How I Feel About my ‘Failed’ Home Birth

Firstly, god bless transcription and really jazzy notes apps. Thank you, Google because without these I basically would never write a blog post anymore. Seriously.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to write something a little bit special to mark the fact that Anaïs is almost a year old. I toyed with ’12 things I’ve learned in 12 months of motherhood’ and then I realise that I really haven’t learned all that much.

Then I thought maybe I could use something about Anaïs and how amazing she is but, I mean, yes she’s amazing —  but who wants to read that? I don’t. 

Then the strangest thing happened.  I had the strongest urge to have another baby and when I had that urge I suddenly thought: ‘Oh I wonder what I’ll do next time around because I had a home birth and that home birth didn’t go to plan which meant I had an emergency caesarean which means I’ll probably never be allowed to have another home birth’

I realised that I hadn’t particularly thought about what I wanted to do next time around. I think I sort of nonchalantly thought: ‘Ahhh, what will be will be, I’ll try again and see what happens.’ then ‘I’ll just have a c-section again. Easier.’

My home birth 

If you follow me for a while, and certainly if you followed me while I was pregnant a couple of years ago you’ll know that I planned a homebirth.  Although I was pretty realistic, in that I knew that things don’t often go to plan the first time around.

So I wasn’t expecting a magical waterbirth where I breathed Anaïs out. Needless to say, things turned out kinda as I expected them to, or kind of how everyone else expected them to you when I had to have an emergency caesarian.

My c-section recovery was swift and painless (well almost painless) and it really felt like a positive experience.

I wrote about my beautiful birth afterward and talked about how happy I was with the whole experience. And I stand by that! I remember the moment my waters broke and how that first contraction threw me to the floor and how freaking amazing Oli and I worked together for 27 hours. I wore my ’27 hours with no painkillers!’ like a badge and laughed at how many drugs I had for the three hours I was in the hospital too (epidurals you guys……MAGICAL).

I failed

But in the months following Anaïs’ birth little bits of language popped into my rhetoric, ingested after oh so many conversations at the doctor’s surgery, mum and baby groups and at health visitor checkups.

‘What went wrong?’ I was asked endlessly. Was it ‘failure to progress’ they asked? ‘Very common’…….

‘Well, the cord was wrapped around her neck too tightly and we were both too tired to carry on’, I’d say.  Still chipper. Still positive because SQUEE look at my beautiful baby!

A bit of time passed and as I settled into mama life I knew we’d want to grow our family but, hey teething, I’m in NO rush. 

Then I got broody.

My baby is getting bigger and not as much like a baby…..she sleeps through the night. Yep, I can do this again! (Sidenote: what the hell is wrong with our bodies we forget sleep deprivation so easily?!) 

But when I came back to thinking about what I would do next time; even before looking into things I realised I would have an uphill battle to get my home birth.

When my midwife told me: ‘You are the perfect VBAC candidate’ (VBAC = vaginal birth after caesarian) I asked her: ‘Great, can I have my home birth?’…….’No…..they like you to be in a ward’

Urgh. Well, f@ck it. If I can’t have a home birth, why bother. That might sound silly, but I’d even have to fight to birth in a birthing centre. Which means no water birth, no calm environment and no chill. 

And here’s a big truth.

I’m scared about next time. Because I know what your birth is like (FYI I loved it and I would do it again in a heartbeat!) I don’t want to spend 9 months fighting my midwife and stressing I am not going to be supported. 

And I know how scary it can be when everyone goes quiet and your midwife tells you they’re going to call an ambulance.

And although my caesarean was super easy last time, I HATE stitches, My scar was small and beautiful but it feels gross, and you know what? It’s still really irritating when knickers rub against it.

So second time around, yeah I’ve got risks. My pregnancy will be slightly different because with each caesarean there’s an increased risk with each birth. And I want a massive family! If I have another caesarian, does that mean I’m less able to carry on having babies?! Victoria Beckham’s had about twenty…….surely it’ll be fine…..right?

