Post # 1
I just had this realization: Natural childbirth is taboo
I realized this when reading a natural childbirth thread here in the bee. I had posted that I tried to keep it a secret from most people I wanted a natural birth, because all I heard from people who knew was that I couldn’t do it or how crazy I was.
I see the same thing whenever there’s a thread about natural birth, there’s usually someone that pops in and says something along the lines of “you know, there’s no trophy for doing it without the epi” (I’ve heard this IRL too). I don’t see much of people criticizing other women for wanting an epi, but natural birth mamas get criticized.
I find it sad that natural birth mamas aren’t really allowed to be proud of themselves.
I think ALL women should be proud of themselves for their delivery/babies, regardless of how they came out. Delivery any way you do it is quite a feat! Nobody should feel like they have to hide in a corner.
Post # 3
Women can be catty about certain things *sigh*
I am hoping to have a natural birth, but considering I have no idea what my situation will be like in a couple months, I’m not going to go nuts preparing now at 20 weeks because who knows, my baby may end up being breech or too big to fit through the birth canal and I don’t want to get disappointed if I had planned for natural and end up needing interventions.
I agree, though. We should be proud regardless! The only thing I don’t like is when women who go natural act high and mighty, or when women who get elective c-sections act like everyone else is crazy for not doing things their way – everyone’s body, pregnancy, labor, etc is different and IMO, we shouldn’t try and fit all women into the same cookie cutter shape. However it works out, we just created life! 🙂
Post # 4
I hear you.
I think perhaps some women feel judged, as though women who plan to have a natural birth are judging those who did not. As silly a comparison as it sounds, I used to get the exact same kind of reaction from a lot of people when I was vegetarian and it seemed the root of it all was that they were worried I would judge them for eating meat.
As far as I’m concerned, as long as you aren’t doing anything that has the serious potential to harm your baby, you are free to do whatever you please. We all need to make the decisions that are right for us personally and there’s no one size fits all answer.
I too avoid talking about hopes/plans for an unmedicated birth (I haven’t even commented on the recent WB thread about it) because I (a) don’t want to get into a debate about it, and (b) I’m afraid of the self-judgment that will take place if I put it out there quite publicly and then am unable to do it.
I wish women could be more respectful of one another’s decision and create a better culture of support that what currently exists.
Post # 5
Interestingly, I feel like I’ve experienced the opposite sort of pressure! Most of the women I know who went ‘natural’ were a lot more aggressive about the merits of their choice, whereas the people I know who got epidurals were almost apologetically explaining their choice. I’m choosing to go natural because I hate needles and don’t like the potential side-effects of an epi, but if anything I feel like the taboo is the epi. That may also have to do with the fact that I’m in the UK, though.
Post # 6
I hate this topic, as people feel they have the right to give you their opinion.
My Mom and Mother-In-Law are constantly reminding me how they both had 3 kids without drugs and how I should consider taking classes to work on breathing exercises. I then have coworkers (who are ALL MALES) telling me to just get the epi and don’t try and be tough. They go on and on about it. You know what, it’s none of your damn business, just like if I plan to breastfeed or not.
I’m so over hearing peoples opinions on it. My answer is “I’m going in with an open mind, I’ll see what I decide once I’m there”. It’s the truth, and I have no birth plan or anything. I’m going to “wing it”, just like I do everything else. Why? Because who knows what I will want to do and I don’t want to be pissed at myself for doing the opposite.
Post # 7
I don’t really understand why people care wether you want an epi or not. I think you SHOULD be proud of having your baby the way nature intended. It is HARD work (not that I would know) and most women do not do it, they get the epi. There are a lot of GOOD and healthy reasons for you and your baby not to get an epi. Natural childbirth and not getting an epidural has higher rates of vaginal birth vs c section, it allows you to move around to get in better positions, which benefits you and your comfort, and allows you to push better and know what’s going on etc… It’s not just about women wanting to be hero’s and badass’s who got through the pain naturally.
Post # 9
@abbyful: Agree! Its discouraging and frustrating when people pop onto the natural birth threads and say there’s no way they’d go natural, or that they chose an epidural and don’t regret it at all. That’s not what I want to hear, and its not helpful in the least. If someone chooses that, then fine. I just don’t see what merit the judgment holds. I have friends who have had babies unmedicated, via c-section, and medicated. I don’t judge them for their choices. I just know what’s right for me.
