We are already so hard on women, and women are so hard on themselves. We shouldn’t set them up to feel like any birth that ends in a healthy child is a failure.
When I got pregnant for the third time, I was determined to have an unmedicated VBAC. I had big plans. This VBAC was going to be my birth experience salvation. It was going to be empowering and amazing and heal all my hangups. I was going to be a mama goddess and everything was going to be perfect. I was wrong.
The epidural had turned the birth from an excruciating experience into a beautiful one. Image: Thinkstock.
It felt like I was being knifed in the stomach. My husband suggested a shower. I grabbed him, looked him in the eye and said, “I know you’re trying to be supportive. But if you really want to support me, GET ME AN EPIDURAL NOW.”
The last thing we need is one more thing to feel inadequate about, one more thing to feel like we’re doing “wrong” when it comes to having a baby. Image: Thinkstock.
While people asking about our plan likely have good intentions, the conversation opens you up to so much judgment about how you’re planning to give birth.... Birth plans are personal, between parents and their care provider. We all make choices for our families that we feel are best, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters.
We compare birth stories like war stories. Twelve hours of labor, 32 hours of labor, three hours of pushing, we fall into the trap of trying to one-up each other. So yes, I can see why, to a parent-to-be who is enthusiastically anticipating pain relief, the refusal of an epidural might seem like a bit of a hero complex. And maybe for some people it is! But it’s none of your goddamn business.