“I gained a lot of sovereignty through … Bitcoin, and I’m also grateful that my partner did the same by choosing home birth.”
This is an opinion piece by Conor Chepenik, Mass Adoption Bitcoin meetup organizer and father of a homeborn child.
When my partner first mentioned a home birth for our first child, I didn’t give it much thought. As a man, I had limited knowledge of what childbirth entailed. For all my life, it has seemed common knowledge to me that giving birth in the hospital is just what you do because it’s “safe”. Luckily my partner didn’t trust common knowledge, she went to check on her own.
Did you know that in 2021, cesarean deliveries represented 32.1% of live births in the United States? I was surprised when I learned this. A third of women did not have natural childbirth in one of the richest countries in the world?
I also learned that the early induction of women is standard practice in a hospital. It is usually done when there is concern for the health of the mother or baby, but elective induction of labor is also often done for convenience. Induction of labor carries various risksincluding induction failure, low fetal heart rate, infection, uterine rupture, and increased bleeding after delivery.
In addition, epidurals containing fentanyl have been known to cause difficulty in babies latching on to their mothers. This is not to criticize hospitals. This is to emphasize that women’s bodies were able to give birth to babies long before humans established hospitals.
At first, a home birth seemed like a good idea because it meant I could watch my child enter this world from the comfort of my living room. But after learning about these stats, my mindset quickly changed to home birth being not only worthwhile, but our best option.
Now you might be wondering why an essay in Bitcoin Magazine talks about childbirth. The answer is simple: Bitcoin, like home birth, is rooted in the idea of trusting yourself and your own abilities. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that enables secure and private transactions without intermediaries such as banks or governments. Saving in bitcoin is a way to trust your own ability to manage your financial assets.
There’s no way you can experience a home birth or save in bitcoin if you haven’t put in the time, research, and willingness to verify the value of these things. It’s important to make informed decisions that align with your values and preferences because not everyone is suited for home birth or Bitcoin.
Avoid fear-based decision making
Just because someone in a position of authority recommends a particular course of action doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right choice for you. Fear-based decision making should be avoided at all costs. Homebirth can be scary, just like keeping much of your wealth in bitcoin can be. Empowering individuals, rather than alarming them, will help people make decisions that are in their best interests.
For example, some doctors may recommend giving birth in a hospital and some bankers may recommend keeping your money in a bank due to the perceived safety and security of these institutions. Don’t accept this without checking for yourself. Everyone is different, which means it’s important to weigh the potential pros and cons of each option.
Although hospital births can offer access to advanced medical equipment and professionals, they also carry a higher risk of medical intervention and complications. Likewise, while banks may offer convenience and the perception of security, they also carry the risk of loss due to inflation or bank failures. As we’ve seen with the collapse of Silvergate, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), and Signature Bank, it doesn’t take much for a bank run to occur in our digital world.
Of course, the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Just announced that the FDIC would bail out depositors in our SVB, but what these financial pundits don’t disclose is that this means inflation will still tear as they print money to make those depositors whole again.
With this announcement, you can probably rest assured that most deposits at any bank in the United States will be guaranteed in the event of bank failure. Unfortunately, the dollars in this bank account will lose purchasing power every time they create more from nothing. Dilution is a simple concept. For those who don’t understand, Thomas Massie has done a great job of explaining it in this video around the three minute mark. By taking the time to educate yourself and make informed decisions, you can maintain your independence and make choices that are truly in your best interests.
Another reason people argue that you should keep your money in a bank rather than bitcoin is that with bitcoin you have no recourse to get your funds back if you mess something up. It’s correct. You are responsible for your UTXOs, period. If you fat-finger a bitcoin transaction, there’s no bank to call and say to freeze that transaction. This is the trade-off you face when holding your private keys. With more freedom comes more responsibility.
Bitcoin and home birth are not for the weak and addicted. I’m proud of my partner for choosing a home birth, and our happy, healthy baby is a testament to the benefits of trusting her body. While there are undoubtedly cases where doctors and banks have saved lives and money, respectively, both rely on the trust of a third party. Being sovereign means taking independent action and minimizing outside interference.
Living with compromises
Of course, there are trade-offs with everything. I lost bitcoins due to my own stupidity, and I’m sure there are horror stories of people losing their children due to lack of medical care. Still, I can only speak from anecdotal evidence, but I believe there is immense value in being as sovereign as possible. It’s unfortunate to see banks go bankrupt and mothers suffer because of the current system. However, I don’t think most people in these systems are bad; they are just inside corrupted systems.
If you are willing and able, it helps to hold your own bitcoin and give birth at home. If you’re truly sovereign, you might even consider free birth, which means giving birth without any medical help. My partner had a midwife, and it was amazing. I’m so glad we had someone to guide us with our first child.
It reminded me of someone who takes custody of their bitcoin but relies on someone else’s node, like those who might use the Muun wallet. Yes, you are relying on someone else’s server to send and receive your bitcoins. If you can, you should run your own node and be fully sovereign. That said, if you are just getting started in the Bitcoin rabbit hole, often the first step is simply to withdraw your coins from an exchange. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’re no better off than someone with all their funds in a bank – or arguably worse, because crypto exchanges don’t have FDIC insurance.
You can always learn to perform a knot once you become more experienced. Likewise, having a midwife to help with your home birth can make sense for a first child. Not everyone is ready to give birth without any medical help, and having someone with more experience can be invaluable. That’s what my partner opted for, and even though it wasn’t as sovereign an option as free birth, we still had an amazing experience.
The same way I wouldn’t recommend my grandfather run a Bitcoin node, my partner wouldn’t suggest her friends with their first children give birth alone. It’s crucial to weigh your options, do some research, and make informed decisions that are right for your personal situation. Personally, I gained a lot of sovereignty through my experience with Bitcoin, and I’m also grateful that my partner did the same by choosing home birth. I believe there are valuable lessons to be learned from both communities, as they both prioritize self-reliance and self-sufficiency. Bitcoiners recognize the importance of having control over their financial assets, while home birth attendants prioritize taking ownership of their birthing experiences and trusting in their body’s natural abilities. By understanding and embracing these values, we can create more empowered and self-sufficient communities.
No easy solutions
In life, there are no easy solutions. Every decision we make comes with a set of trade-offs, and it’s our responsibility to consider them all rather than entrusting them to an “expert”. Although the concepts of Bitcoin and birth at home may seem very different, they share a common goal: to ensure the success of future generations.
This is a promising sign for the future, as these children will become the leaders and decision makers of our society. Whatever their parents’ beliefs or values, they will inherit an ever-changing world and they will have the power to shape it in ways we cannot yet imagine. We can’t give them the right answers, but we can teach them about the future. generations to weigh their options and trust themselves, not others, to make the right decisions.
This is a guest post by Conor Chepenik. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.