Expectant Amish mothers generally have three choices on where to bring their children into the world – at home, at a hospital, or at a birthing center. In larger Amish communities, these centers cater to a Plain population.
A new article in the Wooster Daily Record gives us a look at the Mt. Eaton Care Center in Mt. Eaton, Ohio, a place that’s been delivering babies for Amish and Mennonite mothers since 1984:
Dr. Nolan Byler is the medical director at Mount Eaton Care Center. He has delivered more than 5,000 babies during his tenure at the Mount Eaton Care Center.
“We try to provide a real homey atmosphere at the birthing center,” Byler said.
Byler grew up in a Mennonite community in Minnesota, so he had little problem adjusting to life in Mount Eaton, where he settled after doing his internship in Massillon. He is a retired Mennonite minister who said he has a special connection with the patients he treats.
“I mainly take care of Amish and Mennonite, plain people, we call it, of which I am one also. So I have an affinity for that because I identify with these people,” he said.
Leroy Yoder is a board member, who has had three of his four children born at Mount Eaton Care Center.
“The Mount Eaton Care Center was built by the community for the community to provide affordable birthing care in a safe environment,” Yoder said. “We really try to have that personal, in-home feel, keeping the rooms furnished according to our lifestyle. It’s about creating an atmosphere we are comfortable with.”
The center claims more than 12,500 births in its 36 years. So what does the center offer its mothers and their families that makes it so attractive?
The Mount Eaton Care Center always has a registered nurse on call and all births there are attended by an RN. It is a licensed facility, so any doctor can practice there.
There is a brand new boutique at the center where certain baby products and gift items are available.
The care center is focused on providing a service for mothers and newborn babies, and making family members feel at home when they come in to visit, and it does so at a substantial savings to the plain community.
Some of you may recognize this as the center featured in the book House Calls and Hitching Posts, about Dr.Elton Lehman‘s career among the Amish of Holmes and Wayne Counties. Lehman founded this center, the first of its kind in the area.
Here’s a photo of what a room looks like:
To me it looks like a hospital room, but with some homey accents and feel to it.
If there are any mothers who would know something about giving birth, it would be Amish mothers.
With families of 6-8 or more children common, they have just about the most experience at it, after all.
Each of the three environments listed above – home, hospital, birthing center – offers something different, and each has its pluses and minuses.
Amish mothers-to-be, at least in larger communities, have their choice, based on what is important to them and their families.
More on where Amish babies are born.