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The False Heroes of Childbirth: Women Who Don’t Get Epidurals?

By Meredith Carroll |

Epidural

I'm all about the epidural, and I'm all against women who brag about drug-free childbirth

It’s relatively easy for me to write about drugs vs. no drugs during childbirth because I have no choice but to undergo a scheduled c-section at the end of the summer. And no one will perform a c-section without drugs. I’m actually thrilled in general to be left out of the discussion of natural childbirth vs. an epidural because I find such conversations to be — for lack of a better word — self-indulgent (except, you know, when I talk about it).

It seems to me that more often than not when talking about childbirth, women who forgo drugs are hailed as heroes, while women who opt for them are whispered about as being weaker, or as not understanding or appreciating or reveling in the experience enough. And frankly, I’m over it.

I always knew I would opt for an epidural when my first daughter was born. For one thing, I don’t handle pain well (and I’m OK with that). Second, I knew from the start that the day I gave birth had the potential to be the most special one of my life. I had no desire to have any pain associated with bringing my little girl into the world. I wanted sunshine, smiles and a little bundle of love in my arms. I never craved a merit badge for enduring [fill in the blank] hours of labor with nothing more than some good breathing techniques, ice chips and lots of massages and emotional support from my husband.

But what I found along the way were judgments for my decision. Whether it was people telling me the recovery was easier when no drugs were involved or the experience of no drugs left them with a more crystal clear or glorious or beautiful or spiritual experience (although I’m not sure how they knew that if they had never taken drugs during childbirth), it all seemed to be terribly condemnatory.

After all, the goal of childbirth — to me, at least — was not literally birthing the child, but getting the baby out as efficiently and safely as possible. My pregnancy I enjoyed as much as I could; childbirth seemed like it was something that had to be necessarily endured.  The point was for it to be over with as quickly as possible. Besides, I didn’t see a reason to wear myself out from avoidable pain if it likely meant I couldn’t be perky and alert to greet my baby afterward.

As I wrote last week, the instructor in my birthing class barely mentioned there were other options beyond natural childbirth (she also failed to mention what happens, exactly, when they administer an epidural, and for that I am actually grateful; I would have had nightmares in advance if I really knew what it entailed). I had plenty of friends who proudly (and some who sheepishly or regretfully) told their drug-free stories. None of their tales appealed to me and I never felt like a bad mom or less of a woman for knowing I would opt for a pain-free experience (even though it still wasn’t entirely pain-free).

But I sure got sick of hearing those stories of women who patted themselves and each other on the back for going au naturale. To each her own, and I don’t think one woman is braver than another. Besides, unless you can say you’ve never taken a Tylenol or smoked a joint in your life, I’m not sure why this is the moment you choose to Just Say No.

You wouldn’t applaud someone for having brain surgery without some kind of numbing agent. I’m not sure why a woman does it while pushing the equivalent of a medium-sized watermelon out of a coin-sized slot. While I respect every woman’s decision, to go drug-free during childbirth actually sounds a little crazy to me (just as, yes, I’m sure others think women who opt for meds are also crazy for choosing what some say results in a longer recovery, or various research suggests is harmful to the baby). It almost reminds me of those women who put so much energy and focus on their wedding and don’t give much thought to the actual marriage. Birth should be the easy part compared to what comes after; why make it harder or more complicated than it has to be?

Besides, it wasn’t so long ago that there was no such thing as drugs during childbirth, and most women in history are not applauded for experiencing childbirth drug-free. After all, isn’t it all just about the baby? When did it become about the moms?

Do you think there’s an us vs. them mentality when it comes to natural childbirth and epidurals?

Follow Meredith Carroll on Twitter @MCCarroll.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Related links on Babble:

Real Birthing Stories: A roundup of Babble’s best birth stories

• 12 Things to Know About an Epidural

10 Facts About Your Pelvic Floor: What you should know before giving birth

More on Babble

About Meredith Carroll

meredith-carroll

Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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104 thoughts on “The False Heroes of Childbirth: Women Who Don’t Get Epidurals?

  1. Autoclave239 says:

    Yes, thank you. I am excited to have my first child, and I am honestly looking forward to the epidural. It’s true, anything can happen during the birth, stuff might or might not work, I might end up needing a c-sec, whatever. I (mostly) don’t care as long as I get a healthy baby out of it.

  2. Lee says:

    Most things about motherhood has become us v. them. I did choose to birth without drugs for the benefit and health of my children. I spend the entire time from preconception to birth avoiding chemicals, drugs (with the sole exception being the rare Tylenol) and other various toxins for the good of my child. Why would I walk into the hospital and agree to be pumped full of various drugs unnecessarily? I have never understood the comparisons of drug free childbirth to brain surgery or a root canal without anesthesia. Our bodies are designed to birth babies. I don’t think women who choose an alternative to natural birth are “crazy” and if they are making those choices fully informed I support them. I would appreciate the same consideration.

  3. CDN Mummy says:

    I felt the opposite. I think moms who get the epidural put others down for wanting to try the natural way. I remember leaving places in tears because I felt so attacked when I mentioned I would like to try to go the natural way. Although I think it’s awful to completely rule out drugs because anything can happen, I also think it’s such a personal decision about your own body that we should not be putting each other down about it. Yes you get a baby in the end but labour is something a woman goes through basically alone. My husband was there but I was the one feeling the pain, not him. The nurses were a great help but they were not experiencing cramps that made my knees buckle, which by the way is my best description of contractions. I suspect moms who get the epidural feel guilty and because of their guilt want everyone else to do the same.

  4. Bunnytwenty says:

    Ah man, guys, why does this have to be a competition? I think it’s possible to reconcile the fact that 1) giving birth without pain relief is an amazing feat and that 2) it’s perfectly understandable to not want to put yourself through that, because pain sucks. To each her own.

  5. Diana says:

    Unfortunately, I feel like this blog post contributes to the us v. them when it comes to birth choices. I don’t think anyone is “crazy” for any choices they make for their labor experience. If you want an epidural, knock yourself out. If you don’t, that’s fine, too. The judgment is what makes everything so hard.

    With my first, I had plan a drug-free birth but after 40+ hours of labor, I was too tired to go on and too stuck at 7 cm. So, I had an epidural and while the side effects were rotten (vomitting, shaking violently) I was able to finally push my little one out. This second time around I am going to try for a drug-free birth again but if I opt for an epidural, so be it. This labor should be about my body, my baby, and what I want…not what others think. My midwife is supportive of whatever I decide to do and I’m hoping the hospital staff are as well.

  6. jaybird says:

    Personally, I was more scared about a needle being put in my back, not being able to feel my lower extremities, having a urinary catheter and a possibly spinal headache than the pain of childbirth. Yeah, call me a wimp.

    I would never EVER criticize or judge any woman for the way she goes through childbirth. It’s a crapshoot. Some have an easier time than others, through NO fault of their own! I always said I would opt for drugs if the pain became too much or labor went too long; I wasn’t trying to be a martyr. But I do like to be in control, somewhat, and having my legs go numb was scary to me.

  7. im-in-tx says:

    I agree that this article just adds to the “us vs. them” mentality. Also, my experience so far has been quite the opposite. When I say I’m planning a natural childbirth (because I’m asked), I get snarky comments to the effect of “Good luck (eye roll)” and “We’ll see.”

  8. Lia says:

    Having had one child with an epidural, and with complications directly due to that epidural, I was determined to have my second naturally, and with the help of a supportive OB, managed just fine. Childbirth pain is purposeful pain, and not insurmountable. Overmedicalized childbirth is directly related to the US’s higher rates of infant and maternal mortality.

  9. yddamtx says:

    When I had my daughter a year ago, I did a lot of research, and I opted to have my baby naturally. Everything went as I planned and I had a quick birth, with no medication. It was extremely painful, but I was happy that I had stuck to what I thought was right for me. I don’t judge anyone for getting the pain meds though, because going natural was incredibly painful, and had my labor not been so quick, I might have opted to get the meds. I think everyone just needs to do the research and find what’s right for them and their baby. Everyone just needs to butt out of each other’s business. Being a parent is hard enough, with out the constant worry that someone is judging you.

  10. Meredith Carroll says:

    @Yddamtx — I agree!

  11. AlbertaMom says:

    @Yddamtx – I completely agree! My births have been quick and painful, but then they were done. I would NEVER judge someone for getting pain meds because who am I to know their situation? Back labour? Getting ‘stuck’ at 7cm for hours? Labour for days? Labour that stops from stress and fear? I also think it’s really important not to judge those who want to try the natural way. Our bodies were designed to do this. What I can’t stand is dogmatic, ill-informed judgements about what others have done. You have no idea.

  12. Lori says:

    Giving birth is incredible.

    Period. End of story.

    How you choose to do it is up to you and no one else’s business.

    Getting too invested in your plan just makes you subject to depression if things don’t go that way. We create such a rarefied air around around pregnancy and childbirth that women suffer depression (or identity crises) when they feel that their experience went “wrong.” Or worse yet, they get judgement from other women for they way they hope things go.

    Giving birth is incredible.

    Period. End of story.

  13. hannah says:

    I think Lori’s comments were right on.

    My personal assessment of why there’s so much judgment flung around is this: Esp. for your first time, being pregnant and giving birth are THE MOST vulnerable and uncertain things you have ever done. So insecurities and sensitivities are really high just when you have no experience personally to draw on, to help you feel more confident that you know best. Also, if you DON’T reach a place of being at peace with your decision AND your actual event, it’s likely to come through as guilt or pressure that somehow is aggravated by anyone else ‘succeeding’ where you ‘failed’. And no matter what way one chooses or winds up with, there’s pro and cons, exceptions and norms. So arguments only hold so much weight. Most people feel so strongly emotionally connected with their choice though, that they add tons of personal pressure to their advice or knowledge to try to give it more weight. Hence the judgment.

