Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why Not Home?

{guest post by Jessicca Moore}

I gave birth to my son at home.  I was originally driven to that choice by what felt to me like a lack of other options: the only hospitals in my area that took my insurance were not very supportive of natural birth (with requirements like mandatory IVs and continuous fetal monitoring, and with cesarean section rates rumored to be well over 30%), and the nearest birth center was in another state and an hour and a half away.  As my pregnancy progressed and I continued researching, I began to realize that a home birth with a well trained and highly qualified midwife was my best option for the kind of birth I was hoping for.  And I did get just the birth I was hoping for.  It was beautiful and empowering and amazing and the strongest thing I've ever done.

I was first introduced to the Kickstarter campaign for Why Not Home? by a friend of mine who teaches Birth Boot Camp childbirth classes in Northern California.  I am backing the project because I believe that even in this day and age, too many women don't know their options when it comes to giving birth.  There are far too many myths surrounding birth; there is too much fear, too much uncertainty.  And the statistics in our country show just how dangerous this misinformation is.  The United States ranks 60th in the world for maternal mortality rates, and is the only developed country where that rate is actually increasing.  One quarter of women have their labor induced, often without an actual medical reason.  One third of babies are born via cesarean section.

Something needs to change. This documentary will be a step in the right direction, and I urge you to consider supporting it.

Photograph by Erin Wrightsman.  Used with permission.

Why Not Home?

I didn’t set out to be a filmmaker or a childbirth activist. I wasn’t spurred to action by a terrible experience or by a great fear of intervention. Quite the opposite.

My birth experiences at home were so wonderfully beautiful and empowering. It was shocking. I didn’t realize birth could be like that. I started to wonder why this was such a big secret in our culture.

Looking around, I wasn’t satisfied with the media portrayal of home birth moms. Cast as fringe or overly concerned with their own experience above the health and safety their children, this depiction didn’t resonate with me. It certainly didn’t describe the clinicians and mothers I knew who had chosen to give birth at home.

Photograph by Erin Wrightsman.  Used with permission.

Currently in the US less than 1% of women give birth at home. Of those, a quarter are unplanned or unattended. Many people wonder, “Why would anyone choose to give birth at home?” I wanted to turn the question around and ask, “Why not give birth at home?”

The film I’m working on looks at this question through the experience of doctors, nurses, and midwives who attend birth in the hospital, and chose to have their own children at home. Their stories give us unique insight into risk, safety, and the experience of childbirth in America.

Home is certainly not appropriate or desirable for all women. However, in our current system, too often women and families are forced to make decisions about place of birth based on cost or coverage limitations, fear, or misinformation.

What if instead, they could base their decision on the best evidence for their unique set of risks and their knowledge of the environment that would best support their transition to parenthood? This is my hope and why I’m making this film.

If you value informed choices, please support this film today. If we don’t reach our funding goal by October 11th the footage we’ve already shot will sit unseen. Don’t let that happen. Become a backer today.

Photograph by Erin Wrightsman.  Used with permission.

About Jessicca Moore:

Jessicca Moore is a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA where she lives with her husband, two children, and two sheep. She is currently in production on her first feature-length documentary, “Why Not Home?” The film follows hospital birth providers who chose to give birth at home. You can watch a trailer and get more information here: and support the project on kickstarter at through October 10th.

Follow the project on twitter and instagram @whynothome and facebook at

You can find Jessicca on twitter @jessicca_moore

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