Why I Had an Unmedicated Birth
When I was pregnant, some friends were having natural, unmedicated deliveries and I felt the need to follow suit. So after much research and soul searching, I too wrote out a plan for a natural birth.
Motivated by fear
Honestly, I think fear was a primary factor in choosing to go unmedicated.
I watched Ricki Lake’s documentary, The Business of Being Born, and consulted books by Ina May Gaskin. Statistics about how hospitals overuse C-sections were making me fearful to have an epidural. I was nervous of the potential hazards because I heard stories of babies who were limp and lethargic as a result of the medication.
Motivated by pride
There was also a little bit of pride involved too; I wanted to have an unmedicated birth and be able to tell my story. If others were doing it, I could do it too. I’m slightly competitive and I didn’t want to be left out.
When my doctor was impressed and confessed he didn’t think I was going to make it without pain medicine, I was proud of what I accomplished.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with feeling good about the strength of my body to give birth without pain medication, but feeling superior about it is where things can get ugly. I see that my motivations weren’t entirely healthy, and the farther removed from the event, the greater perspective I have.
Make the Best Decision for You
Like many things in life, it’s difficult to make some decisions, but at some point we have to gather as much information as we can, try to wisely apply it, and then move forward with confidence.
When my pregnant friends ask about my story, this is what I tell them:
- Don’t be guided by fear, pride or pressure from others. Know your options, know yourself, and make the decision that both you and your husband are comfortable with.
- If you decide to go the unmedicated route –
- Look into a Bradley Method class. I didn’t take the class, but borrowed a friend’s book and followed the practices. The class was expensive, but in retrospect, it would have been worth it.
- Look into hiring a Doula. My husband was a wonderful support and was by my side the entire time. At the time, I didn’t want another person in the room with us, but if I were to give birth unmedicated again, I would want a Doula. Among other things, they are experienced in many different techniques that can offer relief.
- Be ready for interventions if they are necessary and don’t equate the need for interventions with failure. Eventually, you have to trust your doctor to do what they believe is best for you and for your baby.
- Either way, you are giving birth to a precious life. Learn and grow from the experience and encourage others in their journey. Childbirth is a wonderful and unique gift given to women. Embrace it and don’t be afraid of it.
Frankly, I haven’t thought about my delivery that much in the years since. The delivery itself doesn’t resonate in my life as a high point; the life of my daughter takes precedence over the means by which she arrived.
Any pride that I may have had has been rightly given to God who created my body to grow, nourish, and birth a child. He gave me the strength to push her out and He continually gives me the strength to make choices that teach her of His love.
It’s amazing how some things that feel so important at the time don’t carry the same weight with a little distance; something good to remember with all my decisions now!
What is/was your major motivating factor with the birth of your child?
Annie is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay at home mom who loves God, her family, and her morning cup of coffee. She enjoys hiking in the mountains, traveling to see new places, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.