Not the most flattering picture I forgot how swollen my face and arms got, yikes! but a very sweet and tender moment captured. It was taken in a dark room, in the middle of a contraction. Holding onto Trevor like this was one of the only things that made me feel better and got me through contractions. He was an amazing support, even if he thought I was crazy for wanting to forgo an epidural, haha!
Just by getting pregnant I quickly learned about the world of "Mommy Wars." I had obviously heard about it, seen it, but had never really been an active participate in the world of motherhood, so it didn't really matter to me. What are Mommy Wars? Basically it is the "Us vs. Them" mentality in regards to parenting. You know, stay at home moms vs. working moms. Breastfeeding mothers vs. formula feeding mothers. Cloth diapering mothers vs. disposable diapering mothers. Homeschooling moms vs. traditional school moms. You get the idea?
You might be wondering why I feel the need to share why I wanted an unmedicated childbirth. To put it simply, I am writing this blog post to help give perspective on the choice and help anyone interested in it to learn that it is not an archaic, or irrational goal, which unfortunately seems to be the perception these days. People have seemed to forgot that birthing is a natural experience that, in most cases, does not need medical intervention.
From the responses above you can tell that having an unmediated childbirth is more of an unpopular choice today. In fact I was told that out of all the natural births, only 1% of those are planned. So being in the minority here, I was more often than not made to feel crazy or stupid for wanting an unmedicated child birth. Simply because someone didn't understand my choice, they assumed I was dumb or naïve about it. I have heard it all, even people saying things like, "You wouldn't have a limb amputated with no pain relief, so why have a child that way?" No, I would absolutely NOT get my arm amputated without pain relief. Do you know why? Because there is absolutely no benefit to it. There is NO benefit except feeling pain if I am getting my arm cut off. Add the fact that I don't think the pain felt during child birth is anything close to the pain of getting your arm cut off!
What seems to be missing here is some education on childbirth in general. This may come as a surprise to some people, but there are some major benefits to having an unmedicated childbirth! After having reviewed all my options in regards to how to birth my baby, I chose the one that made the most sense to me. I want to help anyone interested in learning more about this option, and to emphasize that you have options! You should know what your choices are and what they may mean for you.
Before I get into why this was the choice for me, and could be for you, I want to preface with a few things. You know, since this is a hot topic for people. You may have noticed I choose to use the word, "unmedicated" to talk about the type of birth I had. Another phrase commonly used is a "natural" childbirth. I don't think if you had an epidural, or had to have a surgical birth, that your birth was somehow less natural than mine. A woman having a baby, is totally natural, period. I chose the word unmedicated because that is exactly what it was, me having a baby without medication. I also want to say that having an unmedicated childbirth doesn't make you some kind of super woman, or better than anyone else. In fact, you, yes YOU, could do it to if you really wanted to. (Obviously said with the idea that we all agree I am talking about a normal, healthy pregnancy and labor. It is the internet people, apparently we have to cover all the bases or like mentioned above, people get offended). It kills me when I hear women say that someone is "better" or "amazing" because they had an unmedicated child birth and that they could "never" do it. The reality is not too long ago us women didn't even have another choice or option, every woman had unmediated childbirths. So yes, you could have one too. You are STRONGER than you give yourself credit for.
A woman's body (generally speaking) is built to carry and deliver babies. While I agree that it is such an empowering experience, and you will feel like superwoman after doing it, I think we need to stop glorifying it as something that is difficult to achieve or as some far reaching unattainable goal. This message feeds into the fears of child birth that so many women grow up with. Which is why I am sharing my reasons for having an unmedicated birth.
So why did I want an unmedicated child birth?
Obviously having an unmedicated child birth isn't going to completely exempt you from the possibility of these issues, but it will decrease the risk, as well as hopefully make any tears or pelvic issues that occur more minor. Besides the immediate recovery benefit, there are some long terms complications that can come from having an epidural that you can avoid, back pain, epidural headaches, nerve damage, and obviously VERY rarely but should be noted has been known to cause respiratory distress, epidural abscess, paralysis and death.
For those who are interested I was thinking of putting together my tips for a "natural" unmedicated childbirth! Anyone interested in that?
I had such a positive response to this post, thank you guys so much! I had several suggestions to do a scope on this topic, so I sat down and did one this morning! If you didn't catch it, here is the replay for you!