Alanis Morissette says home birth was 'beyond painful'

Canadian rocker Alanis Morissette is opening up about the “beyond painful” experience of giving birth to her son at home without the help of drugs or doctors.


The 39-year-old singer-songwriter and her husband, rapper Mario Treadway, welcomed their son Ever on Christmas Day, 2011 in their Los Angeles home. The only people present were Mario, a midwife and a doula (a non-medical labour coach). 


“I didn’t really even imagine myself having the birth experience in the hospital,” Alanis told Today. “My home is like my little sanctuary.”


An active vegan, environmentalist and naturalist, Alanis said giving birth at home was an otherworldly yet excruciating experience. To get through the ordeal, she concentrated hard on her task of bringing her son into the world. 


“The experience was beyond pain,” she said. “It was a transcendental experience. I just went to this whole other world. I basically had to be the little soldier that I am and really focus on this new beautiful creature coming out of me.”


Despite the difficult, 25-hour labour, Alanis said she has no regrets regarding her decision. 


“I think once people know it’s quite possible to have a really amazing home birth — and in my case I have no regrets and would do it again and in the same breath it wasn’t the easiest experience of my life — I think having it be an option is really exciting,” she said.


Home births still constitute less than two per cent of births in Canada, though they’ve tripled between 1991 and 2007 (the latest year for which statistics are available). This rate is typical for Western European countries and the United States; the notable exception is the Netherlands, where roughly a third of women give birth at home.


The option isn't for everyone, however. Most doctors only recommend home births for women who are at low risk. 


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