Disclaimer: This is NOT a natural versus epidural post in the sense that one is better than the other. While I do speak of natural labor, I am promoting the ability for us all to have a birth plan and a voice no matter what our pain relief options are.
P.S. I hate giving disclaimers...
The question is easy. What do you want your baby's birth to be like?
Painless. Quiet. Tranquil. Relaxing. Easy. Social. Celebration.
These are just some of the words that can describe the birth you want. Luckily in today's culture we can pretty much dictate what type of birth we want for our baby. And while our birth "plan" unfortunately doesn't always work out, it's nice to have options and the ability to have a voice.
Modern science provides us with many options, one being what often seems to be the most popular option: the ever convenient epidural. It's convenient and it's nice that you can sit there and not feel a thing; not really break a sweat; and still talk with your visitors right up until that moment where you push with all your might.
If you know me, you know I am a natural birth advocate. But don't worry, I know that some people just don't want that experience and that's completely their call. It's your birth. It's your right to say how you want things to be.
My hope for every expecting mother is that they plan for the birth that they want and at least consider all of the options available.
Gone are the days where a natural birth is considered "normal." The trend seems to be that epidurals are looked at as the "norm" and natural is looked at as "oh my gosh girl, I can't believe you're going to do that." Truthfully though isn't a natural birth "normal?" Isn't it the most normal process for a woman's body to go through (along with breastfeeding, cycles and menopause)? Isn't our womanly bodies designed to do this "normal" thing? Sometimes in the advances of modern science we seem to forget just how normal it truly is.
The trend of epidurals, other pain relief options and inductions can make our culture feel like labor isn't quite so natural and normal. Going natural starts to becomes a "thing" that if you did it you're pretty much a bada@$. I won't lie - after having a natural labor that's exactly how I felt. But really, why should I feel that way when decades and decades ago women delivered naturally on kitchen tables with the whole village cheering them on? At that time, it was completely normal.
Our society sometimes forgets to even consider the options. We as women sometimes cringe at the thought of pain (and that's totally okay) and we just settle on the "normal," the ever convenient epidural (and that's okay too). However, do we all really sit down and think about what we really want our baby's birth to be like? Pain relief or not, do we really all plan and voice our plan to our doctors, doulas, spouses, etc...?
Do we all really decide on those words that we want to describe our birth? Do we hope for a tranquil birth with some pain or a painless birth with more ability to socialize through the labor? Do we even weigh our options and consider all of the "what ifs?" Do we do just a little bit of research to see just what our pain relief options really are? Does everyone even know that there are more pain relief options that just an epidural?
My challenge to every expecting mama is to really decide what they want their labor to be like. Don't just settle on the "normal" and leave it all up to your doctor without planning what you truly want. Challenge yourself as a woman to be a voice for yourself and for your baby no matter what your birth plan is.
Every birth deserves to be a beautiful, special experience. Every woman deserves the right to experience labor on her own versus inducing (unless medically necessary); every woman deserves to feel like she had the birth she wanted. Every woman deserves to have those special words to describe her birth.
And yes, I will say that I hope you give thought to what was once the only normal way to give birth because it is truly an empowering experience with many benefits. Our bodies are mastered and designed specifically to give birth to a baby no matter how big they are or how little you are. But if it isn't for you, then it just isn't for you and that's okay.
In the end, all that matters is a safe delivery of a beautiful baby and a birth that hopefully matched mommy's plans. The key lies in deciding and even being stern about "what you want your birth to be like" but also in finding peace and acceptance with how it turned out.
Did your birth go as planned?