  14. Meredith Carroll says:

    @Hannah — I hear what you’re saying, but I respectfully disagree to some extent. In my experience, I was comfortable with my choice to have an epidural from the start and what I found was women who were astounded that I didn’t even consider natural childbirth. I never felt like I failed — I gave birth to a healthy and beautiful baby. That was all that mattered to me — how she got here was consequential and I was disappointed that there wasn’t more emotional support from people who also delivered successfully. This is one case when I think it’s about the destination, not the journey and I scratch my head at the thought of getting caught up in the other way around.

    1. ceridwen says:

      This brings up so many important issues! From my experience– personally and working with pregnant women– expectant mothers feel judged no matter what they want or choose or end up with.

      The woman who wants a natural birth seems to hear a lot of “What?” “Don’t be a martyr” and some of the stereotypes outlined here– that she’s just doing it for her, and it’s more about the journey than the destination (there’s no reason it can’t be about both, and isn’t having an epidural about the journey, too?)

      Then the woman who wants an epidural– as Meredith has explained- feels that the natural birth-seekers are personally judging her or wielding their choices over her. There’s clearly no one right choice to make. And from an “evidence-based” point of view, this is true, too! Risks of epidurals or home births totally depend on the circumstances. It’s so important for all of us to try and extend and expand this dialog to not just be more supportive of one another’s choices but to also realize that sometimes those choices aren’t (reasonable) options.

  15. Carolyn says:

    I’m not sure its fair to say women who choose natural childbirth are going for a merit badge or pats on the back for their courage. Many women choose natural childbirth after learning about the complications that epidurals can cause in childbirth (for example a HUGE increase in C-sections). They are choosing the option that they feel is safer for their body and their baby.

  16. Linksy says:

    Yeah! I do think there’s an us vs. them mentality, and you’ve just done a beautiful job propagating that.
    Why do mothers have to bait each other this way? I don’t care how you decided to give birth, because it was your decision! Articles like this are, indeed, the ultimate in self-indulgence, and just meant to get everyone riled up. Good for you, crapping all over the happy experience of women who made a decision for themselves (epidural or not) for whatever reason.
    So what if I decided not to have an epidural because I wanted to know what it was like? I don’t have any problems with epidurals, and I always said if I needed one, I’d get one. I might get one the next time around. After having my child one week ago without any pain meds, the only person I wanted a solid fist pump from was ME. There was no “merit badge.” I was happy it was over, I weathered it well, and now I have a cute kid. I absolutely would have asked for an epidural at some point if I felt I needed one, but people experience pain differently (and obviously each woman’s labor is unique for a variety of reasons) and I didn’t get one.
    Why do people like you feel the need to defend your own experience by giving me the “you’re not so superior” speech? I KNOW I’m not superior! It’s like trying to make yourself feel better by picking on someone else in the playground. I’m sorry people made you feel guilty for wanting an epidural, but don’t you have any self-esteem? I’m just a mom, and so are you, so stop with the judging and go try to the best mom you can be. Sheesh.

  17. LK says:

    I was with you for a while until you started in with the “why would you choose this moment to just say no” stuff. There you started to sound judgmental, and there is no need for that. I totally agree that nobody should pat themselves on the back or think they’re better than anyone just because they gave birth without drugs (I had a natural birth and the pain sucked and I totally have respect for people who choose epidurals – but, even with how bad it sucked, I’m planning to do it again with the next one).
    I would venture to guess that most women don’t choose natural childbirth just so they can endure extreme pain and then pat themselves on the back for it afterwards. Most of us aren’t sadists. The thing you have to recognize is that the decision is usually made after much research and discovering the fact that there ARE risks attendant to epidurals – not to mention that sometimes they don’t work! Look, there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing an epidural, but hopefully you are aware of the risks and have done research to help avoid at least some of them (i.e. not getting it too early, which can stall labor and result in a c-section). Nor is choosing not to have drugs during labor akin to not to have a “numbing agent” during brain surgery or a root canal. Everyone should make an informed choice about how they want to give birth, and no one should be judged (or congratulated) for the choice they make.

  18. kellyhere says:

    Ugh, reading this article made me feel so defensive about my choice to have a natural childbirth. Adding Meredith Carroll to the list of Babble bloggers I won’t bother to click-through for.

  19. Asta Burrows says:

    I was not allowed epidural as the birth had progressed too far by the time I got to the hospital… (and that was because they kept telling me not to come in as they didn´t think I was ready)… next time I am getting the epidural! (First sign of a contraction and I am heading straight to the hospital!) :-)

  20. Amanda says:

    I agree with everyone above who says this is just adding fuel to the fire. I didn’t feel like a hero at all for opting for an epidural-free birth, but lots of people chose to act like I was. And other people acted like I was crazy, or like I was being sanctimonious, even if all I did was state the facts: I didn’t use pain medication. I’m sorry for people who feel they have been judged for their decision. But then again, I always figure if you are comfortable with your choice, you shouldn’t really care what other people think.

  21. AlbertaMom says:

    @Lori – Thank you for mentioning the rigidity of birth plans. Though I fully support all mothers choosing where and how to give birth (as Ina May says it is most important for the birthing mother to feel safe and comfortable), we also have to be somewhat opened minded as things don’t always go as planned. I know people who were so determined they were going to have a birth with no interventions that they would have been devastated if suturing after was required. Let lone induction or a C section. And I agree with Hannah that these rigid ideas are often the result of first time moms scared of the unknown and trying to get a semblance of control back. The problem is you are setting yourself up for failure because every birth is different and somewhat unpredictable. Plan it, hope for it, but don’t have all your happiness with your birth and baby hang on it.

  22. CDN Mummy says:

    @ Albertamom – I agree with everything you are saying. When I was at one of my first OB GYN appointments I asked about a birth plan and was told not to make one because anything can happen. The one thing I did not want was to be cut and I told everyone in his team about this ONE little request. Of course what happens after three hours of pushing? Just that and I’m OK with it because I knew it was a possibility before going into the labour. I have a friend who so wanted to have a natural birth, did the prenatal classes with me but she ended up having to be induced and had an epidural. In her circumstance the contractions were so intense and one after the other after the other. The poor thing had no rest in-between, she told me. I can’t judge her for that because I don’t know what it was like. I might have done the same if I had been induced. We shouldn’t judge any mom for these things because everyone feels pain differently and circumstances can be so so so different.

  23. Momoftwo says:

    While sometimes people do act judgy with other moms, I also think that a lot of us are just naturally defensive about the choices we make for ourselves and our children as mothers, and we’re more likely to believe that someone is judging us even if they are not; we can perceive someone to have a different reaction than they have by virtue of expecting the worst from other people. I did not need an epidural with my first and couldn’t get one with my second (too quick!), but if I were in the position to need and be able to have one I would certainly get one. Just like I breastfed my kids but would switch to formula if I had to, etc. etc. etc. And I don’t judge other moms for the choices they make, nor do I expect them to judge me.

  24. Jenny says:

    This post is horrifyingly judgmental, and the opposite of my experience.
    First of all, I hate that people ask what I’m planning. What business is it to anyone other than my husband, doctor, doula and myself? Why should anyone else care or know? Every time I say that I’m hoping to avoid an epidural–which is how I phrase it–they tell me I’m crazy and ask why I would do that to myself. Why do I choose this? Because my sister’s epidural almost paralyzed her, because I’m allergic to many types of pain killers and have had extreme reactions to anesthesia in the past and don’t want to risk it right before taking home an infant. Because when I had knee surgery under a spinal block it took longer to recover from the spinal then from the actual surgery.
    I know that there may be a scenario where the only reasonable option for me is an epidural. Fine. I’ll make that decision. But it’s no one else’s business if I do. So why the heck would you assume that by opting for a natural childbirth I’m trying to be a martyr? Actually, I’m wimping out and hoping that the hormones will ride me through the relatively short-term pain of labor so I can avoid the (possible) long-term complications for me–me the individual, not all women–from an epidural.
    Do you think I care what anyone else decided? I don’t. I’m sorry other people judge. I’m sure they do. They judge on both sides. And if that was your point, you missed the mark.

  25. ldancer says:

    Add me to the list of moms who went “au naturel” and feel more than a little judgement from those who didn’t. But, I also don’t care. Judging someone else’s birthing choices is like judging how someone else pees: useless, and none of your business. That said, it’s pretty irritating that I can’t express that I am proud of myself for delivering my 9.5 lb baby without drugs or surgery, after fighting off a bunch of hospital jerks, without some other mom thinking I’m judging her. It’s silly, and inaccurate. Giving birth is something to be proud of and to feel empowered by, no matter how you did it. Going through vaginal birth is HARD, with or without drugs. C-sections are really tough, too. None of it is a walk in the park. So moms should all be able to “pat themselves on the back”. By the way, the tone of the original post is more than a little condescending towards women who do want to express a little pride in themselves for what they did. You act like there’s something wrong with that. Why?

    The way we end up giving birth is so often luck of the draw. I happened to get lucky, and had a fast labor that started on its own. I was also fortunate to have midwives who didn’t want to induce or use an epidural for fear of, respectively, uterine rupture and slowing of labor with a large baby. I’m going to take a stand right here and say that I am proud of myself for soldiering through it, like I powered through tough martial arts rank tests, dance performances, injuries, all-nighters in a very tough illustration school, and years of the worst menstrual cramps ever. And I think everyone here should do the same, no matter how they gave birth, because every single way of delivering is tough and powerful. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, roll their eyes at you, make backhanded comments, or sell your experience short.

