Involving children in pregnancy and birth is such an important part of normalizing birth in our culture, helping a younger generation recognize birth as a natural, ordinary life event to be celebrated and not feared.
I love my homebirth midwife visits, as the children are actively engaged in my appointments and invited to participate as much as possible. Whether it's listening to the baby's heartbeat through the fetoscope, reading the numbers off the measuring tape, jotting down notes, or just listening to the conversation about birth, they are gaining a greater appreciation for this important life process and a deeper sense of anticipation for the arrival of their new sibling in a few more months.
When I think of the natural learning that occurs everyday in our home, I think of moments like these when living and learning are so easily blended. Our life of home-based, self-directed learning allows the full integration of these special moments and all of the watching, listening, questioning, and imagining that accompanies them.
Learning at home is a natural extension of everyday living, seamlessly weaving both the extraordinary and mundane moments of life, making room for the people, places, and things around us that teach and inspire.
Homebirth is just one aspect of our life and learning, and one that I feel very strongly about. As I've written before, my journey from highly-interventive hospital births with my first two children to homebirths with my last two has been a powerful and eye-opening experience as I learned to recognize just how wise Mother Nature is and how potentially dangerous it can be to interfere with her natural, time-honored plans.
It seems I'm not the only one to come to this realization. Homebirths increased an impressive 50% between 2004 and 2011 according to CDC data. And, as a recent article in the Wall Street Journal reports, that number was even more significant in New York state, where the rate of homebirths increased 71% in that same time period.