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Homebirth Rally – how it all went

By emd - 8 September 2009 73

I did mention in comments on a previous story that I would write a review on the Homebirth Rally today, and here it is. You can also find the ABC News Online story here.

The rally kicked off at 10:45am with an indigenous welcome ceremony at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy at Old Parliament House, led by Aunty Isobell Coe, and indigenous birth advocate Fleur Magick. The crowd then marched up to the lawns of Parliament House – a colourful and noisy parade of brightly dressed mums, dads, grandmothers, grandfathers, children, and midwifery students carrying banners.

The rally proper started at 11:30am. With a crowd estimated to be between 2,000 and 4,000 people (depending on who your news source is), there was no way I could hear the speeches. But the crowd certainly seemed appreciative, and I did catch a bit of a gutsy rendition of “I Will Survive” towards the end of the speeches. Here’s some YouTube of Rachel Siewert’s speech (Greens)

Despite the rain and cold, the crowd were fantastic! I’ve been to a few protest rallies in my time, and the atmosphere today was cooperative, supportive, and friendly – unlike anything I’ve experienced before at a rally. I literally walked around all day with a big grin on my face, meeting people who had flown to Canberra from Perth and Darwin and Brisbane, caught buses from Melbourne, driven down from Newcastle and Sydney, and taken their lunch break from Canberra offices to be there for the event.

A few highlights from the event for me, as I wandered around meeting up with friends and trying to stay out of the rain:
* Meeting Susan Stark, founder of Natural Parenting.
* Seeing so many mums at the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s baby feed & change tent. We organised this knowing that it would be unworkable for thousands of women and babies to go through Parliament House security to access toilets or somewhere to sit out of the weather and feed a baby.
* Anthea from Real Chai said she’s never sold so many cups of chai in one day! Bec from Funky Brew was also there to do coffee.
* Seeing a wider variety of baby slings in one place than I could ever imagine possible!
* Hearing Kerrie Tucker talk about the wonderful experience her friends had home birthing their babies in the 1970’s.
* Finally meeting the most rocking roller derby chick in Australia, visiting from Brisbane for the rally.

I got soaked pulling the tents down after the event, and I didn’t have time to eat until dinner tonight, but it will all be worth it if Nicola Roxon gets the message. Photos to come when I can get hold of them.

What’s Your opinion?


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73 Responses to
Homebirth Rally – how it all went
Jim Jones 12:44 pm 08 Sep 09

chewy14 said :

Jim Jones said :

(b) surroundings that are familiar, reassuring, relaxed and comfortable, with an experienced midwife on hand (with whom you have developed a personal relationship) and medical backup if necessary.

Shouldn’t that be medical backup that is too far away if necessary?

The stats on home birth pretty much speak for themselves, it’s extremely rare that medical intervention is required (one of the major issues surrounding home birth is avoiding the overmedicalisation of birth which can have negative effects for both mother and child down the line). When medical attention is required, it’s even rarer for problems to be so time critical that the issue has to dealt with by a hospital immediately. Problems with birth are generally anticipated before birth, or quite early in labour.

astrojax 12:36 pm 08 Sep 09

bingo jim [#6], well said…

thanks, emd, for the wrap up. let’s hope the desired effect ensues, eh?

Granny 12:24 pm 08 Sep 09

Actually homebirthers fully fund their birth choice. The taxpayer pays nothing for our choice.

The reason that the insurer stopped providing insurance was not because of the number of claims, which were exceedingly rare, but because of the cost of astronomic payouts for obstetric cases and the small base of midwives available to pay the premiums.

As the obstetrician speaking at the rally said, it has taken this long for hospital birth to become nearly as safe as homebirth is.

Similarly the doctor who had homebirthed four children herself had a lot to say about the reasons for her choice.

But if you really want to choose a safe location to give birth to a newborn baby, by all means take them along to an airconditioned location where they’re treating people for swine flu and the like.

FC 12:19 pm 08 Sep 09

*sigh*
the same reason other people expect the government to fund things related to their health and wellbeing.
I’m sure bike riders wonder why THEIR taxes go to roads, why childless workers taxes go on schools, why non smokers taxes go to smoking prevention campaigns.
Surely it is not that hard to see why.