  26. Sam says:

    I had one if the worst experiences of my life when I gave birth to my secobd child because of an epidural. The anesthesiologist poked me EIGHT times with the needle trying to get into my epidural space. He also chipped a bone and went to deep causing spinal fluid to leak into my head causing a spinal headache. They had to pump caffine through my IV in turn not letting me breastfeed my newborn baby and having to put her in the nursety because I was in so much pain AFTER labor. Getting that epidural was the dumbest decision I had made during my entire pregnancy. I do not recommend them to any mother and after more research the cons definitely outweigh the pros. I am pregnant with my 3rd baby right now and will not be getting an epidural. I know this doesn’t happen to every mom, but why take the chance of something like this happening and you not being able to enjoy your baby right after delivery?

  27. Marvi Clemente says:

    Thank you for posting this article. Like everything in life, we have different paths in our motherhood journey. My 100 lb. frame had a challenge to deliver my 9+ lb. baby. For our son’s safety, my MD suggested a C-section delivery & an epidural.

    Each mom is a hero for the gift of life & the risks we take! The love, nurturing, etceteras, that follow, is the another heroic act.

  28. TThomas says:

    I feel like there is a big “us vs them” fight. And I do feel like half the moms I meet judge me for being induced and for getting an epidural. But let me say this. My epidural actually made my birth go quicker! yes! Quicker! I had been at 3cm for a while. And by a while I mean over a week, with contractions for about a month. I had been in a lot of pain, And swore that my baby was huge despite my midwife telling me he was not. My son had the cord around his neck in my last two ultrasounds. And towards the end of my pregnancy my blood pressure shot up. So they scheduled an induction date. I got there, they started the induction and I was determined to go as long as possible without an epidural, although I knew I wanted one. After several hours and several bags of pitocin, I still was not dilated any more than I was when I came in. I started to think I had my mother’s problem of just not dilating and I was going to need a c-section like her. Then I got my epidural. In under two hours I was 8cm. An hour after that I was 10cm. When I started to push and baby wasn’t making much progress, they turned off my epidural pump and made me wait for it to mostly wear off because they thought it was keeping me from pushing. Instead, it turned out baby wasn’t making any progress because, as I had known all along, he was just too big. I barely, and i mean barely squeezed him out. In the end, I delivered him mostly natural, even if I didn’t labor the entire time naturally. I could feel and move the legs, feel every contraction, feel every pain as my midwife tried to stretch me to get him out, I just couldn’t fully feel sensations on my skin I guess. But still, when I say epidural, and worst of all, induction, people are extremely judgmental. And when I said I planned on an epidural before I had my son, people were even more judgmental. Guess what? I would get induced again (once my body is ready and needs that help same as this time) because I am tiny and I have big babies thanks to my husband’s genes. And on top of that I would get an epidural again. In fact, next time I am going to go into it requesting that they don’t turn the darn thing off unless I ask. In the end my birth experience was great. My epidural helped me get through the day, it helped me dilate, I had my baby vaginally as I wanted, and afterwards I recovered very easily other than my leg being popped out of socket(went home within 24 hours and was packed and ready to go within about 15 hours), and baby had absolutely no problems breastfeeding (which is what everyone told me would happen with an epidural, tons of problems and I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed). But yes, I feel like I am judged a lot by anyone who went all natural. And I was judged beforehand by all my friends who planned to go all natural (and all ended up with epidurals and/or c sections- everyone of them).

  29. Corinne says:

    I think all moms should be proud of their accomplishment whether c-sec, natural or epidural and even adoption. All have gone through waiting, pain, and people giving all sorts of advice; all for the sake of their child! I had planned a natural birth with my first, but after a dose a pitocin was quickily ready for an epidural. I was a unfortunate one where the epidural did not work – numbed my legs w/out relieving my contractions. Doctor had to use a vacuum to help the delivery. As a result I tore extensively and my little boy had jaundice because of bruising on his head. I had very long recovery – more than a month before I could stand w/out hurting and an ER visit in the first week as I couldn’t relieve my bladder because of the swelling. Not meaning to scare anyone, some woman have wonderful results! What made it worse is that my husband seemed to not give me credit for what I’d gone through since I got an epidural. At the pediatrician office a couple of days later we ran into a woman that had gone natural and my husband seemed impressed and congratulated her for not getting the epidural. That hurt and made me feel like I was less worthy. For my second birth I was given pitocin again, but came to 10 cm as I was once more debating the epidural. The pushing was so much faster(my baby came out w/ a round head rather than a cone like my last) and the recovery easier. I am fortunate that my labor progresses quickly- can’t imagine hours and hours of intense labor! I did feel like I understood what my mom and grandmothers went through w/out drugs. I do think a birthplan can be a good thing if there are some things you do not want. I hated the pitocin I got for my first, but then I didn’t have it in me to say no the second time. I hadn’t been laboring very long at all when they gave it to me and it is awful! Maybe if I had a birthplan specifically saying I didn’t want pitocin they wouldn’t have been as quick to administer. All moms are heroes!!!

  30. TThomas says:

    That being said, I do feel like my friends who chose natural were attacked as well (thus the us vs them mentality). I had friends who wanted to go natural post on facebook and then their friends would start yelling at them not to do it. But I can’t go into detail on that becuase it isn’t my experience. I feel proud that I pushed an 8lb 5oz baby out my 100lb frame period, even with an epidural. And if I needed a c section, I would have been proud to say I underwent major surgery to have my little one here healthy.

  31. adriana says:

    Exactly! like many other post..why does this have to be a competition. We (women/mothers) should embrace all the choices we have today, and not make an us v them of anything. Women who have an epidural you are a hero because you just gave birth to another human being who you will have to love, nurture, and pay for for the rest of you life. Just like the women who don’t have an epidural. If anything most mothers are unsung hero’s.

  32. Sara's Mommy says:

    Ok I am not against any choice. I am 25 I just had my first baby in January and I always said I will do it drug free etc etc.. I got down to the contractions, and I was told originally I wouldn’t be able to get an epi due to my plateletts being to low or something but then they came back as ok so they offered it to me and granted I wasn’t in labor long considering my water broke at 9am and she was here by 12:12pm but I took the epi cuz the pain was very intense and I can tolerate a great deal of pain. I do not think the epi makes you a weaker woman and I do not think doing it all drug free makes you a hero. All that matters is that little bundle comes out and everything is ok and you and he/she makes it home with no complications.

  33. Patience Stufflebeam-Zimmerman says:

    I didn’t have pain meds with any of my 5 kids…….. I was kind of worried about the pain myself but I had prayed that I would not need them. I got my wish though…. My pain from monthly cycles growing up was worse than any of my L/D pains ever were…. The first 4 delivered so fast I almost did not make it to the hospital……. Not enough time for meds even if I had wanted them…. My Birth Plans did me no good,lol. 12 year old daughter 28 minutes total L/D,8 pounds even, 7 year old son 45 minutes L/D 8 pounds 8 ounces, 4 year old son about 50 minutes 9 pounds even, and my 3 year old about 20 minutes 9 pounds 11 ounces. My baby girl took 12 hours to make her appearence because she was a little bit early and smaller than the others…. 7 pounds 2 ounces…… My L/D was unlike others because I am extremely active (Ballroom,Latin,C/W,Classical Dancer,etc). I was also very active walking at least 2 miles a day……. even walking around the house,etc adds up I have found that the more active you stay and the more water you drink makes it easier….

  34. kearsten says:

    I can definitely comment as I have had a drugged up birth and I have delivered sans medication! I hoped for a drug free birth the first time but was pressured onto an epidural, helped along by pitocin induced labor. I was not allowed up for anything, peed in a bed pan, and later had a catheter…not my idea of fun! I also ended up with an assisted delivery after 3 hours pushing. My second labor and delivery, while not drug free (though not because it was too painful…at 9cm, ds turned back to back and my cervix swelled, so i tried drugs including a spinal after 3 failed epidurals, which saved me from a c-section) was much more ‘relaxing’ and the recovery was easier and, believe it or not, I was much more alert second time and my labor was 10 hors longer! My epidural delivery was longer, slower, much more painful, and i wouldn’t chose to deliver that way again! I dont consider myself a hero to anyone except myself because i did what i set out to do, more or less anyways!

  35. Kristin Denise Nunley says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with you. I myself did opt to have natural childbirth with both my kids so far, but, i have an extremely high pain tolerance. I was still laughing through contractions with both my kids until it was time to concentrate and push. (my mom says im made for having kids). i am terrified of needles to the point i pass out if i see one bigger than a butterfly needle. i was/am more scared of that needle than i am of giving birth again without anything. Each mom should choose what they think is best for them AND the baby and i applaude you for that. I was able to stick to my birth plans to a T. Both times my water had to be broken at the hospital. with my son i was admitted at 5cent dialated and passed out when they put the IV in my arm lol. that was the only stick i got. with my daughter i did better with the iv but after having her i hemmoragged so i HAD to have meds put in the iv. both of my labors were 5 hours or less. and never went over 15 minutes of pushing. I guess i have been lucky so far. :D if there does arise a time during any one of the next kids i have that doc says they need to do this for this reason then i will listen. I am very glad you are able to admit your have a low pain tollerance and im proud of you. Good luck with your future and i hope all is well :D

  36. Dionne Savage says:

    I didn’t get the epidural because I heard all the risk about having back problems, and that it affects the baby. I wanted a natural water birth but due to lack of money I only got the natural part. I personally don’t see a huge deal with giving birth, I was not in pain at all (I was just really tired cause of being in labor for 26 hours) I finally pushed out my first son/kid on 07/26/10 — 7’10 ounces

  37. Maya says:

    Geez, Meredith. Bitter much? While you say you’re over it, it sure doesn’t sound like it. It sounds like one big rant about you justifying your own decision. If the baby was born healthy and happy and the mom is safe as well, then who cares?

