In my 20s, I assumed when I had kids I would take the drugs and be done with it. Only hippies gave birth without them, right?
Apparently I’m a hippie.
I did my research and decided that I was going to go for a natural unmedicated childbirth (NUCB). Some of the responses I received were amazing…. amazingly bad. I am not at all attacking the people who choose to go with an epidural (or a home birth, or a birthing center) or something different. I just decided that it wasn’t for me. But it’s astounding what people would say and how crazy they thought I was.
“I had a friend who was going to do that… she couldn’t handle it and caved.”
“Most first times moms say that, but they never actually do it!”
Really? Why is it any of your business?
I was incredibly encouraging for people to tell me their labor stories – I actively sought them out. I understood that it was going to hurt, so telling me that was useless. Everyone’s story is different and I was looking for the worst case scenarios. As long as I knew what the horrible possibilities were, I could be prepared. The most valuable story I heard taught me something unexpected.
This person’s labor was long and hard, but she was rewarded with a healthy baby boy. The aftermath of the birth though was incredibly scary, and could’ve lead to some serious complications. She acknowledged that if hindsight was 20/20, she would’ve opted for a c-section, which I imagine is hard for anyone who planned a NUCB to admit.
After listening to her, what I learned is that I need to let go. Which is easier said than done. I can be hugely stubborn sometimes, much like this other person apparently. If I plan something, I get annoyed when things don’t go my way. And part of the reason that I wanted an unmedicated birth is because I didn’t want to relinquish that control, but sometimes you just have to. I learned that I needed to be prepared to veer off of my set course if it was in the interest of my and my baby’s health. Don’t be a hero. Everyone has their breaking point, and I needed to be able to see it if I ever arrived there.