My sister recently had a handsome, probably smart, and incredible baby boy. Since there are two of us with babes in the family, we got to discussing our babies’ birth stories, how they were similar and different, and how things didn’t go exactly as we had planned.
She and I are very different. She’s an Aquathon champion, I’m a The Office trivia champion. She read all of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, we watched the videos on the app. She’s a loving, caring mom, and I’m a horrible mom. Needless to say, we wanted different things for our babies’ births. So, as I talked to her, I found myself giving excuses for getting an epidural.
“Well,” I said, “It’s not that I couldn’t handle the contractions…”
Immediately, my sister responded, “You don’t need to explain why you did what you did. No woman should ever have to give reasons as to why they did or didn’t get an epidural or why their labor was the way it was. If you want an epidural, get the epidural, if you don’t, then don’t. Don’t defend your labor choices to anyone.”
If my sister had the same mouth as I did, I stick a “damn” in there somewhere.
She’s exactly right. Why do we feel the need to defend our choices in the birthing room? Half the time, they aren’t our choices anyway. Shit happens and we do the best we can.
My labor was tough. 50 hours led to a c-section. I was on Pitocin, Magnesium, whatever is in the Epidural, and probably like 1500 other things. And I did it. I gave birth (well, she was removed from me).
To those mothers like mine who had all of their children (six for my mom; #catholic) without an epidural, you’re a rockstar. To those mothers who got the epidural, you’re a rockstar. To those women who had to get a c-section, you’re a beast. To those who chose to get a c-section, you’re a beast.
I’ll be honest. When I planned my birth, I wanted it without an epidural. When I told my friends, one said, “Oh my God. Why? You’ll change your mind.” At that moment, I wanted to avoid the epidural out of spite.
When I was in the birthing room, it was completely different. My circumstances led me to make the best decision for me, but my decision does not mean that’s for every woman.
The thing is, I had to defend myself when I didn’t want the epidural. Now that I’ve had it, I feel like I have to explain why I got it. I am so tired of feeling like I need to defend or feel lesser than because of my choices. Stop judging other moms for their births.
Make your experience yours the most that you can. So much of the time, parts of our labors are out of our control. Make the parts of your labor that are in your control yours.
Make the decisions you can and don’t you dare feel guilty about it.
Happy laboring, mamas. I’m so proud of you.