  38. Shannon says:

    I am with you. i have to csections as well.

  39. April says:

    Thank you so much for this article! It’s like a breath of fresh air to read something written by someone who had an epidural and is not ashamed of that. So many women I know who had epidurals say “I had an epidural, but only after hours of agonizing contractions and I couldn’t take it any more” and so on. I don’t get why they feel the need to explain themselves and almost apologize to other moms for having one. When I had my baby, I knew I wanted an epidural, I got it about an hour after contractions really got started good, and I’m happy about it! It’s SO nice to read an article from this perspective, especially on natural-childbirth-obsessed Babble!

  40. Carrie says:

    I totally agree – to each his own. I’m due on the 19th and have not progressed at all so this is looking more and more like an induction. Unfortunately I am anemic with an un-located (but at this point stable) GI bleed. To top it all of just a week ago I experienced a complicated migraine (never had so much as a regular migraine before) so my OB and I have decided not to let me go much past my due date. That means I’ll be getting all kinds of drugs. A drug to open my cervix and then another to start the contractions (hopefully this works). So I also plan on an epidural. I’ll wait it out as long as I can since epidurals can slow contractions. I have to try to avoid a c-section because of my anemia and hidden GI bleed. I’ve already had two blood transfusions earlier in the pregnancy. I’d like to avoid them again. But to be perfectly honest. I am one of those lucky few that has a very high tollerance for pain and even if I did not have all theses issues. I would still plan on using an epidural. If I don’t need it then I won’t take it. My choice is to try to enjoy the childbirth process as much as I can, I don’t knock those that want the “real” experience. To each her own. Luckily most of the people I’ve talked to have not been judge mental about it.

  41. Juliea P. says:

    I don’t understand why anyone would want to take unnecessary risks and plan for an epidural before ever even experiencing what labor is like. As a doula, I have not only given birth (naturally) three times I have witness all kind of births. They are not always “painful” or “intolerable”. I had my first child at 16 and it was natural – not because I was hell bent on having a natural labor – but because epidurals freak me out. I can’t stand the idea of laying there and not feeling half of my body, not being in control and having something IN MY SPINE seems completely wrong – especially when bringing a child into the world. It SHOULD be work. It shouldn’t be “sunshine and rainbows” – it should be earned. Not only that, but think that not enough people actually weigh the risks fairly. I’ve seen women go through the “epidural headache” and I wouldn’t wish that on my worse enemy. Also, out of all of the epidurals I have seen performed (about 7) I have only ever seen ONE go right the first time….and that one was one of the women who ended up with a headache and was unable to lift her head off the pillow for TWO WEEKS.

    On top of this, I find it interesting that most of the women who choose drugs are the types that would never otherwise want to take drugs. Why is it that during the most important, most transformational thing we can ever do we choose to be exempt from it? Labor is work. Thats why it’s called labor. To lay there and just wait for labor to happen to you is not only unproductive – it’s lazy – and unfair to your unborn baby. It DOES present a risk to the baby and yourself. Just because that risk is downplayed by the medical profession (and our own society) does not mean that the risks aren’t real or that they wont happen to you (or your baby). In any other case we would never ever put our children in danger, so, why would we chose this just to avoid this experience? To avoid a little “pain”? This is not to say that epidurals do not have a time a place….my issue is when women have never even experienced this pain and already know they are going to get one. A lot of women aren’t even in pain when they request it! The pain that they think they are trying to avoid is perceived in their brains as something that they can’t handle when in reality they don’t even know yet if they can or not. To me, this is not a fear of pain, but a weakness in the belief of self. Otherwise, why is it that women who do believe that they can handle it do handle it all the time? Are our labors less “painful” that theirs? No. Absolutely not. We’ve just made a CHOICE to trust ourselves and TRY.

    I DO think that women should be applauded for believing in their bodies enough to birth without medical assistance. Not only without drugs, but without pitocin, forceps, vacuums, etc. as well. Not only because they did it without these things, but simply because they overcame the belief that they couldn’t and chose to trust themselves and through that experience found empowerment and often times found their voice. Most of the women that I work with actually have to fight the judgement and discouragement that they receive from friends and family for even wanting a natural childbirth. Not getting an epidural seems to me to be just as judged as getting one. For me, I hold onto a hope that I can get a woman through labor with my skills as a doula because I live for that look she gets in her eye after she has climbed that mountain and proven to herself that SHE CAN trust her body, she can overcome pain. It’s a truly amazing thing and it absolutely should be honored and respected.

  42. lisa says:

    I have two kids and I had an epidural with the first and did it natural the second time.That being said, childbirth is the most painful,hardest, and most wonderful thing a woman goes through,if they decide to have kids. ALL mom’s are heroes, no matter how the baby comes into the world.In the end does that even matter??all that ever matters is that the babies are healthy!!People shouldn’t judge about such a thing.

  43. Meredith Carroll says:

    @Carrie — Good luck —– sounds like you’ve got a lot going on!
    @April — Thanks for the kind words.
    @Maya — Nope, not bitter at all. But thanks for commenting!
    @Kearsten — Sounds like you speak from experience (a lot of it). So glad to read that all’s well that ends well with you.
    @Adriana — I agree totally: why should this be a competition. To each her own. That’s why I wrote this piece —– because I often feel like it is a competition from stories I hear and comments I get.
    @Corrine — I’ve never heard of anyone going natural being attacked, but I believe you.
    @Sam — Yikes. That sounds like a rough experience.
    @Marvi — I agree that every mom is a hero!
    @Jenny — Thanks for commenting despite being horrifyingly offended by what you perceived to be judgmental.
    @KellyHere — Thanks for commenting (although I suppose you won’t even see this comment since you won’t be reading anything by me again).
    @LK — Just being honest with a question that’s always been on my mind.
    @Ceridwen — Thanks for the thoughtful comment. Yes, for me the epidural was making sure it WASN’T about the journey. :)
    @Carolyn — I’m not trying to accuse moms who go natural of trying for a merit badge. My point was that the responses I’ve had from people to what I’ve done were so judgmental that I felt it’s what those women were trying for — but not EVERY woman.

  44. stacymitch says:

    ugh, seriously! I wish this much thought and planning went toward the many years that follow raising respectable and responsible humans for our future.

  45. Meredith Carroll says:

    @Lee @Diana @Amanda @Jenny — No meds sounds crazy to me because I have no tolerance for pain. Even if I did, if I can avoid literally pain, I generally do. But I guess I’m a wimp like that.

  46. kristy east says:

    i do have to say my first childbirth was natural however i was only in labor for 3 hours yet with my second i had to have the epideral cause well the plcenta bag was leaving the womb, they were unable to find his hart rate and took me stright to the or for a cesection well i have to say that i would not change any of it for anythign child birth for be was pretty quick and painless i guess

  47. Cassidy S says:

    We are all women. We all get to experience this magical experience (good or bad) of pregnancy and laboring our children, then the wonderful adventures that we endure for the rest of our lives. Whether a woman decides to have a natural birth or an epidural of some kind, we should support eachothers decisions. Yes, we can have our own opinions, but I think we should stand together and support our friends rather than put someone down because she did not choose the same birth plan than maybe the woman sitting beside her. We all have our own reasons whether there were drug free births in the past or not. The technology is only going to progress and women will continue to use it or not. It does not even matter what kind of birth I chose for my daughter, but I know I plan to do the same for her little sister due in July. Because it worked for me and I loved my experience, every moment of it. We both stayed healthy throughout the process with no complications and I had my husband beside me the whole time. What more could I ask for? It should never be a us vs. them. Women should stand together.

  48. kate otto says:

    I have had 4 epidural births and 1 epidural free birth. I LOVE my epidural births so much more. I recover faster. I am not as tired. Especially my last birth. It was awesome. I was not in pain but I could still tell when I was in transition which was awesome it was nice knowing that in just a little bit I was going to meet my son. I could still feel enough to know when to push. plus labor is quicker when I get a epidural. My epidural free birth was by choice not because I didn’t have enough time to get one. I am grateful I was able to experience it. That way I was able to know that I prefer getting the epidural.

  49. Sheva says:

    From a mom who didn’t use the epidural – and had two hospital and two home births:
    To the question “When did it become about the moms?”, all the research that shows poorer bonding, sleepiness, and poor latching on the part of the baby doesn’t really point at birthing without an epidural being “all about the moms”.
    On the contrary – these mothers are willing to deal with their labor so that their baby can have the best start in life as they see it.
    This IS about the moms, too. It is she who is enduring labor, and so it’s her choice to make.
    Also, the moms who opt for an epidural – sometimes it is truly the best for them and their baby, too.
    As a doula, I’ve seen moms choose to labor naturally, choose to take an epidural, a mom being forced to take one (don’t ask) and one yelled at – literally – for doing it alone.
    I don’t believe that anyone can make that call except the mom herself.
    Less judgement from everyone would be the most beneficial, so that every mom can choose what she thinks is best for her AND her baby.

  50. Jewlz says:

    I had my first son when I was 16 and my second son when I was 17. I elected not to have any pain medicine during their births. However I do not see anything wrong with a woman that does choose to use medicine. I think it’s up to each woman to choose what they think is best for them.

