A DEVONSHIRE woman who travelled to Canada in a bid to realize her dream of having a "home birth" has joined a campaign to increase options for pregnant women in Bermuda. Cherise Carey was determined to have her first child in the most comfortable and natural surroundings possible. And when she found out that she could not have the baby at her home in Bermuda, she travelled to Toronto, where her partner Colwyn Burchall was at school, and prepared to have the baby over there. As it turned out, her son Amari was born in hospital after a minor complication. She said:
"The only people present at the birth were myself, the midwives and the baby's father.
"I was disappointed not to be able to have him at home (in Canada) but at least I was able to have the baby delivered by a midwife.
"We were able to do our own thing, in our own room, without being poked at too much by anybody."

She said she felt childbirth was natural and normal and did not need to be treated like a medical condition, unless there were complications - which could be easily detected by a midwife. She said if she had another baby she hoped to be able to give birth at her home in Bermuda with the assistance of a midwife.
"I would definitely like to do it that way again. It was absolutely beautiful - nothing compares to it.
" It was important to me to experience it as a normal part of life and not something that needs to be fixed. I felt like we had an input into how it was done and were not just treated like a patient.
"For those who are more comfortable in hospital and have no interest in having a birth at home then please don't. It is not right for everybody.
"Women should be able to choose to give birth where they are comfortable and I would like to be able to do that."

The issue of home births was sparked by the decision of dancer and Pilates instructor Sophia Cannonier to have her first child at home. An online petition has been filed at www.gopetition.com/online/5243.html by Ngadi Kamara, another Bermudian mum, and supported by Cherise. It calls for women to be able to choose between giving birth in hospital, at home or in a birthing centres. It is available to sign at Down To Earth, Rock On, Rock Island, Health Co-op and Toys N' Stuff.

By James Whittaker
(News from 2004-11-03 Edition)