Story time: my first child was born in a hospital. This was legitimate source of shame for me for a while. Not because anyone made me feel bad about it, actually quite the opposite. But because it was not at all what I wanted. I did not want to be in a hospital. I did not want an induction. I did not want a parade of strangers coming in and out to stare at my crotch in consternation (I'm pretty sure the janitor was rooting around in there at some point. And possibly a handful of random passersby who would squint and mumble something vaguely medical: oh yes, very...strong effacing going on in the birth tube...thing...)
Childbirth was supposed to be this amazing, life-changing event and frankly the whole experience sucked. It started with an induction, the tiny ball of dung that tipped off a cascade of crap and ended in a chaotic shit-storm of interventions. But, the point of this enthralling tale is not to scare anyone. The point is to say that when a woman gives birth, her feelings matter. Trust your instincts. Give birth where you want to and how you want to, because you are not just a vessel through which your baby is emerging. I don't care if that means a scheduled c-section or if it's giving birth in the ocean at sunrise (because other people's lives are so much more poetic than mine.)
I did have two natural births after that and they were amazing and healing and most importantly, I had midwives who actually listened to me and cared about what I was feeling. I didn't cease to be a person just because I had another one inside of me squashing my bladder and sticking his foot in my liver. Just like I didn't cease to be a person after the baby came out. Although my children don't seem to understand this concept. Seriously, someone explain this to them.
Because childbirth is amazing and life-changing. And also gross. But mostly, you know, miraculous and everything. And every woman has a right to educate herself and make the best choice for her and her baby without guilt or judgement. There will be plenty of that to go around after the kid emerges. For instance: is your baby wearing a hat right now? Well, Is he?! If there is one thing I've learned after three kids it's that it is of the utmost importance that babies always wear hats. I don't care if it's August in Florida, ok? Hats.