Okay, so maybe I have a c-section again. It’s certainly simpler in the short term. Nice to know the exact time your baby will be born I guess. And it wasn’t so bad the first time around…..

Screw you Davina

THEN I listened to a podcast that made me SO mad, and ultimately led to these icky feelings I’ve been having of late. Davina McCall awas talking about her first baby on a podcast, and how she was encouraged to have a caesarian. She said: ‘I thought I’d like to try for a natural birth, to do it properly’ (not verbatim)

That really hit a nerve because I realised that I might never be one of those women that has a natural, normal birth.

I’ll always be one of those women who was too posh to push.

I might never be able to talk about what transition is like or be part of the club of people who can talk about their pelvic floor being screwed and episiotomies and all those dubious accolades.

And I have to admit that everytime I think about that it makes me really, really sad.

Don’t get me wrong I had a beautiful childbirth. I have an amazingly happy baby and I feel so lucky, and proud of myself for what I did. I grew a human for 9 months. I breastfed her for 7 months and I’m so proud of that. And I’ve been keeping her alive for 12 months! 

But course there’s a but.  I really, really wish I’d been able to have my home birth and it’s hard to say that. It’s embarrassing, and a little shameful too. I had a baby, and I didn’t have to go through any hardships to get there. How incredibly privileged am I? But that’s my truth.

If you’re planning to have a homebirth I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Go into it with your eyes open and your ears closed to horror stories, because I had a beautiful 27 hours labouring at home and then I had a very nice 3 hours having all the drugs too 🙂 

L x

Lucy Lucraft
Lucy Lucraft

Lucy is a freelance journalist, blogger and podcaster based in Brighton, UK.

She started this blog in 2013 and is the host of blogging podcast What She Said.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. 13th April 2018 / 5:51 am

    Really interesting hearing your thoughts on having a C-section, thanks for sharing Lucy. I’d hoped for a Hypno water birth & not only ended up with a C-section but never even went through labour (we discovered a few risk factors at 38 weeks that would have meant a natural birth would have ended in an emergency C & I wanted to be in control). I did find c section absolutely brutal though, recovery was horrific & I still don’t feel I ‘birthed’ him, which is pretty sad. I definitely feel the same ‘wanting to be part of the natural birth club’ – I didn’t have a single contraction – & wonder what next time will bring. But, happy healthy babies are all that matter 😊

    • 16th April 2018 / 8:05 am

      Ahhh, I’m so sorry you feel that way Verity. You definitely birthed your baby, however they find their way into the world! But I understand this feeling because I think ‘natural, vaginal birth’ is glorified. (I am inclined to think it’s yet another patriarchal way we are kept small tbh)


      • 14th May 2018 / 11:43 am

        I so totally and utterly agree with you Lucy. I honestly think the pressure and rhetoric around birth is just another thing to make Mums feel guilty about. Like you say, however you give birth you still gave birth! I love your openness and honesty about your emotions x

  2. 17th April 2018 / 6:03 am

    I read your post, Very nicely written post. Your blog is very beneficial for every reader including me. Keep doing the great work so that people like me can learn some nice and new things. I would love to read more posts on your site. Thanks for posting this detail here.

  3. Kate Shaw-Treseder
    17th April 2018 / 8:34 pm

    I feel really sad and angry reading your post. Mostly because I feel the NHS can’t (won’t??) support women’s choices. I know I am extremely privileged to have had the home births I’ve had, and I’d love to see more of my friends being able to experience that because it seems like such a basic human right. The reality seems to be that Independent midwives are the only way you can "guarantee" your choices are respected. But you’re doing everyone a great service by sharing your experience and being so truthful about how you feel. Like you say, battling an NHS midwife for 9 months isn’t what anyone wants, and when the alternative comes at a fairly high cost, women are left feeling as though there are no choices which is very sad.

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