    I found myself in a different situation. I had nurses trying to sneak pain medicine into my I.V. They insisted that I was too young to decide for myself whether or not I wanted pain medicine. But I stood my ground because that was my choice as I was the one giving birth, not them.

  51. Lumin says:

    Motherhood is crazy and amazing. It is scary and it is hard. It is joyful and miraculous. It is exhausting and life-giving. Historically, at no other point in our lives would we be so close to death than when we are giving life. It is not only the birth of a child, but the birth of a mother as well. It is crucial for those who have gone before to support and encourage and edify the new mothers joining the ranks.

  52. Lumin says:

    Imagine being a new mother, scared, and without much support. Sure, she could ask you for help, but because you have been so vocal in your opinions, she fears your judgment. She begins to fear the judgment of others as well. In her most vulnerable moments, she does not ask for the support she needs because so many of us are too busy standing on soap boxes when we should be embracing each other and holding one another up.

  53. Alicia says:

    Meredith, you’re not a wimp simply because your pain tolerance is different from others. Everyone handles pain differently. Perfect example: Me and my best friend. I have three tattoos, one on my breastbone, one on my ankle, and one on my spine. All very painful spots! But I have a high tolerance for pain. My best friend however winces if you poke her hard. Her tolerance for pain is very low. We’re the same age, same body type, height, etc. Yet two completely tolerances for pain.

    There’s nothing wrong if a woman if she decides to have a drug-free birth or a medicated one. It’s about what she can tolerate and what she feels will help her give birth safely. There are risks with both types of birth, and both have their advantages. Judging anyone for any type of birth they have is stupid and immature. I think this article was pointing that out in much more friendly way. There isn’t any merit badges for anyone who gives birth, period, just as there no merit badges for parenting. We all do what we think is best for ourselves, our babies, and our families. All of this judgment and fighting amongst ourselves (the moms) is stupid. If we all are raising happy, healthy kids that aren’t abused, then no one is better than anyone else. Yet there’s this continued mentality of “I’m better than you because I did this and you didn’t.”

    How about you (the judgmental people) get over yourself?

    Funny thing about me and my best friend: She gave birth exactly one year after I did, and her delivery was pretty much med free because she had a failed epidural. I ended up with an epidural because I had back labor and I felt the pain was exhausting me. So while she has a low pain tolerance, she had a natural birth, and while I have a high tolerance for pain, I had an epidural. Funny how that can work, huh?

  54. Meredith Carroll says:

    @Lumin — I’m not sure who I’m judging; I wrote about being judged by others. Yes, I said I think women who don’t take drugs are crazy (in an admirable kind of way, just like I think ultramarathoners are crazy — I’ve run six marathons and wouldn’t run a step past 26.2 miles if you paid me) and that’s because I don’t think I could have handled it. I don’t consider that a judgment. The people I’m writing about are the ones who turn down their noses at people who opt for pain meds. But I’m not sure why any of these opinions would prevent someone for asking me for advice — or why anyone would ask me for advice period. I’m not a doctor and I’ve only given birth once and I don’t think my experience would offer any source of comfort so I would most likely refer them to someone else for advice.

  55. unsubscriber says:

    Perhaps if you want to feel supported by women who’ve opted out of epidurals, you shouldn’t call them “crazy” when you talk about their personal, carefully considered decision.

  56. ldancer says:

    Unsubscriber: Exactly. And hey ladies who can’t even bear to hear someone who DIDN’T get an epidural talk about that, because it makes you feel so judged…get over yourselves. No one is judging you, unless they actually come out and say so, to YOU, specifically. Again, everyone, just be proud of yourself for whatever your experience was. It’s all tough and amazing.

  57. Michelle says:

    I don’t understand this controversy either. How a woman decides to give birth doesn’t affect anyone else, so why should any woman be put down for her decision? It’s her body and she knows her pain threshold better than anyone else. During both of my pregnancies, I decided to not have an epidural unless it was medically necessary or if I couldn’t hold out any longer. With my son, I opted for the epidural because I was exhausted and need some rest. After giving birth, I felt like superwoman and in awe of what I had just done, I brought a baby into the world. With my daughter (4 yrs later), I didn’t have an epidural because I was able to make it through the pain and, luckily, only had 9 hrs of labor. After giving birth to her, guess what? I felt like superwoman and in awe of what I had just done, I brought a baby into the world. The end result of both deliveries….I was proud of myself and was holding the most beautifuls gifts I had ever received. Medication or no medication, women are incredible beings that are capable of so much! I don’t let someone else’s opinion of what I should do overshadow the experience of having my babies.

  58. moto_librarian says:

    Some of the responses to this post give erroneous information about epidurals. Epidural anesthesia does not cross the placenta. The baby does not receive any of the medication (unlike when opioid painkillers are delivered via I.V.). So if you’re avoiding the epidural simply because of potential risk to the baby, you shouldn’t worry about it.

    We often hear that an epidural increases the chances for interventions such as c-section, but it is difficult to rule out confounding factors that may have predisposed a woman to having a c-section in the first place. A protracted labor, stalled dilation, etc., can be signs that the baby simply doesn’t fit in the mother’s pelvis. The size of your hips doesn’t really matter – the internal structure of the bony pelvis does, and even women with broad hips can have a narrov pelvic outlet.

    I grow tired of hearing “labor pain is productive pain” trope. Physiologically, it is NOT DIFFERENT from any other type of pain. Pain also varies from woman to woman, and even from delivery to delivery for the same woman. We are fortunate to have access to safe, effective pain relief. Spreading erroneous information about epidurals is a way of passing judgment on those that use them. If you don’t want pain relief during labor, terrific, but don’t try to convince other women not to because of incorrect or untrue information. There is no convincing evidence that epidurals lead to problems with bonding or breastfeeding.

    Finally, to those who feel that they were judged for not having an epidural, I don’t think that should have happened. I do wonder, however, if some of it isn’t in the spirit of trying to warn a friend of how painful labor can be. I had an unmedicated labor, and it is an experience that I do not ever want to repeat. When a friend asked me to honestly tell her what it was like, I complied with her request. I don’t just walk up to random pregnant strangers and tell them, but I’m not going to sugarcoat when I’m asked.

  59. Jesseka says:

    Honestly I couldn’t care less what someone else thinks of my decision to not have a natural childbirth or any parenting decisions for that matter. I’m with the writer on this one… I would never voluntarily choose pain over medicine. Raising children is like religion… everyone has different opinions, doesn’t make one right and the other wrong.

  60. Heather says:

    @Moto- I agree completely. I don’t care what kind of birth women choose; in fact, I love that I live in a country where women HAVE choices. The problem arises when women of a certain mindset accuse those women who choose to have an epidural, claiming they aren’t “thinking” women, and throw inaccurate information at them like they are idiots.

  61. Rebekah C says:

    I found, throughout my journey as a sometimes Doula and a mother who is extremely involved in internet birthing circles, that the “us vs them” mentality exists on both sides, as your article here is a clear example.

    No, birthing is not just about the baby any more than it is just about the mother. MotherBaby is a co-simbiotic unit up until the umbilical cord is cut and just as the mother’s physical well being during pregnancy ensures the baby’s well being, often, the same applies to the birth process. This is most certainly true *after the birth*. And emotionally and physically healthy mother is much better equiped to deal with the challenges of parenting than one who leaves the birth room shattered, scarred or traumatized.

    As a natural birthing Mama, though, I agree with your observations (though again, they go both ways). Birth SHOULD be a special, empowering, incredible experience because it IS an amazing miracle that we preform.
    All women deserve an emotional standing ovation because bringing forth a child, whatever methodology is employed, is incredible.

    I strongly disagree that birth is something that just has to be endured, though. Having given birth three times I’m happy to say that giving birth is something that I have done, not that I’ve just endured, and I’m proud of it.

    Those of us that choose to go “all natural” typically make that decision *because* it’s all about the baby to us. NOT because it’s all about us.

    That said, again, regardless of how we choose to birth, we all deserve a round of applause. Growing, birthing and nuturing a child is a HELL of a lot of work and my hat is off to all of us. Judgement is just one of those stupid things we humans get caught up in without thinking about it.

  62. Meredith Carroll says:

    @Rebekah — Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

  63. Lisa says:

    “Ah man, guys, why does this have to be a competition? I think it’s possible to reconcile the fact that 1) giving birth without pain relief is an amazing feat and that 2) it’s perfectly understandable to not want to put yourself through that, because pain sucks. To each her own.”

    1) No, it’s not. Anyone can do it…or they die. That was the only option for most of humanity. So if everyone can do it, it’s not really special is it?
    2) Not when we have people beleving what you said in #1, no.

  64. Lolo says:

    I think it’s negative judgemental rants like this that pit women against eachother in childbirth wars. Get over it!
    I went into childbirth with no prior decisions made because NO-ONE knows what’s going to happen on the day.
    Why plan to absolutely, without a doubt, have an epidural when you may not experience any pain?
    What happens if the epi doesn’t work, as is VERY common?
    Why plan to have NO pain relief if you don’t know what level of pain you will be in/ be able to handle? Are you setting yourself up for a disappointment should you find you need drugs?

    Treat your own birth as exactly that: YOUR OWN. Keep your judgements to yourself and respect eachother as women and mothers.

    Lolo
    Mother of 3
    1 birth without epi, because I wasn’t in any pain
    2 births with epi because I needed it
    3 healthy babies
    0 medals

  65. Lisa says:

    And everyone who said that there are major and dangerous negitive effect of Epidurals need to give some citation. I have read over and over that “all the studies show” less bonding, trouble bfing, huge increase in c-sections—blah blah blah. Guess what? All the studies DON’T show that. Just because you read it on the internet does not make it true.

