Resistance and Relearning: Women’s Experiences Choosing Midwifery and Home Birth in Ontario, Canada
Keywords:Adult Learning, Midwifery, Home Birth, Women's Childbirth Decision-Making, Women's Health
Using a critical feminist approach, and with attention to participants’ broad life experiences, this qualitative study explores seven women’s learning in their challenging, transformative decisions to give birth at home with midwives in Ontario, Canada. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with women who had recently planned midwife-attended home births to shed light on how they learned about these childbirth possibilities and gained the confidence to plan a home birth. Participants’ narratives revealed that to make these choices, they had to become active and informed decision-makers, and resist the dominant view of birth as inherently risky, and of women’s birth experiences as unimportant and incompatible with the birth of a healthy baby. Replacing myths and misconceptions about midwifery, and especially about home birth, with more current and evidence-based information was critical to participants’ resistance and relearning, as were their own life experiences and those of women they trusted.
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