants to- not the medical staff. The mind-body connection is really powerful and a pregnant woman needs all positive stories (birth or otherwise) for her to feel safe when birthing. I had that.

I am due on Monday with my second child, also a planned home birth. I have the support of positive birth stories both from books and family and friends; I have the trust of my body; I have my homebirth kit sitting in the closet; and I have time- something a hospital would not grant me. Why would I want to go to a hospital unless medically necessary? And why would you do a show on negative birth stories, home or hospital? The negative image of labor has already seeped into myriad young girls’ minds. These girls have grown up to believe that the only way to labor is in a hospital with a medical team ready to intervene, not support. They believe that their bodies were not made to have a vaginal birth. These negative birth stories are a large cause of these misconceptions.

I trust you can do more research on the effects of negative birth stories on the outcomes of what should be normal labors. I look forward to watching a show of yours that actually promotes positive birth stories and supports women, rather than instills fear in them. Thank you.

Add your positive home birth story here.

Has it been made clear enough how important it is for friends of a pregnant woman to refrain from negative stories? I really do mean this. The news is a big culprit these days but so are little stories that you hear at work or around your friends. I’ve recently been on the receiving end of a couple of negative stories and I tell you that’s all I’ve been dreaming about. It’s related to your subconscious in late pregnancy (especially). Your body is preparing for one thing. Considering what would happen “if” or “when” is not part of the process your body needs. You can see now why going into a hospital where you have to think clearly is not a promoter of natural childbirth. It’s contrary to the whole process. But I know not everyone wants to have a homebirth. For those of you considering it though, come talk to me… and don’t watch Dr. Phil’s show!


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§ 7 Responses to Dr. Phil’s request for homebirth horror stories

  • Eeek… should be quite a show.

    We’re collecting positive birth stories over at Indie Birth. It’s a site I started to help change thoughts about homebirth in the U.S.

    When I say “positive” birth stories, that doesn’t mean that they all are perfect births… By positive, I mean that all of the stories are examples of the power of women and examples of how birth CAN be natural… and without fear.

    Please help us spread the word:


    Thank you!

  • Gayle says:

    Shame on Dr. Phil!! Though I personally never had a choice as to where I wanted to birth because of complications during my 1st pregnancy I believe a woman should feel free to make an educated decision about where she wants to deliver her child, whether it be at home or in a hospital. I have so many friends already so fearful of the birthing process seeing it as unnatural that this type of show is only going to make it worse.
    Please, please share your positive stories with Dr. Phil. That turkey needs to be better educated!

  • Megan says:

    Love and hugs and I wish you all the best.

    I was born at home…and at the time my parents lived as many of my friends would say “way out in the sticks”….I think Mum went for 27 hours and had the BEST midwife in the whole country.

    I will be trying again (when we manage to get started) to have a birth outside of a hospital…
    This time I’m going to try getting together more information for myself and learn how to de-stress.
    Dr Phil is S**t stirring…and adding stress to make things go wrong.

  • Home Birth Advocate says:

    I know this won’t be popular with a lot of home birth moms but please bear with me and read my whole statement

    Ladies, wymyn — please stop talking about how wonderful home birth is! Seriously. Here’s why:

    The most important message to get out there right now is about the problems women face in illegal states (illegal for Certified Professional Midwives, or CPMs). Our ultimate audience with any public statement is always the legislators, and they (lawmakers) are not going to support us if they just keep hearing good stories. This is because they will either (1) feel defensive [if home birth is so great did I make a bad choice?] or (2) think there’s not problem, so why change the status quo? The fact is lawmakers need a problem to fix before they can feel justified in passing a new law, so present the problem to them, b/c it is a problem when the state fails to license CPMs.

    Like it or not, sometimes a home birth mom needs to go to the hospital, and if her midwife is illegal, that can mean wasted precious time fighting with the hospital staff.

    Sometimes (and more so in an illegal state) a person claiming to be a qualified midwife can fudge things. There’s good and bad in every profession: doctors, nurses, lawyers, and yes, even midwives. And if the state fails to license home birth midwives (CPMs), then it can be really difficult for a mom to verify qualifications.

    It doesn’t matter if Dr. Phil has a negative show, b/c you know what? Almost always the response is “that’s why we need to license CPMs in all 50 states”

    If you’re living in a state that’s already legal, thank your lucky stars, and please consider lending your support to your sisters in the nearest illegal state. I can assure you that the team working on legislation there is overworked and all-volunteer, and their organization probably needs financial support.

    And no, nurse-midwives DO NOT attend home births with very few individual exceptions. In fact, their home birth stats have fallen over the past decade or so (used to be 2% of CNM births took place at home; latest numbers show that only 1% of CNM births take place in the home.)

    WE NEED CPMs!!!!

  • Amy says:

    This makes my blood boil! I hate that he’s misrepresenting home birth to the masses, as if it doesn’t already have enough myths opposing it that AREN’T EVEN BASED IN FACT!!!!!! No studies have proven that home birth is less safe except one that included unplanned home births, unattended home births, and miscarriages. This is hardly an accurate picture of responsible home birth. I am so disappointed…

  • Avani says:

    I am very upset to hear that he wants only horror stories for Home births. Why can’t you have a little bit of both if he really is doing this show to hopefully make home births legal in all states I don’t think its a good idea to only show the negative they need to show the good sides and hear about the amazing support that you get from your midwives and the pleasant experience of being in the comfort of your home. If you want to have negative horror stories on Home births to hopefully make lawmakers think we need to certify midwives and make it legal then that is fine but to only talk about the negative is only going to give them more reason to stand by their statement in keeping it illegal because it is “dangerous”

    I’m due on Halloween and will be having a home birth and I was born at home in Hawaii right in my beach house and as soon as I was born my dad took me out to the beach and gave me a little bit of coconut water straight from the coconut and I looove being able to tell people about my birth. I did a lot of research about Home births and Hospital births and I heard waaaaay more negative feedback ( in hospitals they take your baby away from you for hours and stick them in some room behind glass and you don’t get to be with your baby!) about hospitals and the cold and unfriendly environment. It is definitely a good choice to be in a hospital when there is a MEDICAL reason to be there but if you have a low risk pregnancy, great midwife, support team and a back up plan there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to know that it is safe and ok to be in the comfort of your own home to have your child.

    p.s. Dr. Phil hospital births are NOT the “Traditional” way of things.

  • Ann says:

    I think a woman choosing home birth needs to hear both sides to the story. You can’t ignore that some home births do not go well and if Dr. Phill wants to give a pedistal to women who want to share a negative experience then so be it.

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