Here’s an interesting, if perhaps not all that surprising, pandemic trend: a rise in the popularity of home births. Although hospital births still account for most deliveries in the U.S. there was a 22 percent increase in home births between 2019 and 2020. Among Black women specifically—who may want to avoid the higher rates of negative outcomes for women of color during hospital births compared to white women—there was a 38 percent increase in the number of home births between just March and December 2020. Yet one major hurdle remains for women who would prefer to have their babies in the comfort of their own homes: Insurers who often refuse to cover the costs of home births. Some in the field are calling the situation a “major women’s health issue.” For the women who’ve chosen the home birth path, the obstacles are frustrating. But few regret their choice.
Not sure about you, but we’re still enjoying watching as much of the Olympics as we can fit in (hello new post bed-time routine). And we’ve been especially gripped by the story of Mikaela Shiffrin’s setbacks during these games and her openness about them, too. Although, of course, she’s not the only athlete—and great champion—to experience disappointment in China. Which is why this piece, about the way athletes approach failure, mental health and more, as well as how much the rest of us can learn from that, caught our eye. While Simone Biles started the conversation last summer, the writer here suggests that “these new struggles advance the discussion and challenge a surprised audience to think more broadly about what it means to strive and disappoint.” There is a danger, he explains, to “weaponizing rarefied success as a standard instead of preserving it as an exceptional act.” Because, of course, the great irony of sports is that winning is rarely the rule. Failure is what happens most. But losing, he points out importantly, “remains the greatest teacher.”