11 Things Moms Who've Had an Unmedicated Childbirth Want You to Know

Yes, we KNOW it will hurt.

11 Things Moms Who've Had an Unmedicated Childbirth Want You to Know

By Kate Spencer, Woman's Day

When you're a mom who's given (or planning to give) unmedicated childbirth, there are more than a few skeptics and misconceptions you have to deal with. These are the things that moms who say "no" to Epidurals wish everyone knew:


Stop calling it "natural" childbirth.

The correct term is "unmedicated birth." 'Cause remember — all birth is natural, unless you're a man giving birth to 2,000 babies at once, in which case you're a sea horse and should get that checked out.


It's a personal choice.

Here's my story: I wanted to have an unmedicated childbirth because my mom had been a huge advocate of hers, and she died before my kids were born. Attempting it myself became kind of a tribute to her. (Yes, I'm in therapy, thank you very much.) But my reason was also medical — my first daughter became breech while in labor, and I had to have an emergency C-section and received my pain med as a spinal on the operating table because I had not opted for an epidural during labor. It resulted in a crippling spinal headache, which lasted for a week and took something called a blood patch to fix. (Go ahead, Google it, I'll wait.)

There was no way I wanted to go through that again, so with my second kid, I attempted a vaginal birth, and I once again went the epidural-less route. And the odd thing about my second labor is that it felt totally different from my first, with slower, more manageable contractions. In fact, I felt pretty good until my doctor broke my water to speed things along and the baby came rocketing out of me. That's when I started screaming for the epidural, but by that point, it was too late. (Hello, I'm the woman who got through pushing her baby out by screaming expletives so loudly that nurses down the hall came to watch me deliver. Nice to meet you!)


It's not really particularly helpful when you get all pushy about why we should get an epidural.

Some women have legitimate fears of hospitals or needles. Others want the most minimal amount of interventions possible. Others give birth at home or in a birthing center where it's not even an option. And then there are the women who go through labor so quickly they don't even have time to ask. And then some just don't want to. And really, do we have to give you a reason to begin with?


You can stop with the "you must be a masochist" thing.

I'm sure this is shocking, but you're not the first person to say that. We've all heard that one before. Like, all the time. Seriously, stop. Right now. I'm not a sadist either, but I will smack you if you say this one more time and I will enjoy it.


We're not all "hippies."

Not that there's anything wrong with that (because I kind of am!). But women who opt for unmedicated births aren't all giving birth alone down by a river as a sage gently plays flute nearby. And even if we are, we have good reasons! Rivers are really pretty. But the bulk of us are just people who, for whatever reason, are interested in attempting birth without pain meds. Namaste.


If you're planning on having one, at least consider a doula.

Here's the one thing that sucks about doulas: They cost major money, making them not accessible for all women. But many doulas work on a sliding price scale, and some doulas offer their services at lower cost — especially doulas in training. And it's worth looking into if you're considering unmedicated birth, because a doula will have your back during childbirth — literally. (My doula actually held a heated, lavender rice pillow on my back as I walked the halls of my hospital laboring for hours.) Doulas help manage the physical pain of labor, focus your breath and energy during contractions and pushing, and advocate for you with nurses and doctors. Also, did I mention some of them bring lavender rice pillows with them?


Also speak up for yourself.

There's a lot of fuss made about having a birth plan, which can honestly be kind of pointless because nothing ever goes according to plan when it comes to a baby exiting your body. (Show a newborn baby your birth plan, and it will tap its lil baby fingers against its chin and laugh like a cartoon villain.) But it does help to write down your wants for your labor (and all the scenarios that could arise), while remaining open to the fact that things can change in an instant. If you're set on having an unmedicated birth, make sure everyone present (partner, doctor, family, pizza guy) knows the deal.


Yep, we know it hurts without an epidural.

Tell people you're planning on having an unmedicated birth, and this is the first thing they like to tell you, as if you haven't, you know, thought about it before.

"Wait, what'd you say? Childbirth hurts? I've never even thought about that before. Why, this changes everything!"


And boy, it does hurt like hell.

Women always want to know what it feels like to give birth without pain meds, and the answer is this: like the hellish nightmare you imagine, multiplied by the pain of every medieval torture device combined. It's as if someone with an ax is trying to split your body open from the inside while the actual hot, burning sun exits your vaginal canal, and at the same time, a billion woodpeckers tap holes into your back with their beaks. And that's a nice way of putting it. But…


You'll feel like a rockstar afterward.

There is no sweeter relief than that of a baby finally exiting your body. It's like opening an acceptance letter from your favorite college, walking down the aisle at your wedding, landing your dream job, finding $20 inside of a coat pocket, meeting Beyoncé, and finishing a marathon at the same time. The next day, you'll be sore as hell, but those hours after you give birth, as oxytocin and adrenaline pump through your body, are some of the sweetest of your life. And really, every woman who gives birth feels like way. There is nothing easy about giving birth, no matter how you choose to do it.


It's not about being a martyr or having a "perfect" birth.

For some reason, childbirth is often spoken about as if one way of doing it is better than others, when really, it's about women making choices about what's best for them, their bodies, and their babies. When it comes to your labor, do what you want! Because once that baby gets here, you're probably never gonna get to do what you and only you want again. Sigh.
11 Things Moms Who've Had an Unmedicated Childbirth Want You to Know



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U.S. Daily News: 11 Things Moms Who've Had an Unmedicated Childbirth Want You to Know
11 Things Moms Who've Had an Unmedicated Childbirth Want You to Know
U.S. Daily News
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