  66. C M says:

    Oh boy. I don’t even know where to START with this one …..

  67. Jamie says:

    My first I ended up getting the epidural. It slowed my progress down. I didn’t like not being able to feel what was going on, and it actually “hurt” more just in a different way. My second I labored at home all day and went to the hospital at the very last, the pain of pushing the baby out was not as bad as I feared and it was over so much faster. Plus I loved being able to get up right after and get cleaned up all on my own. Both ways have pros and cons. Educate yourself and make your decision, but don’t judge someone who chose a different path.

  68. bwsf says:

    There absolutely IS an us vs. them battle with the natural moms and the “drugged up” moms. I live in San Francisco, and the attitude toward pain relief during labor is as crunchy as you are imagining right now. In certain circles, I find it difficult, even embarrassing, to admit that I had en epidural with my son. And I wish it didn’t have to be that way! No matter that it had completely worn off by the time he actually came out, and I did go through a good deal of pain. No, they want to focus on the few hours from 5cm to 9cm that I opted to take an epidural so that I could rest up for the pushing and greeting my baby. Shame on me.

  69. rachael giglio says:

    To each her own I guess. I had two of my four children with nothing but Stadol (sp?) With my third and fourth I was all natural and I will never go back! For one thing I HATE IV’s. I have nothing against needles but after having my appendix out at 16 and having an IV in for 3 days because my surgeon went awol and they couldn’t remove it without approval, I hate having that thing in me, it drives me nuts. Secondly I never felt better after birth than I did with the last two. I was up showered, dressed, and even had hair and makeup done a mere 2 hours after my son was born. (different story with my daughter since it was 3am!) I didn’t even have swelling or any discomfort “down there”. I felt AMAZING! Now I have never had an epidural but I know for certain that the most difficult way to birth a baby is on your back, it causes the muscles in the perineum to tighten across the vaginal opening making a tear or just swelling and pain much more likely. Which will of course cause recovery time to be longer. that is why with four already running all over the place I will again opt for natural when it comes to my 5th. That and I happen to have a very high pain tolerance and my active and most painful part of labor last all of 20 minutes. For someone seeking to be non judgmental about birth choices I kinda felt like you were attacking natural birthers for being proud of the accomplishment. I think every woman should have the right to be proud of birthing a baby, epidural or not.

  70. Cynthia says:

    I chose the epidural the moment it was offered to me. And it just didn’t work. The anesthesiologist came back in three times and nothing worked. I felt every single contraction during my 27 hour long labor. In August, I am due to deliver baby boy #2, and guess what? I’m trying the epidural again, and praying this time it works!!!

  71. sophie says:

    This article is ridiculous. If you’re so over the argument, why argue it here?

    I had my first drug-free and at home (and no, I am not patting myself on my back), and yes, it was excruciatingly painful and I thought for a long time afterwards that I was crazy for doing it. (I am also 34 weeks with our second and the thought of going through the pain again gives me the chills.) However, like another reader mentioned, our bodies are MEANT to birth. Giving birth is not an illness or disease, and if you can give birth naturally, by all means, you should; for the benefit of number one: your baby and number two: yourself. Now, if birthing naturally isn’t an option for you, then thank God we have modern day medicine and procedures to help you and your baby safely through labor and delivery. (And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!)

    The way I see it? And lord help me, I’ll probably receive all sorts of flack for this but, I think any educated and well-informed woman (on the topic of birthing) wouldn’t think twice about saying ‘no’ to an epidural or any birthing drugs. The statistics are almost mind-blowing when it comes to you and your baby’s safety, not to mention these drugs have not been around for ages and who knows what long-term side effects they may pose? Where do you think all of these disorders in children are coming from? And please don’t say vaccinations. (In case you’re wondering, yes, we vaccinate.)

    What many don’t realize is that birth (and more specifically, birthing in a hospital) is a full-blown business. That means they are making money off of you. Those epidurals cost mega bucks, so if you want one, by all means they’re going to encourage it. And inductions? Don’t even get me started!

    Point is, your baby should come on its own at its own time if it’s able to…which you won’t know until after you’ve started and gone through intense labor. And it should come into this world healthy and not pumped full of artificial drugs, because you better believe they feel those effects just as much, if not more, than you do.

    Unless you’re someone who is fully educated on the risks associated with birthing both ways, perhaps this topic isn’t something you should be openly discussing and debating.

  72. moto_librarian says:

    “The way I see it? And lord help me, I’ll probably receive all sorts of flack for this but, I think any educated and well-informed woman (on the topic of birthing) wouldn’t think twice about saying ‘no’ to an epidural or any birthing drugs. The statistics are almost mind-blowing when it comes to you and your baby’s safety, not to mention these drugs have not been around for ages and who knows what long-term side effects they may pose?”

    Well Sophie, you should receive a lot of flack for this attitude. I’d really like to see these “mind-blowing” statistics about the dangers of epidurals. And no, anecdata does NOT count – I want actual statistics that come from a peer-reviewed journal. You’ve just demonstrated the very problem that the author is writing about. You claim that if other women were truly “informed,” they’d make the same choices that you do. But you’re not really informed if you believe that there are never any reasons for induction, that epidurals cause harm to a woman and her baby, etc. You obviously don’t know how an epidural actually works, or you would know that the baby isn’t getting any of the medication from it.
    A final question – if our bodies are “made” to give birth, why did so many women die in the developed world prior to the advent of modern obstetrics? And why do perinatal and maternal mortality rates remain so high in the developing worl? (Hint: it’s not because they’re all having epis and c-sections).

  73. Jenny K. says:

    As a woman who is extremely proud of the drug free birth of my son and the one I hope to have with my daughter in June, I take great offense to the attitude of your article. Aren’t you merely perpetuating the arguement with your caption reading “I’m all against women who brag about drug-free childbearth” and comparing a natural process such as giving birth to something unnatural as brain surgery.

    Every woman has a right to choose the way they hope to bring their child into the world. Neither side should receive judgement. But, when you totally spout off like this claiming you way is best and those other women must just be crazy, you are the one who comes off sounding ignorant.

    I chose natural childbirth because I felt more in control of the situation, did not want an epidural due to an increased chance of a c-section and wanted a stronger connection to my child during my immediate desire to breastfeed, not because I wanted to be a hero.
    .
    I believe we all have a right to brag about our childbirth experiences, whatever those may be.

  74. Kate says:

    I feel like there is an us Vs. them mentality – and I’m one who chose an epidural. I understand the positive benefits of going without, but what it boiled down to for me was that after 36 hours of intense labor I could NOT continue without pain relief. The 45 minutes my epidural (semi) worked before it gave out (just before I started pushing) gave me enough strength to make it through the rest of my delivery. No one can ever claim I had a pain free delivery, because even if my epidural had worked I had 36 hours of excruciating pain prior to having the epidural.

  75. Lori Nicholas says:

    “You wouldn’t applaud someone for having brain surgery without some kind of numbing agent. I’m not sure why a woman does it while pushing the equivalent of a medium-sized watermelon out of a coin-sized slot.” I loved this line.

    I went in w/ a we’ll see attitude and after about 5 or 6cm I saw an epiudural in my future and I am glad I did. Otherwise when it came time for my emergency c-section I would have been put completely under and missed the birth of my daughter. Period. End of Story…

  76. Christi Sanders says:

    I would never (nore should anyone) look down on someone for having an epidural. I do, however, find it hard to not judge someone who makes a decision without being as informed as possible. U should know how an epidural is performed. And u certainly should know all the possible risks for u and ur baby. And i def disagree with the statement “unless you can say you’ve never taken a Tylenol or smoked a joint in your life, I’m not sure why this is the moment you choose to Just Say No”! REALLY ?? I’v got a pretty good reason y this is the moment to Just Say No! This isn’t about JUST YOU anymore! Remember when the last statement “isn’t it all just about the baby? When did it become about the moms?” This is exactly why now, more than ever, you should care the most about the INFORMED decisions you make!
    Let me remind u, i do not think there is anything wrong with someones decision to have an epidural. Only something wrong with not making an informed decision. This is an important moment in every womans life and the fact that “women get epidurals all the time” is not enough information to make a decision. I am due in about 3 months with my first child and i like the idea of having a natural childbirth but i am informed and prepared to have an epidural should i change my mind. And to say “most women in history are not applauded for experiencing childbirth drug-free” is ridiculous ! It has come up in conversations with my friends when talking about childbirth (as some of them couldn’t have an epidural because there was no time) that woman have been giving birth since the beginning of time and never had the luxury of drugs or even hospitals. Those womens names may not be in a history book but they ARE applauded !!! As should any woman who does so today.
    I will say it one more time, no woman should be looked down on for having an epidural, but we certainly shouldn’t stop applauding the woman who have decided to do things as natural as possible (even if they have spent there whole life on drugs until finding out they are pregnant) !

  77. Christi Sanders says:

    EDIT ~~~~ i meant to say ~~~~ Remember the last statement of this blog “isn’t it all just about the baby? When did it become about the moms?”

  78. Amanda says:

    I haven’t read all the above comments but have some similar comments to the women above. I do feel like this article contributes to the us vs. them mentality. I went natural with my first for a variety of reasons. I am an anxious person and the idea of not being able to feel my legs and a needle being stuck into my spinal cord freaked me out far worse than the thought of any pain. Secondly, to the other drugs we can use during delivery, I have adverse reactions to similar drugs in that class (very, very loopy, etc.) so the idea of putting that into my body during one of the most spectacular events of my life didn’t sound appealing either. I don’t criticize other women for their choices for epidural births at all. We all need to make choices that are meaningful for us in delivery so we can have the experience *we* want out of our children’s births.

