Excerpts from New York Times article 'Get the Epidural' by Jessi Klein
No one ever asks a man if he’s having a “natural root canal.” No one ever asks if a man is having a “natural vasectomy.”
“What are you trying to win?” What was I trying to win? I thought about it and realized — nothing. There’s nothing to win.
“There is science showing all the risks of an epidural!” Well, again, I am not a doctor, but I do have the internet.
There are so many debates in this life in which there is some evidence of one thing and also some evidence of the other. At such a point, you just have to decide to believe in and do what is best for you. So here’s a radical idea: Why not do the thing that makes you happy?
There is so much pressure on women around birth and labor and mothering to do it this way or that way. It’s so easy to believe the notion that having a baby demands complete and total self-abnegation, and anything short of that is not enough.
If you’re worried that skipping the pain of childbirth means you’re somehow cheating your baby, or yourself, you’re not. Because the truth is, life offers more than enough pain that you will not be able to skip.
Yup, give me the epidural! There has never been any question in my mind, if I am ever giving birth I will be getting the epidural and any other pain killers/drugs they can throw my way. I like modern medicine - I like making pain go away.
I have heard the positives from the other side, friends and acquaintances that wanted/tried/had a drug-less birth or some variation. For the most part their reasons made sense. Rarely are these people conspiracy-theory hippies, or self-flagellating mommy-martyrs, though sometimes. For the vast majority they made (or tired/planned to make) a personal choice based on what was important to them.
What is great from all my conversations on the topic is that this seems to be very much a personal choice and an understanding that there are reasons to make the decision either way. Some pregnancy or parenting subjects have strong reactions, judgement, and opinions about right/wrong, unlike what the article suggests, I don't get the feeling that the choice to get an epidural is one of those.
Those who have been through it: Please share in the comments if leading up to birth, during, or afterwards friends, family or event strangers were sharing strong hurtful opinions about your choice to have or decline an epidural?
I am inclined to say, and have said, to someone planning on forgoing an epidural, "Are you crazy? What about the pain? I would totally get all the drugs!" Which I hope isn't viewed as hurtful, it is the same response I would give someone who is suffering through a headache and not taking an Advil. It is an expression of awe at someone else' pain tolerance and not a judgement about the choice they are making for their body.
In my experience, the most common reason against getting an epidural has been the ability to walk afterwards instead of waiting until the drugs wear off, and with that a faster departure from the hospital. Personally I love hospitals so that reason doesn't apply to me. Also I just absolutely hate pain, I used to take Tylenao 3s (from my high-school wisdom teeth removal) to get my legs waxed. Hit me up with the drugs! But you do you.