First off, I want to tell you all that you don’t have to agree with me on everything I write here. My goal is not that everyone believe exactly as I do. It’s to open women’s eyes to something new or to help women in their quest for something different from the standard or just to help someone out who isn’t finding answers elsewhere. If you’ve been around over the last month you know that I don’t just talk about birth here. We’ve talked about cloth-diapers and breastfeeding and natural family planning and parenting. (We’re going to talk about babywearing in the near future and there just may be an AWESOME giveaway coming up related to that subject!) So I hope you decide to stick around and be a part of a community of women who want to make informed choices for themselves and their families.
Now that I have that off my chest – I was one. One of the women who never gave a second thought to not getting an epidural. Seriously, why would anyone willingly choose to go through all that HORRIBLE pain by choice? If you need to have a tooth filled, you get a shot to numb you up first. You do the same when you have a baby. I honestly didn’t think that anybody ‘went natural’ anymore. WHY would you when you have access to an epidural?!
I told you I wasn’t scared off by the risks of an epidural or the risks of all the other interventions I mentioned yesterday. The information made me more cautious, and I’m glad I know when these interventions are truly necessary. It was the birth stories in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth that convinced me a natural birth was for me.
I had never heard women talk about their birth experiences like this. They weren’t scared of birth. They embraced it. They even embraced the pain. The birth stories resounded with empowerment, not fear. I continued to read Martha Sears’ birth stories in The Birth Book. Her later birth experiences sounded similar. I was shocked. Every image I’d EVER seen of birth was of a woman writhing in pain and often yelling and screaming.
I wanted the experience I had read about, not the ones I had seen on TV or in movies. I am in no way saying that I thought I’d have a pain-free experience. I just knew I wanted to feel everything. I wanted to feel my body working miraculously to deliver my baby. I wanted to rely completely on my Creator, the one who designed my body to give birth, to see me through the experience. I began to think that maybe there’s value in the pain of childbirth. Maybe there’s a reason. Maybe there’s a purpose. That it’s not something I need to mess with.
I’m not alone, and neither are you if you’ve had similar thoughts. Over and over I’ve heard women who chose natural unmedicated birth say that they chose it because they believed pain medication just wasn’t necessary. They weren’t afraid of the pain medication, they just didn’t see a genuine need for it.
In the last few days I have read over and over how women are scared of birth. They say they have a low tolerance for pain. They say they’re not brave enough. They don’t have the coping mechanism. They think the experience will be more enjoyable if they can’t feel the pain.
No one ever died from the pain of childbirth.
It has nothing to do with being brave or ‘toughing it out’ or proving anything to anyone (besides yourself). ANYONE can do it. Women have done this for thousands of years. If it was that hard then we wouldn’t have a human race. No one ever died from the pain of childbirth. It’s hard, but it’s DOABLE! Completely.
I wish I could scream it from the mountaintops that birth is absolutely not something to be feared. (Instead, I’ll just type away in my little blog world and hope the message reaches at least one other woman.) Let’s talk more tomorrow about how women can have an enjoyable birth experience, even without pain medication.
I’m not promising a perfect, blissful experience. I’ve said it before, we live in a broken world. Our bodies were designed to give birth but it’s not always that simple. Things do go wrong in birth. It’s not the norm, but I don’t want you to be surprised if you end up with a traumatic birth experience, despite your preparedness for a natural unmedicated birth. I linked to an article on the La Leche League website a couple of days ago. If you’ve had a traumatic birth experience, even without drugs, this article may help you.