How I Give Birth Is None of Your Business

Rant 35

babyA few months ago, if someone would have asked me -- and trust me, someone would have asked me -- how I planned on giving birth, I would have said natural. Not, like, at home in a birthing tub natural, but sans any drugs natural -- no inducing, no pitocin, and definitely not an epidural.

I've never had anything against epidurals. Plenty of people I know have had them, and both they and their kids are perfectly fine. Before I got pregnant, I was planning on getting one myself. But the more things I started hearing about epidurals (how they totally numb you from the waist down; how you might not be able to push), and the more I realized that I'm not very good with drugs, I thought: Maybe it's not for me.

But now that I'm getting closer to my due date, an epidural is looking awfully attractive. Oops, did I just say that out loud?

Pregnancy was never a giant passion of mine. I wasn't one of those women who grew up, thinking that I needed to have children or I'd die. I definitely wasn't well-versed on the subject, so when I eventually did get pregnant -- at 32 -- (and after I started working at a "mom" site), I was kind of thrown for a loop when I learned how controversial it can be -- and how much people care what other people do. I thought pregnancy was supposed to be joyful and fun and all "yay, babies!" I didn't realize the mere mention of something like a C-section would elicit entire dissertations on the subject.

Which brings me back to the epidural thing. I'm not saying I'm getting one; I'm not saying I'm not. But I am saying that I'm nervous to say that I'm even considering one -- to both acquaintances, and on this here site. Because I now know that it's a hot button issue and everyone has an opinion. And the opinions aren't always joyful and fun and all "yay babies!" The opinions actually make you feel like shit.

I never understood what moms and moms-to-be were talking about when they mentioned the "competition" of motherhood. But now I get it. And it sucks. If I get an epidural -- or God forbid, if I decide to get induced -- I'm weak and not a good mom, right? But if I withstand the pain and have my water break naturally, I get a gold star -- and serious bragging rights.

I don't know what's going to happen when I give birth -- and I know even less about what "rules" I'm going to adhere to once I'm a mother (let's not get into breastfeeding, crying it out, and/or "helicopter parenting" -- which, P.S., is a terrible term). But I know that there always seems to be something a bit "dirty" or "weird" about the mere act of talking about these things. I always feel like I'm saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. Which is kind of a bummer. Because, in my opinion, it should be joyful and fun and all "yay babies!" no matter what decisions a person makes.

Do you feel judged by other people when talking about how you're going to give birth/what parenting philosophies you use?


Image via StewC/Flickr

baby prep, pain management


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KathyTh. KathyTh.

Whoa, Nicole, take a deep breath and calm down.  You should do whatever is right for YOU, and don't worry about what anyone else says.  No matter what you decide, someone is going to take issue with it, so tell them it's none of their business and go about doing what you know is right for you and your family.

GirlN... GirlNamedBillie

Of course people are always going to have an opinion about everything, but I think it's the simple fact that so many mothers have taken the "natural" out of giving birth that has so many other women in an uproar. There's nothing wrong with turning to safe drugs to help relieve pain or in emergency situations to keep yourself and the baby safe, but I think it's the fact that women are turning to c-sections when they're not needed is what upsets others. C-sections are surgery and every surgery has risks and those risks can be eliminated if you give birth vaginally when there are no issues. Or how doctors believe they need to induce you BEFORE you hit 42 weeks when there are women who've safely delivered past that point. I think with proper monitoring, by a physician who understands not everything needs intervention, a woman can have a natural healthy delivery.

nonmember avatar Lori

It goes without saying that a woman shouldn't be judged for choices she makes childbirth -- everyone's circumstances are unique. It has been my experience that Moms in the real world are a lot more respectful than Moms on the world wide web. I do find this post funny, considering it is written by the same woman who berated Jessica Simpson for gaining too much weight during her pregnancy in another post not too long ago. In my experience, practicing kindness and having an open-minded attitude go a long way to getting treated with the respect you deserve.

Blue_... Blue_Spiral

The difference is that if you go into a hospital thinking you may or may not get an epidural, you're going to get an epidural. That's just what happens in hospitals. 

So, it's less of a choice than you think. You have to be really determined NOT to get one, if you don't want one. It's not something you can be flippant about.

If you're unsure about why women are so against drugs in labor, do some research on it. It's in yours and your child's best interest not to get drugs, regardless of children "seeming okay" after being epidural or c-section babies. There's a lot more to it than that.

But, like I said. It's kind of inevitable if you go into it with that attitude.

KenneMaw KenneMaw

KathyTh nailed it - you do what is best for YOU, forget everyone else.  Believe me, this site, family, friends, strangers...all believe they know what it best, but they do not.  If you can learn that lesson now, life will be so much easier.    For me, I 'planned' to have a vaginal birth with an epidural.   However, the baby and my body had different plans and I had to be induced and have a c-section.   So, no matter what you may plan, it may not go that way.     At the end of hte day, all that matters is that you and the baby are healthy and safe.  That is it.

Deborah TruthfulMommy Cruz

Sweet lady, I am going to tell you what my doctor told me " YOu don't get an award for giving birth without an epidural. Your kids won't love you more or less. DO what's best for you!" I originally had intented on going natural, as my due date got closer, I decided that I would just go with the flow. I ended up having to get induced a week before my due date for medical reasons. I was being pumped full of pitocin. It was a slow day.Then I began to get crampy but I wouldn't use my breathing because I was afraid I would waste it's effect and need an epi. Ended up I wanted an epidural. Unfortunately, by the time the anathesiologist got to me, I had endured full transition labor to completion. He still gave me the epi but didn't open it up to full strength so I could wait for me doctor to get to the hospital. I will tell you that I would not recomment an induced full labor without drugs.I will stop there so I don't scare you too much but if you want the lowdown start at the beginning of my blog P.S. I didn't get any award for my pain and I didn't feel like I had accomplished anything. I only wanted the pain to stop:)

DO what feels best for you. And for the love of God, don't by into the idea of a birth will only feel like things are not going according to plan.

DaniMaeD DaniMaeD

Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.  I've had three children and all three labor and deliveries were totally different.  TOTALLY.  I can not emphasize that enough.  I dunno how people think they can plan this stuff.  It's biology.  It's nature.  Can you stop rain?  No

Loref... Lorefield

Aaaand of course the judgy moms have come out to judge.

Ladies, she knows what the risks, benefits, pro's and cons are. She can make her own decision. If someone comes to you asking for advice? That is an apropriate time to lay out your case for natural birth. In this case, no, it is not.

nclos... nclostwoman

I like to know all the details about everything. So let me tell you what everyone who has had an epidural but never tells anyone. Once you get it you are not allowed to get out of bed at all. You are given a catheter. After the birth they monitor you urine output. And if you are really lucky, like me, the catheter will give you a kidney infection.

pezch... pezcharlotte

Thank you for your opinion Blue_Spiral but that is just not true about the automatic going to the hospital you will get an epidural.  I had an epidural and I am glad I did (I also ended up needing a c-section at the last minute). It was the right decision for me. (and that is the point). Also to be honest with you, I was actually kinda happy about having the catheter and not having to deal with gettin gup.

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