    Oh, and I don’t think I had any less of an awesome experience with childbirth with my first child even after 3+ hours of pushing.

  79. Summer says:

    This post is self indulgent and condemnatory, two things you say that it isn’t. You cite all the reasons you went with an epidural and say that women who take Tylenol and then decide to birth sans drugs are ridiculous. Quite frankly, I don’t know why women CAN’T give birth naturally. It’s really not THAT painful. Women have been doing it since the beginning of time. While I think science as a whole is awesome, I don’t think that ALL science is great and I think that the benefits vs. risks should be weighed in any situation regarding artificial hormones or drugs. Getting an epidural requires you to lie on your back, causing your pelvis to close off by 30%. This is one of the many factors that contributes to the fact that more women who get epidurals are forced to have emergency c-sections. It also renders some women incapable of pushing effectively. I don’t think I’m a martyr for having all 3 of my children without pain medication, I think I’m normal. I weighed the risks vs benefits and personally felt that if my mom could do it drug free, I could too. I had one 3-hour labor, one 75-minute labor, and one 55-minute labor and I attribute that to my educating myself before labor began on how to relax your body naturally during birth. OH – and I didn’t have to pay for a long needle to be stuck into my spine. I’m happy with the way that I gave birth. If you had an epidural and you’re proud of that, fine. But don’t mindlessly attack those of us who didn’t. Because honestly? It comes across as you being defensive which makes me think you wanted a natural birth but were afraid of one.

  80. Robin Baker, DONA trained Doula says:

    this is the most ridiculous article I’ve read recently. Hypocritical, judgmental, selfish, and quite frankly, completely uneducated and proud of it. What I read here is FEAR and JEALOUSY. Period. Unless you have experienced both medicated and un-medicated birth, where do you come off talking about one or the other as superior? And even if you have, why would you talk about it so nasty? Childbirth is amazing and wonderful. Usually you hear those words from women who birth naturally and drug free. The people who “love their drugs” are usually the fear filled women who talk about the pain and the horror. What a nice way to start your child,s life – pumped full of drugs. And opt for an elective major abdominal surgery? Completely moronic. Ewwwww, this post is maddening!

  81. Meredith Carroll says:

    @Robin Baker — I didn’t opt for a c-section; I had no choice. And I was medicated and then unmedicated, so I did experience both. Not sure where you could have interpreted jealousy, but thanks for commenting nonetheless.

  82. iris1973 says:

    Most of the stuff I read about on Babble as being so controversial are things that no one has ever even really asked me about. And even if they did, no one has ever been rude enough to criticize my choices in labor and delivery. I can’t imagine it, and wonder where all these critical (and criticized) people live! I’ve given birth in a highly progressive and “au natural” area (Madison, WI) and I will be now giving birth in a highly conservative and “let the doctor take care of it” area (East Texas). Neither place has pushed me in one direction or the other, and none of my friends or acquaintances have ever guilted me (or lauded me) for any decisions I made or plan to make.
    (In case you’re wondering, I did opt for an epidural, because I was one of those “I’ll wait it out and see” people, but the anesthesiologist was going into surgery – it was 3 in the morning – and wouldn’t be out until it was too late for me to decide one way or the other. I was at 7 cm, exhausted – had been awake for three days – and having a hard time, so I said okay. Well, it didn’t work. My legs were numb from the thighs down, and everything else I could feel JUST PERFECTLY – including the catheter they insisted on giving me without any further anesthesia. I call it my non-natural natural childbirth.)

  83. iris1973 says:

    Robin, I’m glad you weren’t MY doula! The last thing I would have needed was someone as judgmental and snotty as you. Precisely the reason I steered away from having one.

  84. iris1973 says:

    Oh, and Summer, not everyone has 3 hour labors. You should consider yourself very lucky. I wasn’t scared at all (and have plenty of training in meditation, relaxation and deep breathing through two degrees in vocal training and theatre) and my labor was three days long. Careful about what you say on here people – you can’t speak for everyone!

  85. HNR says:

    This article is bias, and the author remarkably sure of her perspective despite having no experience with vaginal birth to refer to.

    First, I am not anti-drugs. I’ve used them quite liberally for surgery & dental work, which is what birth is always compared to for some reason I’ve never been able to understand. I’m all about taking the easy way out of these things.

    So let me tell you why I opted for natural childbirth. Because its easier. Yes, easier. If you are able to feel your body and aren’t confined from free movement (as in, up, out of bed. Able to use different positions as the birthing woman is inclined) labor does not have to be the most miserable experience of your life! It doesn’t have to be horribly painful.

    I’ve had one medicated birth & two unmedicated births. One unmedicated birth in which I was confined & yelled at to push while someone counted & not allowed to do the things my body was screaming at me to do. One unmedicated birth during which I was able to do what I wanted as I needed. I should add, during the medicated birth, I was of course flat on my back the entire time.

    Of all my births, whether you look at level of pain and discomfort, the least amount of pushing, the least amount of damage at the time of birth to my delicate bits, recovery time after, or level of happiness, relaxation and joy, during labor, pushing and after delivery; Hands down the birth that was the easiest in every single category was unmedicated birth that I was able to do at my own direction.

    My medicated birth I barely remember. I was passed out from the medications except during those times when the pain was enough to wake me up. In fact, that is all I remember from the experience. Pain, puking, and pushing.

    My second birth, unmedicated but controlled by a sweet, kind, well-meaning nurse & a hurried doctor, was good until I started ignoring my body & listening to other people tell me what I should be doing. Then the pain was awful and I remember wishing I’d had some drugs at the end. Pushing was hell after the doctors forced my cervix over my son’s head. Small taring in several places.

    My third birth, also at a hospital, but I waited longer to go. The two hours I was there before my son was born were filled with me smiling & laughing & talking in-between contractions with my mother, sister, boyfriend, and my older children. No screaming, no crying, no writhing in pain. Nothing to make me feel like a martyr or a hero. Contractions meant taking a break in conversation, some squatting to easy the pressure in my hips, swaying to help move baby down, and just relaxing. When it was done, I’d smile & return to my conversation. After a couple of involuntary pushes my baby was coming & I jumped into bed, relaxed on my side, and with the next involuntary push, I pushed too & my son was born. Just like that.

    That doesn’t make me a hero. I didn’t have to be brave to have that birth. All I had to be was informed about how my body worked & how to work with it.

    There’s nothing special about me except maybe that I took the chance to look past the picture of birth we are painted to see that we really were designed to do this and we don’t have to be miserable doing it.

    My sister complained that I didn’t look like a woman who had given birth in the pictures she took of me immediately after. I wasn’t red & sweaty & exhausted & miserable. I was energized & happy & relaxed & content. I took the easy way out.

  86. Gribblet says:

    One thing that I know about myself after my daughter’s birth is that my blood pressure tanks when I get an epidural. This led to my daughter’s heart decelerating to very dangerous levels and an emergency c-section. So vie chosen to try to manage my second birth in a way that’s less dangerous than an epidural is for me, personally. This isn’t a choice I make because I’m a hero, it’s because I don’t want that moment of panic, not knowing If the baby is going to make it, again. I find the idea of managing discomfort much easier to face.

    But each woman has to weigh her own unique set of issues around childbirth. What is the right decision for me might not be in the exact same circumstances for another woman, because her knowledge of her body or her ability to handle pain or maybe just her anxiety being centered around something different points her to a different conclusion.

    I think it’s important to recognize that this whole debate is a false one – it’s women claiming that people who don’t make the same decisions are ignorant or misguided when in fact, they are just different people.

    My best friend, who is one of the strongest people I know, labored with back labor for 40 hours before agreeing to an epidural that finally helped her relax enough to let the baby out. Her ability to be open enough to try something else likely kept her from becoming so exhausted that she needed a csection just to get the baby out.

    I see lots of people jumping on one another over this issue. Women get very defensive – as if someone else’s choice is about their own birth. Why do that to yourself? Your body, your baby, you are the only one qualified to make the choice about what’s best. Cannot you support other women for making a choice that’s best for them, even if it doesn’t line up with your suppositions? What is so great about your point of view that it causes yup to become combabtive and dismissive when simply faced with someone else’s choice?

    I’m so tired of seeing women make two camps and never shall they agree about this.

  87. Jen says:

    I honestly don’t know why I am even posting anything on this because it most certainly won’t change anyone’s mind. However, I have to say that I am planning my first birth and- yes- I am planning a natural birth.

    I have been called an ‘idiot’, I’ve been mocked, and I have been told I will fail. Now, perhaps this happens just as much with moms who plan an epidural, I can’t say. What I can say is that I have plenty of friends who have chosen to get an epidural and I have never heard any of them criticised for it- nor has it ever been an issue between us. In fact, we don’t even really talk about it. Why would we? I don’t discuss the details of any other bodily function with them.

    I think a huge problem with the whole ‘us vs. them’ thing is that a lot of women who choose to get epidurals don’t realize is that it is inherently insulting to refer to women who do not make the same choice as ‘crazy’, ‘martyrs’, and ‘heroes’. Whether you think it is ‘crazy’ to go without meds is irrelevant to my choice, just the same as whether I think it is ‘crazy’ to get an epidural is irrelevant to yours or ANY other woman’s choice.