Post # 10
@snoie: me too.
I honestly hate when friends bring this topic up. I have 2 friends in particular who love to rhapsodize about the beauty & benefits of natural childbirth, when neither of them is pregnant or has ever given birth!!!! Hush up about it already until you’ve gone through it… and even then, don’t mention what you did until someone asks.
I’m going in with an open mind. I’d love to go “natural,” but if I end up wanting drugs, cool.
Post # 11
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
I am an epi supporter for myself but I understand the desire to go natural, especially after watching the Business of Being Born (free on Netflix!) The real problem is that pregnancy was treated as a disease in the U.S. and Western culture for the most part until recently. It has especially remained a women’s disease in the U.S. Women were forced to hide their pregnancy in big clothing even as recently as the 80s and then hidden away once they began to show their pregnancy. Many women (my mother included) were drugged out on Demoral and other narcotics during childbirth to prevent them from crying out during labor; childbirth was treated as a disease process instead of a natural progression. This shifted a bit in the 60s and 70s but has yet to catch up with modern medicine except through the use of epidurals which calms the laboring women.
The real problem is education, women in general are terrified of childbirth and an epidural on some level offers a less scary (or at less noisy) alternative. Although I prefer an epidural because I have seen a woman in labor and it terrified me, I still plan to learn natural childbirth. No matter how much I plan and rely on an epidural, I may not be able to have one and I think the terror associated with that coupled with being uneducated about natural childbirth causes even more pain during labor. Women should be fully educated on all of their options and no option should be elevated or denigrated over another based on an agenda that is not based on the best interests of the mother and baby.
Post # 12
I feel the same way. I hate it when I see the… “we don’t have to be martyrs!” comments. There are a variety of reasons we choose to go natural and unmedicated. I hate that it is like a fight to be able to have our needs respected. Do people not realize the reasons? It isn’t to hurt yourself. There are so many reasons, from being present and having an alert baby, to faster recovery, to reduced risk of complications because you can better be in touch with what your body is telling you. I don’t judge women for what they do or want to do in labor, but I do feel judged and discouraged for wanting to go natural unmedicated. I feel like every way I turn things are tipped against it. I will be in a hospital. Not like I am going camping in the woods.
Post # 13
because *motherhood judgement* starts in utero.
Look at it this way…. it prepares you for when you b’feed and the *other side* thinks you’ll go to hell and wreck your baby. Notice when you write b’feed….. you can’t tell if it’s breast or bottle…. which is how it SHOULD be. Who cares?
Or when you CIO or CO-sleep. Or spank or not-to-spank. home school vs public school vs private school.
It ALL begins with natural or epi.
Think of this as getting your wings. It’s the first of a gazillion judgements that are wreaked up on enmasse from the very people who *should* be your allies.
Post # 14
I find this post really interesting, because my experience IRL (I haven’t yet read the natural birth thread here on the bee) has been the opposite: women who go natural getting uppity or looking down their noses at women who want epidurals/other pain management as being weaker or wimpier for taking the “easy way out”.
And I say that as someone who is planning for a natural, unmedicated birth but at the same time, trying not to get too attached to the idea because if complications develop or I just can’t handle the pain I don’t want to look back negatively on my birth experience because it didn’t go according to plan.
Post # 15
This might be irrelevant, but I don’t understand how a woman will agonize over imbibing 7oz of root beer that might be caffeinated, but have no qualms about all kinds of interventions, drugs, or surgeries for the birth of their child.
Post # 16
In my experiences, I’ve found that many women who have had (or are planning to) have a natural birth tend to bring it up often, as though to imply that they’re better than others for choosing to do so. The reaction from others, ie “there’s no trophy for doing it without the epi” might me an attempt to shut down the conversation. It’s like having the 1 person in a group setting who always talks about themselves, their own acomplishments, etc. – it gets tiring, and no one really cares that much.
In no way am I saying that’s why you, specifically, received the reactions you did, OP. Kudos to you for making the best choice for you, and congrats on your new little bundle.