Ralph 12:07 pm 08 Sep 09

Why do these people expect Government, nee taxpayers, to fund their lifestyle choices? They can form their own organisation and raise the money for indemnity insurance.

You can have homebirths if that floats your boat, but don’t expect that the taxes of hardworking plumbers and miners should pay for it, and then to pick up the pieces when it all goes horribly wrong.

These people are probably also the ones refusing to immunise their children. Another silly fad with imaginary benefits.

Skidbladnir 11:29 am 08 Sep 09

Skidd Marx said :

Why the hell would anyone want to have a home birth?

Humans have been ejecting children from wombs for hundreds of thousands of years (freebirthing), but the safer-form of having a specialist lend a hand has been around for a couple of thousand of years (Ancient Egypt practiced midwifed home-birth, midwifery was a regulated industry then and under the Catholic Church in Europe).

In Australia only 0.25% of babies in Australia are homebirthed currently, with minimal loss of mother’s life thanks to specialists recognising symptoms and having higher standards of hygeine, but freebirthed babies have a mortality rate 170% higher than average, and freebirthing mothers have death rate 9588% higher than the average.

People who want to birth at home would typically choose an assisting midwife if they can.
This law denies them the right to assisted home-birth, but those mothers\couples who want it bad enough might just risk freebirthing.

Also, let it be known throughout the land that I am not Skidd Marx.

bloodnut 10:42 am 08 Sep 09

TheObserver said :

Skidd

Some people don’t have a choice.

Actually the issue is simply that – the problem is not the pros and cons of homebirth, it’s about the removal of choice from citizens.

I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want hospital care and their wonderful drugs either, but hippies exist so let ’em choose I say…

sepi 10:26 am 08 Sep 09

I can understand wanting to have a home birth. For a start you can stay in the bath as long as you want to, instead of being forced to lie on a bed screaming in pain. And homebirthers have a sense of control over the process, and who is there, instead of having random strangers wandering in at any time.

In a similar vein – even with a minor splinter – Most people prefer to remove it themself,s rather than have someone else do it, let alone invite a stranger strap them down, invite in a series of onlookers and stab around with a scalpel.

chewy14 10:05 am 08 Sep 09

Jim Jones said :

(b) surroundings that are familiar, reassuring, relaxed and comfortable, with an experienced midwife on hand (with whom you have developed a personal relationship) and medical backup if necessary.

Shouldn’t that be medical backup that is too far away if necessary?

Jim Jones 9:56 am 08 Sep 09

Skidd Marx said :

Why the hell would anyone want to have a home birth?

Would you rather go through a lifechanging event in:

(a) a sterile and unfriendly grey room containing a group of strangers, many of whom are more interested in using drugs, medicalising everything and hurrying everything up as much as possible so that they can get to whatever else it is that they need to be doing, regardless of your plans and desires; or

(b) surroundings that are familiar, reassuring, relaxed and comfortable, with an experienced midwife on hand (with whom you have developed a personal relationship) and medical backup if necessary.

TheObserver 9:29 am 08 Sep 09

Skidd

Some people don’t have a choice.

Skidd Marx 9:22 am 08 Sep 09

Why the hell would anyone want to have a home birth?

Woody Mann-Caruso 9:03 am 08 Sep 09

indigenous birth advocate Fleur Magick

You can’t make this stuff up.

Graffiti seen at Manuka shops yesterday: “JESUS WAS BORN AT HOME”. Somebody needs a biblical history lesson.

Granny 11:29 pm 07 Sep 09

So many great moments, but I loved everyone singing along with the Song to Nicola Roxon.

emd 9:34 pm 07 Sep 09

Oh, and some more nice moments for me:
* Telling Justine Caines that her description of homebirth on Sunrise at 8:15am made me want to have a homebirth too. Sunrise video here.

* Drawing the raffle for I think it was a Blue Mountains birth group – maybe a Save Homebirth group. They were also fund-raising with homebirth music CDs, and button badges.

* And Brindabella Baby gave away lots of free Pure Wipes samples for people with sticky or muddy hands and faces to clean up.

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