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