First Posted: 12/25/2008 11:16:06 AM | Last Updated: 12/29/2008 9:41:33 PM
POSTED: Thursday, December 25, 2008/JACH News Service
LAFAYETTE --Rachaela DiRosaria’s original goal in home birthing her youngest child was very personal.
Eventually, that frustration in finding out home birthing and other natural birth information led her to create a homebirth support group in the Greater Lafayette area in hopes to give pregnant women options and information with it comes to birthing.
CHOICES of Lafayette/West Lafayette is the third such group established in Indiana and DiRosaria said she wants the organization to bring together like-minded professionals and families along with information, education, connections and support for natural births.
CHOICES, which stands for Choices in Health-birthing; Offering Information, Communication, Education and Support, meets monthly at the West Lafayette Public Library at 6 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 12.
“My only real goal in all of this is to help at least one person have a more safe pregnancy,” DiRosaria said. “If I can help just one baby’s life, that makes a big difference to me. It turns out I’ve been able to help more than that so far.
“It’s great just being able to help families feel empowered and help them be reassured of the decisions that they are making. It seems like a pretty simple task. I feel pretty accomplished and happy with what we’ve done so far. It’s been a lot of work to put it together.”
DiRosaria said her organization supports natural family living, which can start as a holistic approach to pregnancy, natural birth/homebirth, attachment parenting, green living, co-sleeping and in areas of eating locally grown organics and avoiding chemicals in cleaners and personal products.
“We would like to become more of a staple in the community,” DiRosaria said. “I would like people to look at us and respect us as a knowledgable group and a resource for expecting parents and be able to give our information out freely.”
DiRosaria said when she was pregnant with her youngest daughter, she was treated with indifference when she brought up the idea of a homebirth. She said she was able to find a midwife shortly before she gave birth and was pleased with the service. She said she has been able to take her experiences and a lot of information she gathered on her own to help begin the CHOICES’s group Lafayette.
“I was overly frustrated with the birth of my (older) son and shocked by the treatment I received in the hospital,” DiRosaria said. “It was like a hush, hush taboo to talk about a birth plan. I eventually settled on two midwives for my daughter and their care and education was phenomenal.”
DiRosaria said CHOICES will be an organization where women will be able to find out about home birthing, and other alternatives without feeling afraid or awkward like she said she felt when she brought up the subject.
“They will be able to find all the resources they need in one location,” DiRosaria said. “They will be able to ask questions and make their own informed decisions. I thought to myself that I couldn’t be the only one who’s had these issues.”
DiRosaria said after her birth, she began connecting with other women and professionals through classes and the internet and receives encouraging responses.
Jill Churchfield gave birth to her child eight months ago and looked for birthing options to no avail. Churchfield, now a member of CHOICES, said she believes the organization will provide a valuable resource to expecting women.
“I was looking for home birth options when I was pregnant with him and I thought there were no options,” Churchfield said. “I was wrong and found out there were midwives but there were no way to get to them. I was thinking about starting a similar group. (DiRosaria) contacted a similar organization I was part of and it seemed like exactly what I was looking for, even beyond the pregnancy issues, even the natural parenting issues.”
Churchfield said there is not another organization in the Greater Lafayette area that is providing the type of information CHOICES is providing for families looking for natural birthing options. She said it’s a niche that will make the organization a valuable resource.
“When we had our first meeting, the response was overwhelming,” Churchfield said. “I think it’s a more critical need that we originally anticipated. A lot of these issues have been seen in the media, such as green natural family living. I think more people are starting to think there is another way to think.”
Tina Jensen, of Sunshine Yoga and Fitness, said she faced the same situation as DiRosaria and Churchfield when she gave birth to her child 10 years ago. Jensen said as a yoga instructor, she knows there has always been an interest in such services by women.
“The medical world has kind of forgotten about us,” Jensen said. “You have to go out and research it yourself and the information is not easy to come by. When I was pregnant we just didn’t have a lot of resources. You just think this is the way to go and this is what you are suppose to do.”
Jensen said even though CHOICES has identified a valuable niche for pregnant women looking for alternatives, it will be up the Greater Lafayette community to give it the support its needs to survive.
“When I first heard about CHOICES, I thought it was wonderful and thought it was needed,” Jensen said. “If everybody sticks together I think it does have a future. People are trying to get healthier and trying to stay away from unnecessary medication. I just want it to work and think I think it’s needed.”
DiRosaria said one of the keys for her organization right now is to spread the awareness and let women know about birthing options. She said she would like to see legislation passed in Indiana that would make home birthing more available.
“Home birth is legal in Indiana, but it has to be with certified nurse midwife,” DiRosaria said. “Right now, we’re trying for the 13th
straight year to move legislation for the certified professional midwives and trying to making it more accessible. Even though we have a certified nurse midwife who serves Lafayette, that’s only one person and that’s pretty overwhelming. We need (certified professional midwives) licensed. Having a safe practice is really important. What they are doing is a profession and should be recognized as such.”
DiRosaria said the meetings will provide time to let attendees know what is happening locally and how they can make a positive difference.
“I want all mothers to feel empowered in their quest to provide a loving and safe place for their children to grow up in,” DiRosaria said. “I know that when becoming a mother it can sometimes be frantic but that’s never a reason to stop taking things like good health, quality of life and our environment less seriously. I find it the perfect time to take it more seriously.”
She said monthly topics would include such topics as avoiding toxic toys, foods, cleaners and care products; attachment parenting; baby wearing; green living; cloth diapering; avoiding dangerous medical routines; birthing options; nutrition; naturopathic health care; health and fitness; vaccines; breastfeeding and gentle discipline.
For more information, contact www.lafayettebirthchoices.com
, (765) 430-9527, or http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/CHOICESofLafayette