Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
Don’t get me wrong. I loved being able to labor, delivery, and then relax with my newborn in the same private room at the hospital. I even had a private bathroom that included a shower, so I could feel free to sit on the toilet for as long as I needed to, knowing my baby was right outside the door. At the same time, I know this is an incredible luxury. One that I believe is taken for granted in a system of healthcare that demands people pay to bring life into this world.
Is it a deal-breaker?
I’ve witnessed conversations of women perusing hospitals, choosing the one that they believe is the best fit. One “deal-breaker” is the availability of a private room post-delivery. And I get that. If you’re coughing up thousands of dollars to have a baby, it better be a private room, right? You’re paying for a certain level of care and you deserve to have something that fits your needs.
This is called a first-world problem.
This is also a privilege.
Most importantly, it’s bullshit.
This is why.
NOBODY should have to pay to deliver a child. Nobody should be held responsible for a fee for skin-to-skin contact or worrying about going into debt over a NICU stay. What you can afford should never determine the quality of care that you receive.
Yet here we are, America.
Affordable health care should be the deal-breaker.
If I didn’t have insurance, I would never be able to afford children. Sure, people say that you shouldn’t have kids until you’re financially ready, but I’m a millennial. I already can’t afford a house, nor am I offered positions that my degree qualifies me for. This means that I can’t even pay off my student loans. So when do I get to have kids? Never? Or when I’m creeping on 40 and finally have my finances settled?
It’s wrong to deny basic health care.
My in-laws, whom live in England, have all expressed to me their frustrations with a universal health care system. It’s not perfect. But they have also been so grateful over and over again that they never have to worry about their child’s next appointment. They never have to concern themselves with being able to afford to give birth. Yes, post-delivery, they share a room for a few days with three or so other women and their newborns. In the giant scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay. And don’t even get me started on maternity leave.
So I do roll my eyes when woman state that they can’t believe hospitals even offer non-private rooms. How unsanitary! Gasp. But not everyone has the information I do. We are often ignorant to the problems or concerns of others, even in our own country. Try losing your health care at 8 months pregnant due to a glitch in the system and see how that makes you feel.
So here’s your reality check. There are bigger things to worry about, like how every family should have accessible health care. How every baby should be born in a safe environment, and how every mother should also receive adequate post-natal care. So if you’re being forced to pay extra for a private room, be pissed about it. But be mad for the right reasons, like how you shouldn’t have to pay a dime to have a baby at all.
Yes, I am grateful that I had a private space to enjoy my newborn, but recovery was such a blip on my radar. If I had to share that space with another woman, or even ten other women so we could all have safe deliveries, I would in a second. Would you?