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On July 31, the Atlanta Birth Center will kick off its fundraising campaign with a Bellies to Babies pregnancy and birth event. Actress and natural birth advocate Mayim Bialik will speak about birth options, and local businesses will offer information about their products and services. I’m not sure yet if I’ll have a table, but I will definitely attend–just to support the building of the birth center, if for no other reason.

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, it didn’t take much research for me to figure out that I really wanted to give birth in a birth center. It’s the best of both worlds–truly as comfortable as home, following a midwifery model of care, but with all the back-up and technical support you could get in the hospital available in case you need it. And, unlike a home birth, you don’t have to clean up the mess.

But unfortunately, the closest birth center to Atlanta was in Savannah. Driving four hours in the middle of labor didn’t sound like a great idea to me (although as it turned out, my 36-hour labor would have given me plenty of time to drive to Savannah and back before the baby was born!), so that left me with only two options: home or hospital. After touring most of the maternity wards in Atlanta, I decided that my phobia of hospitals wasn’t going to magically go away before I went into labor, so I opted for a home birth. It was a wonderful decision and now I would never consider anything else. But I still can’t wait for there to be other options for mothers who want a natural birth in Atlanta, and that’s why I’m so excited about the Atlanta Birth Center.

The Atlanta Birth Center will be intown and easily accessible for local families (the tentative location being looked at right now is on Highland Avenue). It will offer waterbirth (which is amazing–another birth option that was so great I would never consider anything else), natural birth classes, well woman care, even counseling and pediatric services. It’s planned to open in December 2012, and even though I’ll probably never give birth there, I can’t wait to visit it. Regularly. I’m sure I’ll find some classes there I want to take, or a pediatric chiropractor I want to see. If nothing else, I’ll probably visit just to check out the “green boutique” store.

In the meantime, I’ll look forward to the fundraising events, which promise to be almost as much fun as the real thing.