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: