by Ron Stauffer; husband, father, believer, web guy, marketing guy, musician, and man of many secret talents. He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and five children, and is frequently told he’s too young to have as many kids as he does.
“If you know me well, you probably know my family is a home birth family. Which means, of course, that we choose to give birth to our children at home with a midwife in attendance. If you didn’t know that about me, congrats! You will now learn all about a huge aspect of my life.
My wife and I have five children, ages seven and under, so for the past eight years we’ve been consumed with all things pregnancy, babies, labor, and birth. This year, we’re just now starting to take a breath from all the craziness for the first time ever. Sometimes I feel like we should take a vacation and do nothing but sleep for a month (my wife, especially)!
One thing I’ve found interesting since we’ve chosen to birth at home is that people are really surprised to meet a “Home Birth Dad.” Most women are impressed when they meet my wife, but they’re not sure what to do with me. Because I am a man. I really don’t understand why this is so strange, but I’ve gotten used to it by now. Actually, these days, I frequently find myself the only male in a room full of women talking about labor, birth, and child rearing, and I’m OK with that. As a matter of fact, I’ve even given pitches before for a business idea I’ve been stewing on for a few years: creating the first-ever holistic Birth Center in Colorado Springs. And this is entirely driven by me… a man.
My own birth story is quite interesting: I am the second oldest of nine children, and all nine of us were born via the “Caesarean section” (what we always called “C-Section”). My mother is a saint for putting up with all those surgeries to have us children, and I really mean that. When stitching her back up, her doctors used to tease her and say things like “Hey, as long as I’m in here, should I just put in a zipper to make it easier for your next birth?” I suppose she had to develop an incredible sense of humor, since most people can’t resist commenting on a family with nine kids—which is remarkable enough without even adding in the C-Sections. I’ve heard all kinds of crazy things people have said to my parents: funny comments, sexual comments, and downright nasty comments from rude people who can’t respect my parents’ decision to have as many children as they did, and all by C-section. I heard people talk about how “risky” it was and how my mom was “being dangerous” and how the risks became greater with each C-section she had. I couldn’t believe how judgmental people were about this, but I’d gotten used to it.
Since I grew up in a home where none of us were born vaginally (sometimes called “naturally,” though this term is inaccurate), I was bewildered by the idea of women being able to give birth without surgery. I heard rumors of women who walked into the hospital, gave birth, and walked out of the hospital a day or two later. How was this possible, I wondered? Until one of my aunts gave birth to my cousin, I didn’t even have a detailed conversation with a woman who’d given birth without a C-section. To me, birth to me was pretty scary: it was very expensive, very serious, it required a major abdominal surgery, LOTS of drugs were administered, and a long recovery process was needed. That was what birth was in our family.”