The busy life of a full time employee, student, mom and wife

Friday, June 8, 2012

Battle of the births

I had a much more fun, crafty and organizational post written for today but it can sit in drafts for a little bit longer because I'm irritated. This is probably brought on from the fact that I know about 15 pregnant women right now so I've seen this conversation quite a few times lately.

I'm so sick of mothers who chose to birth in a hospital, using an epidural, being criticized and demeaned for their decisions.

The biggest, biggest frustration is when someone says they're a "real woman" for giving birth naturally. Last time I checked the epidural didn't remove my vagina, boobs, or any reproductive organs. I believe I'm still just as much of a woman as you are. Is a man any less of a man because he takes tylenol for a headache? No. Is a man any less of a man for taking vicodin after a surgery or a bad accident? No. So why am I less of a woman for taking pain medication during one of the most painful experiences on earth? Just because you chose/are choosing not to?

Just because I chose to go to a hospital and chose to use an epidural does not mean that my birth experience was somehow less meaningful, powerful, or special than yours was. I labored for 6 hours unmedicated (out of a 8 hour total labor) with Anthony and I was completely, utterly miserable. Then, I made everyone around me miserable. I was scared, pissed, and stressed about how much pain I was in. I was snapping at everyone, all my loved ones who came to support me, yelling at them to shut the hell up so I could focus on trying to manage the pain. Does that sound beautiful and peaceful? No, it was fucking awful. And Anthony was reflecting my stress. After I finally got the epidural I was calm and at ease. I was able to carry on conversations and allow the people there for me to do what they had come for, to support me and assure me that everything was going to be fine. And Anthony reflected my peace. He was born vaginally when I was ready for him, I was never pressured to rush my birth or deviate from my birth plan. The hospital listened to my wishes and always responded. Now please tell me what is so bad about that?

With Noah it was even better. I went in knowing what to expect and got the epidural around 5cm because I knew what was coming. I never got to the point of being miserable and making everyone around me miserable. My entire process of birth with Noah was completely peaceful. I was laughing and joking, having a down right good time during my labor. What about being happy and laughing during labor is bad for the baby?

In neither birth was I "out of it" from my epidural and unable to respond to, bond with or hold my babies. I was very aware of what was going on and felt just as much love and joy when I met my boys for the first time as anyone else. And my both of my boys were born responsive and not "drugged out."

People who criticize medicated hospital births always site these horror stories. Saying how your baby will be drugged out when he/she is born and you will be unresponsive because you will also be so drugged out that you wont be able to tell whats going on and your baby wont bond with you and you wont be able to breastfeed. Such sensationalism. Lets just take the absolute worst case scenario, something that happens to 1 in 1,000,000 women (not a real stat) and say it happens to everyone. Lets scare people into making the decisions that WE think are right.

So please, think before you judge. 


  1. I completely agree. I have tremendous respect for women who are able to do it naturally but it isn't for everyone. And the beauty of giving birth is that it's your own. I think that that documentary The Business of Being Born although very interesting and true in some cases is scaring women out of taking an epidural and labeling those who choose medication as not doing what best for baby. I had an epidural and I was completely able to bond with my child. My emotions were overdrive so im sure I had an ample supply of oxytocin! You go, Shannon!

  2. Speak it Shann! Not all women are the same. That goes for births even more. If that baby grew and matured in your body and you gave birth to it whether it was natural, c-section or in a tree. YOU'RE ALL WOMAN!

    I can't stand people thinking one woman can speak for all women and knows what's right and wrong for every one of us.

  3. let me add an epi birth in there as well, you're still all woman!

    Coming from a girl who has done both epidural and natural (belive me I wanted the epi) I was proud of myself the same after both births, my girls were both in sound mind and healthy after both (no drugged out baby from the epi) and they both are healthy and doing just fine. Women are able to make their own decisions, have their own rights and should NOT be judged or looked down on for making those rights.

    The same goes for parenting. Every parent knows what's best for their own kids. There is no room for anyone to judge how you parent (unless is abusive etc). We all do what's best for our kiddos.

    Ok, I think I'm done. =P