The Many Faces of Home Birth

A young woman passionate about homebirth, Shantel Silbernagel, contacted me nine months ago to tell me about a project she was working on and to ask if I could provide a bit of help. Her desire was to present the world with a book of stories about birthing at home. A collection of stories that would showcase the fantastic variety of families that choose homebirth – for their great many reasons and through all manner of situations – and show that just about anybody who wants to enjoy birth at home can!

Shantel wanted the stories in her book to be written by the homebirthing families themselves, and asked if I could connect her with a couple of my own clients. She was looking specifically for a VBAC mom who’d birthed successfully at home and for a dad willing to describe how he had experienced his family’s homebirth.

I hooked Shantel up with Molly Hardy, a VBAC mom my daughter, Hannah Simmons, served two autumns ago in Michigan, and with Jeff Olivero, the father of a family I served in Colorado last summer.

I’m excited to say Shantel’s hard work paid off and her dream came true with the release of her lovely book last month! Of course, when the copy I ordered arrived in the mail, I turned right to Molly and Jeff’s stories and devoured them and was moved to tears!

Molly and I had spent the seven years following the cesarean section birth of her daughter discussing her hope to one day birth vaginally, and it touched me deeply to read the tale of her victory – a victory that included a forty-three week pregnancy and a forty-three hour labor.

Jeff’s account of laboring with his wife and receiving his newly-born son with his very own trembling hands thrummed upon my heartstrings, and the words he used to close his account resonated with my soul. “Don’t settle for what society says is normal. Reach for what is best for you, your wife, and your family. I guarantee you will surprise yourself with what you are capable of experiencing as a family.”

Then, as I consumed the rest of the sweet book, wiping tears from my cheeks as I turned each page, a line penned by one of the triumphant mothers featured therein drove home like an arrow into my heart.

“We journeyed through the night together and made it to the morning.”

That simple sentence said it all. It summed up all that it means to me both to have birthed my own babies at home, as well as to serve others as they do struggle to do likewise. It called to mind a poignant passage of scripture, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” and evoked a shimmering vision of my own twenty-four years’ worth of long, dark nights that dawned into five hundred and fifty gloriously brilliant mornings.

Here are some photographs taken of Molly and her family when her homeborn son was brand-new.

And here are some pictures of Jeff with his family.

Their stories are just as striking as the images. The other twenty-three stories are wonderful, too. Click here to order your own copy of The Many Faces of Home Birth on Amazon!

And click here to visit Shantel website for more inspiring stories!

Kim Woodard Osterholzer, Colorado Springs Homebirth Midwife

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