It is always distressing to hear a mom lower her voice into a hushed tone, hunch her shoulders forward, and practically whisper, “I had an epidural.” Her body language tells me the inner conflict inside and the fear of judgment others may have.
Newsflash: Not all women can, will, or want to give birth without pain medication!
There are so many factors that contribute to our choices and none of us should be made to feel there is a one size fits all answer. A woman may experience:
- Induction with contraction producing medication
- Long labor (Especially once you pass a 24 hour mark and have had no food or sustenance)
- History of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse and/or PTSD
- Fear of childbirth (This is a real issue and not to be construed as silly or weak!)
- Low pain tolerance (Again, this does not make someone weak. We are all different)
- Lack of support
- Underlying medical conditions, pregnancy related or not
Those are just some of the reasons a woman may choose an epidural or other types of pain medication. No matter the reason, please be proud of your birth. You brought forth another human and went through a life changing experience.
Understand I am not encouraging women to forego the option of natural childbirth or educating herself about all of her options. For many women natural childbirth bring a huge reward and sense of accomplishment. I wholeheartedly believe that given the right support and circumstances that the majority of women can give birth naturally. I do not believe that just because someone can give birth naturally that they must/should/have to give birth naturally. If you are undecided as to whether going naturally is an option for you or you have some of the situations listed above, talk to some doulas and natural childbirth educators in your area. Take a class. Read evidenced based articles. Gather information. Address your fears and the what-ifs. Understand the risks and benefits of an epidural as any choice in childbirth.
If you have already given birth with an epidural, don’t be ashamed of that choice. Perhaps you made the best choice with the information you had available at the time. Perhaps you were not in a position to even consider a natural childbirth. None of that should matter in your sense of feeling accomplished at bringing your child into the world. You rock, too!
All Rights Reserved, Kimberly Sebeck, Knoxville Doula, 2014