    This article most certainly perpetuates the conflict. While I’m not one to tell another person not to express their opinions, I also want to point out that you catch more bees with honey, as they say. Lumping all women who have natural births as ones who ‘pat each other on the back’, and then going on to talk about how silly their choice is will not sway anyone to your point of view.

    Quite frankly, I am sick of hearing about it from BOTH sides.

  88. Nat says:

    Giving birth without pain meds is a choice one makes. Has nothing to do with having a brain surgery without any pain meds – that is not the same thing (this is not the same ballpark, not even the same sport!)… Our bodies are not ment to go through any type of invesive surgeries naturaly, but giving birth is a natural process. Again, personal choice of a women, nothing else and I agree – really so tired of hearing from both sides on this! Arguing about personal choices is pointless; somebody elses choices are not right for others..

  89. Catherine says:

    Just saying…

    Epidural medication can get to the baby just not in the same amounts that is given to mom and though less than maternal IV medications. Sometimes this is reflected in the baby’s decreasing heart rate even though mom’s blood pressure is fine. There have been times in doing a urine toxicology screen on baby because of mother’s prior history of drug use that demonstrates metabolites of medications used for epidurals. Much of it has to do with MDA who is administering the epidural and skill level in avoiding injecting into an improper space…

    For me, I’ve had greater emotional pain and scarring than what I experienced in my labors and births.

  90. Monica says:

    I had an epidural with my first and missed the opportunity with my second. I’m glad that we decided to stop having children after the 2nd before I went into childbirth. It was the most painful experience of my life. Now on the bright side, as soon as my son came out the pain went away. Immediately. And my recovery was faster. But I never want to go through childbirth again.

  91. Sam says:

    I second the “to each their own” sentiment. I personally chose a natural birth. I progressed very quickly and my son was born after 25 minutes of pushing. It was intense, and painful, but I did it. I’m not sure that I could have managed a long natural labor, but that wasn’t my situation. I do not and will not fault any one for their parenting choices – birth or otherwise. The us vs. them mentality exists to make others feel bad about their choices, simply because they were different than our own. We need to be more inclusive and less judgmental.

  92. Becka Gahan says:

    I think this is about the dumbest article I’ve ever read.

  93. sgsmom says:

    You can only feel judged if you allow yourself to feel judged. Yes, I know that is hard when you are pregnant for the first time and have all this unsolicited advice dumped on you from every direction. I always hated being asked, are you doing it natural or medicated? Bottle or formula? Co-sleeping or no? Are you planning for more? This would piss me off to no end because it’s no one’s business, and also how the heck would I know until I actually got to the day of the event? After all the questioning about my plans and wasted energy getting mad, I finally just started smiling and saying it’s all up to the God and the doctors and walk away. All those people who ask silly intrusive questions aren’t going to be standing there in the delivery room. And as for judgment after the baby is born, whatever to all the crazy advice from everywhere, you do for you and your baby whatever you think is right. For me, my baby was full breech butt first so there was never a choice other than a c-section to be safe. I’m not going to sit and over-analyze it or compare it to others. During and after pregnancy, you will get all sorts of people putting in their two cents and more – for the life of your motherhood in fact! If you feel put down and judged now, how do you handle it later when there are bigger issues to deal with in child raising? People just worry way too much about what other people think. There will always be nosy, judgmental, overly-opinionated people, you have to find a way to be happy with yourself and your choices, end of story.

  94. Debbie says:

    In general I think people make way too much of a big deal about the whole issue. But I guess that some people just don’t understand why a woman would volunteer for the complications, extended labor and unnecessary pain that can be caused by medications and interventions during childbirth. I think we need to focus more on educating one another than judging.

  95. Kerri says:

    This ranks up there with bragging breastfeeders (GAG! Not everyone can breastfeed self-righteous you know what and guess what? I probably do something else better that you don’t so stick it!!) baby wearers vs strollers, co-sleepers or cribs… yawn.
    Honestly, every woman has her own unique situation, culture, life experience, pain tolerance etc… I agree with you writer.

    I am also SICK TO DEATH of women who think they’re better for any of the above.

    Guess what? I did most of the above (yes, I breastfeed BUT I had a medical emergency at birth that meant my milk was a joke so I had to pump 24/7 and supplement to boot. NOT fun, but I did for my baby, not YOU!) I also wear my baby which I love, but I surely don’t look at mom’s with strollers and think I am better.

    Lastly, I know a girl who did it naturale and will not shut up. Guess what? She regrets being a mom and WHINES ALL THE TIME about it, BUT, giver her a chance to tell her glowing natural birth and she’s all about her. Gag.

    Seriously. Get over yourselves. Do whatever you want and keep your big, fat nose out of other women’s business. To each their own.

  96. Rachel Smith says:

    I haven’t had my baby yet, but I’m not going to get an epidural because of risks to me and my child. Every woman who gives birth is a hero, epidural or not, but to diss women who go natural is ridiculous.

  97. deb says:

    geez ya know,there’s pro’s n con’s to each way.epidural or no epidural. and TO EACH THEIR OWN. its not a competition. what one person believes another person isnt going to believe. what one person does wont work for another person. everyones different,every pregnancy is different,every child is different. like i said.there’s pro’s n con’s about each. i personally have experienced both sides of each world. i’v had 3 kids. the first two, i had epidurals with. i chose to cuz i didnt want to feel that much pain. i was a new mom,so its understandable. i was also planning on having an epidural with my 3rd child. but by the time i went into the hopsital i was already dialted at a 9 and they said it was too late to get an epidural. it was the scarriest moment of my life. i was crying. for different reasons. 1.i was in soooo much pain. 2.here i am thinking omg,i have to do this w/o any kind of pain meds whatsoever. and 3.omg. i’m gona have a baby,which seems an eternity til she’s gona get here cuz this pain only seems to be getting worse and i feel like i’m just literally dying. …..but ya know what. i wouldnt change it for the world. EVERY BIT of that pain i went thru was worth it and i would do it all over again cuz my kids are the biggest blessings to me in my life. but yeah. ya know. pro’s n con’s. once again.

  98. Jenny says:

    Okay, I did not use any pain medication while giving birth, and, as a few women have stated, I was called an idiot and had people tell me I was going to be begging for an epidural by the time my contractions hit. They were honestly not that bad at all, but then again I knew what to expect and was able to focus my pain and imagine it pushing out with every contractions. It’s called meditation. I don’t really have an opinion on what other women do, for me personally however, an epidural was out of the question. I did not like the idea of having a giant needle and catheter in my back, knowing there was a possibility that it wouldn’t be 100% effective while also knowing that drugs (yup, even epidurals) transfer to your baby.

    “Besides, I didn’t see a reason to wear myself out from avoidable pain if it likely meant I couldn’t be perky and alert to greet my baby afterward.” This line REALLY got to me. 1) unless you have an extremely long labor, you’re more than likely going to be excited, alert and extremely perky. 2) sure, it’s avoidable pain, but it’s also MANAGEABLE pain as long as you do research and learn the techniques needed to breathe and meditate. I, personally, was able to continue smiling and joking throughout my entire birthing process, including pushing.

    I don’t really understand why the author would compare child birth to brain surgery. As another lady said, child birth is natural. Women have been doing it since the beginning of time while brain surgery is NOT natural and our bodies are not meant to be cut open.

    As I said, I personally don’t care what a woman does, but I think that making those of us who HAVE had natural and drug free births to be “crazy” is just as offensive as us calling those of you who had an epidural “weak”. This article was extremely offensive to those who did not use drugs and she did exactly what she said natural birthing mom’s do. Do I expect applause for giving birth to my son naturally? Not at all, but you know what? I had the most amazing and zen like birthing experience, and I can say, with confidence, that I did what I thought was best for my son and me.

  99. ddv says:

    I find this post more judgmental than the judgment you speak of. You seem to be talking down your nose at the women who feel a sense of pride in having been able to deliver naturally. It’s not that any woman is “better” than any other, every woman is different. However, there is a certain sense of achievement that comes with having been able to do it without the help of medicine. I for one find it admirable that women in history were able to do such an incredible feat without hospitals, doctors and drugs. Because of those women, we are here today. I don’t condemn the epidural for anyone who chooses it. But to say “when did it become about the mum?” is a little ignorant – the entire journey of pregnancy and delivery and motherhood is all about the mother and her baby and the relationship that they form during this time. Nobody else will ever go through what a woman goes through during those nine months. I don’t take away from anyone else’s experience with or without an epidural, but I believe that in retrospect any woman who goes through that additional effort/pain/labour to bring her child into this world deserves a little recognition. It’s called labour for a reason. Labour of love.

  100. baidu456 says:

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  101. areyouserious says:

    You don’t want to be judged for getting an epidural – yet you talk badly about those who want to do it naturally. You are no better than anyone who would call you weak for getting drugs. You must be careful comparing childbirth to surgery. Sure, if you are referring to c-section. Not so much if you include vaginal childbirth because we as a species have successfully done it without medication for a really long time obviously. Also, not everyone has taken recreational drugs; it seems like you made that assumption. This is not a valid article; it is a rant with logical fallacies.

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  103. Kelli says:

    I have the benefit of being one of the youngest in my family generation, so I have a wealth of experience to draw from on both sides of the spectrum. In 100% honesty, I have heard more horror stories about those who opt for epidurals, than from those who opt to go natural. Regardless of others experiences I made my decision very much based on my own personal preferences. Which I think is the same for all women. I don’t really understand why there is such an issue with this. If it’s your own personal choice why does it matter how others view it? YOU are the one delivering the baby. YOU have the final say. Who cares if people might be judgmental, or rude? They don’t matter. You and the safe healthy delivery of your child is what’s most important.

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