It was just a simple letter to a problem page in the UK, but it’s sparked thousands of shares and comments, and turned into a massive slanging match over home birth.
The letter, headed “My nephew is disabled and it’s all his mother’s fault”, was sent to Mariella Frostrup at The Guardian. A woman explained that her brother’s wife had had an emergency c-section for her first child. For her second child, she decided to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) at home, against the recommendation of her doctor.
“The home birth went terribly wrong and my nephew has been left permanently damaged,” the woman wrote. “I knew my brother was browbeaten, but not to the extent he would let his wife harm their child.”
The woman added that it had caused “major rifts” in the family.
“My heart is breaking over this. I feel my nephew was exposed to severe parental negligence and I cannot get past my anger over it.”
Agony aunt Frostrup didn’t hold back, telling the woman it was “probably none of your business”.
“Nobody could have predicted such an eventuality, not even the doctor,” she added, “and, although you feel strongly that they made the wrong decision, it’s one that was theirs alone to make and then to live with the consequences.”
She told the woman that there was plenty of advice out there saying that a VBAC was a perfectly safe option, and that many people preferred to welcome a baby “in the comfort of their own home”.
Frostrup said that a more natural reaction to the situation would have been empathy.