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A Defining Moment for Home Birth

A Defining Moment for Home Birth

Nationwide - Quite appropriately, Home Birth Awareness Week 2012 starts on Labour Day, October 22. For Home Birth Aotearoa (HBA), the national organisation representing New Zealand’s home birth groups, this Home Birth Awareness Week will see whanau and supporters all over the country “wearing” their home birth heart with the launch of HBA’s first line of limited edition t-shirts. The t-shirts feature two winning designs from an online contest, with profits going to support the volunteer work within the regional home birth groups all over Aotearoa.

For Home Birth Aotearoa this brings an opportunity to continue asserting positive home birth awareness in our nation. This year has seen HBA bring two international home birth documentary films, The Face of Birth and Freedom for Birth to New Zealand shores: “Both films have provided a platform from which to reflect on how New Zealand’s maternity system and birth culture sits within what currently exists globally” says Mrs Correa. “As one of the few western nations providing for women’s rights to choose their place of birth, we are very proud to proactively promote home birth in our communities” she says.

One of the limited edition t-shirts features a modest but poignant dictionary definition on its front:

“home/hōm/n: where babies are born”

“It’s as simple as that” says Mrs Correa. “Most women who choose to birth at home view pregnancy and birth as a normal and healthy state of being” she says. “And Home Birth Aotearoa sees uninterrupted, low-intervention birth at home as the best way to ensure the full potential of the birth process. Being self-confident is synonymous with making healthy choices; the value of that level of empowerment to parents and whanau as they begin their journey to parenting, cannot be underestimated,” says Mrs Correa.

Contrary to this view, is the widely accepted notion that all birth is risky and traumatic.

“Our birth culture has eroded to the point where a belief exists that risk is the defining factor of our journeys through pregnancy and birth. The result of which, sees women approaching pregnancy and birth feeling physically and socially vulnerable – needlessly at ‘risk’, through the stages of the process.”

Home Birth Aotearoa’s stance is that the perceived risk, promoted through a diminished birth culture, does not accurately reflect the lived reality of the majority of women in Aotearoa – healthy, well women, carrying healthy, well babies, who can be born at home.

“What are the consequences to our communities that our healthy women have been raised within a birth culture that actively discourages having the self-confidence to trust our innate ability to grow, carry and birth our babies? Who is counteracting this and who is helping women to believe in their own wellness?” Mrs Correa asks.

She adds that, “through these, high-impact t-shirts, we envisage home birth whanau confidently stepping out into their communities, doing no less than wearing their empowered choice over their hearts”. Home Birth Aotearoa recognises the ripple effect of an empowered birth choice: “It goes beyond the experience itself. The basic act of sharing home birth experiences, knowledge and choices empowers us all at an individual, community, national and international level. This is the simple gravity of birth and of human experience” she says.

Home Birth Awareness Week 2012:

· Commences from October 22 – October 28

· T-shirts are available for purchase from regional home birth groups nationwide until the end of November

· See www.homebirth.org.nz for your local group details and for information on home birth, and Home Birth Aotearoa


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