Home Birth Breeds Positive Parenting
Home Birth Breeds Positive Parenting
For immediate release - Nationwide - New Zealand’s Home Birth Awareness Week begins, quite suitably, on Labour Day each year. During this week, families and communities around the nation celebrate the choice that all women have to birth at home in New Zealand. For Home Birth Aotearoa (HBA), the national collective of New Zealand’s home birth support groups, it brings a chance to highlight the positive effects of home birth and home birth support groups on our communities.
HBA asserts that the act of sharing and supporting home birth experiences can have flow-on effects to encourage positive parenting choices. Nadia Kersel, spokesperson for HBA, says that “through our work across the country, we have noticed that the choice to birth at home often fosters a desire to parent with consciousness and compassion.” Choosing to birth at home is synonomous with self-confidence and a belief in birth as a normal, healthy life event, and Mrs Kersel states that “this creates in parents an empowered perspective from which to make those important choices early on, such as breastfeeding.” Indeed, according to the MMPO (Midwifery and Maternity Providers Organisation) report of 2011, an impressive 87% of babies born at home were exclusively breastfed – in line with what the WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends as optimal for infant growth and development as well as for a lifetime of wellness.
Families that make positive and empowered parenting choices, including home birth, often go on to proactively support other families in their communities. HBA consists of 25 volunteer-led home birth support groups. While diverse in structure and based in different regions of New Zealand, these groups are made up of families, midwives and whānau whose lives have been touched by home birth. Active support can range from book lending to birth pool hire and post-partum meal support as well as the far-reaching and deeper benefits of community. “Home birth support groups often form the basis of a new family’s community through deep, honest connection and lifelong friendships,” says Mrs Kersel. These groups create a foundation for these connections by providing a space for new parents to experience the enduring and positive effects of home birth. Mrs Kersel explains, “expectant mothers and their partners get to witness, in the flesh, what is often an alternate experience to what they have come to expect for themselves through media and mainstream birth culture”. Furthermore, she states that “families who gather with the intention to support others in home birth stand as a strong testimony to the generosity and commitment to family and community, stemming from their choice to birth at home.”
According to HBA, communities founded on a respect for birth and parenting bring limitless potential for cultural change - “given the disturbing rate at which child abuse is prevalent in New Zealand, a positive and empowered start to parenting makes a significant contribution to the wellness of those families, their communities and our nation as a whole” says Mrs Kersel. Essentially, this co-ordinated, grass-roots effort to empower parents and support home birth creates a pathway to conscious, positive parenting as well as uniting diverse families into caring communities. Plentiful rewards for us all it seems, for but a little labour.
HOME BIRTH AWARENESS WEEK 2013
· From Monday 28 October to Sunday 3 November
· Followed by the annual Home Birth Aotearoa National Hui in Dunedin, 8-10November
· Check out www.homebirth.org.nz to contact your regional home birth group or to find a home birth midwife
· Find HBA on Facebook www.facebook.com/homebirthaotearoa