There’s No Place Like Home …to Have a Baby?


Joyce Havinga and friends

A recent article in Slate reports an increase in the number of home births- mothers leaving the hospital completely out of the equation when having a baby.

It’s just not happening around here. In 2010, out of 11,104 births in the County, 34 (0.3%)  were intended home deliveries.

And on top of that, Westchester  County has among the highest C-section rates in the country. About half the births at Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, Sound Shore in New Rochelle and the Westchester Medical Center are C-sections. The national average is closer to 34%.

When Joyce Havinga-Droop moved to Larchmont from Holland, she found this startling. Both her daughters had been born at home.

Two years ago (today) Joyce gave birth at home in Larchmont to her youngest daughter. “People expressed a lot of unawareness like ‘I didn’t know it was legal!’,  or ‘Is it safe to give birth at home?’, she said, “and ‘I didn’t know you could do that in the US!’ All clear indications that choices about birth are not well known.”

A few weeks later Joyce quit a career in the diplomatic world to become a doula, someone that provides non-medical support to women and their families during labor and childbirth, and also the postpartum period.She is in the process of becoming certified.

“My passion is to guide and assist pregnant women in giving them the birth they want and delivering them the empowerment it provides.”  Doulas, while rare in Westchester, are available to work in teams in your home environment to comfort, assist and work through various positions during labor.

“Being at home, precious bonding time with our newborn was the big reward,” Joyce says. “She did not have to be separated immediately to go to a warmer or to be weighed. Later her sisters came in to meet their new sibling. I would not have wanted to miss these very intimate moments with my family.”

For more information about home birth, Joyce recommends:,,,


2 thoughts on “There’s No Place Like Home …to Have a Baby?

  1. My youngest was born at home after I was so irritated with hospital policies re: natural birth for my first two kids. My
    home birth was peaceful, healthy and the most empowering experience of my life. I hope more women explore their options before giving birth and pursue what they instinctively feel is best for themselves and their babies. Just because you live in an overly medicalized area doesn’t mean that your birth needs
    to be medicalized at all. The info is there, you just have to do a little digging.

    • Yep and that is exactly what it is all about! Empowerment of women. Making their own choices within certain safety boundaries and after educating themselves of their possibilities.
      I really do hope that more women will start doing the digging and I’m very much willing to help!

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