I love a good birth story. In fact, I’m obsessed with my own. Ask me about any of my births and you better have some time to listen. They were amazing, mostly.
There is so much emotion in birthing a child. We plan for it to go one way and it often goes another. It can be extremely cathartic if it goes right. And highly traumatic if it goes wrong. To the point that there is a workshop for women to process their birth stories.
I’ve had three babies all with unique birth stories. My last happened to come without an epidural. And when I tell people this, the response is as if I’m somehow better than the mom that got an epidural or had a c-section.
“Wow, that’s amazing. Did it hurt?”
Yes, it hurt. It felt like every bone in my body was breaking at the same time. In fact, the pain was so intense I basically disconnected from my body. And there was vomit. No poop, but vomit.
We love judging moms and this is just one more way we do it. We’ve somehow forgotten that not everyone has the exact same birth experience. I’ve seen women pop out a baby in a few hours and shrug when asked if it hurt. How? I don’t know. Clearly, my huge hips aren’t doing their job.
Likewise, we’ve somehow made it a societal norm for moms to feel like they have to justify why they got an epidural.
Cue any birth story involving an epidural and it involves an apologizing explanation:
“I was in labor for 47 hours and couldn’t take it anymore.”
“My labor stalled and they said the epidural might help me relax and get it going again.”
You don’t have to justify it. How about you got an epidural because it turns out childbirth is way more painful than we can imagine? Why is that not enough?
Most of us plan to try without an epidural. Why? I have no fucking idea.
Perhaps it’s because our moms did it. Yeah, my mom also got her cavities filled without any anesthesia and I wouldn’t voluntarily do that either. Or perhaps it’s because ‘woman have been pushing out babies for thousands of years without epidurals. We were made for it.’ We were also made to invent new technologies and use them.
You know what’s way better than an epidural free birth? A birth that you get to decide what’s best for you. And a doctor or midwife that supports you.
A brief aside that, yes, midwives will support your choice of getting an epidural. Seriously consider a midwife, I got to catch Noa. Betsy caught Atticus. I’m not really sure how Cal came out aside from quickly and painfully.
If you’re like me, and one of the many moms that had an epidural, the next time someone asks about it your response can be, “Hell yeah I got an epidural. I birthed a child and I’m a badass for it.”
Point being, if you get an epidural you sure as fuck shouldn’t have to apologize for it.