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I’ll start off by saying that this post is only for those interested in natural childbirth, if only but a smidgen.
So, you might be thinking of bagging the epidural eh? Good luck. Utah culture is going to eat. you. alive.
But I’m definitely still going to try to talk you out of getting one. Especially if your only reason for wanting one is fear. That probably covers at least 99% of us epidural dreamers right?
Epidurals have their place. But it shouldn’t include reasons like fear. Fear is a mental thing.
But BOY do I hate pain. I don’t know of anyone that “likes” pain… but I have a very low tolerance and do all I can to avoid it.
Why? Because childbirth isn’t painful. And now you think I’m absolutely crazy, but hear me out! It is NOT painful.
Intense? Yes. Absolutely yes.
But painful? No.
It’s time for a childbirth reformation in the United States! Especially in Utah where I’m from, where the epidural is definitely the cultural norm.
The rate of epidurals across the United States has increased 10% since 2008.
I don’t know. I’m no doctor. But I definitely don’t think women are getting less and less capable of having babies…
Besides my own experience, observations and what I’ve garnered from pro-natural literature, I’m completely boggled. But I think it may be a cultural thing…?
Stay with me.
We Utah moms (can’t speak for anywhere else) love scaring each other with our birth stories! And let’s be honest they’re so fun to listen to… (Someone get me some popcorn, this is going to be a nail biter!!)
There are definitely times and people who need medical intervention with childbirth (and boy I’m so grateful for that), but MOST people getting epidurals do not. We are just scared of the “pain!” #ammiright??
Those around us are getting them, so without even scratching the surface of natural birth, we get the epidural, no questions asked…. it seems.
In fact, can you even think of someone who gave birth naturally on purpose? Do you know their story? Probably not very well because every time they try to tell it, it’s swallowed up by the forte of doubt bellowing from those around them.
“Oh NO WAY could I do that…. Are you kidding me??? Did you just diiiiieeee?? Oh, you must have a high pain tolerance, I COULD NOT handle it.”
The attention is quickly pulled back to how painful everything “is” and there’s not even a chance to plant a seed of hope for natural birth. Which is really such a shame. I know because this very thing happened (again) to me last night.
My Hypnobirthing coach said it best: “We natural birthers tend to stick to ourselves. It’s hard to get positive vibes from people with negative beliefs. And in Utah, natural labor and delivery is surrounded by negativity.”
I’m a changed woman now, but I DEFINITELY used to be a Negative Nelly. I actually said to my husband with baby #1, “Uh babe… there is modern medicine for a reason! Duh!”
But here’s a bit of my story… see if it sounds at all familiar to you.
I had my first two children with an epidural. Why? Because whoooo in their right mind wouldn’t, right?? Everyone in my little sphere was getting one. I didn’t know of anyone who had given birth naturally at the time of my first baby… so why would I? (Turns out I had a few extended family members. Woo!)
There was NO medical reason for me to get an epidural. None. But I did. Twice.
My mom told me her labor and delivery stories and scared the soup out of me.
When my friends started having babies, they all had thrillers of pain and despair up until that “glorious” epidural came.
Everywhere I turned, people were sharing their birth stories, and they all had two things in common. Fear and pain. Lots of pain.
Why? Because everyone else was doing it!
It wasn’t until I had a frustrating experience recovering from my second epidural (where they actually stick the catheter in your back) that I decided to look into natural birth.
That’s where things got really cooky.
I started telling people that I might (very might at this point) want to go natural, and you know what they said? At no fault of their own…
“Are you serious?”
“You’re not going to make it.”
“You know there is modern medicine for a reason…”
“If you decide half way through that it’s too painful and you want the epidural, it might be too late so…”
“Oh! My sister tried to go natural and this terrible, HORRIBLE, EXCRUCIATING THING HAPPENED THAT SHE NEVER RECOVERED FROM THAT I CAN’T REALLY REMEMBER, BUT YOU SHOULDN’T DO IT BECAUSE NOW SHE LIVES IN A CAVE!!”
Uh… thanks for the support guys…
But then, FINALLY one person showed me support. My sister. BLESS HER!!!
I told her that I was thinking about it and she said:
“Do it. You can totally do it.”
And you know what? That tiny ounce of support from her catapulted me into one of the most beautiful and best moments of my life.
I had my third child natural and I would do it 1000X over than have an epidural again.
The HUGE problem is, as society, we’ve totally dismantled and vilified labor and delivery!
And in so doing, conditioned our minds for fear and pain. The movies show pain, our friends and family talk of pain… so it MUST be horrible and completely impossible to handle without medication.
BUT IT’S NOT TRUE!
Guys the mind is so powerful. It totally lives what you feed it. So feed it positivity and you’ll be shocked!!
I started early and worked hard to change my beliefs, surround myself with positive people and practice positivity about the miracle of birth and guess what! My whole experience not only changed… it was better than before!
And honey, yours can be too!
For me, I loved having an active role in getting my baby here. I loved feeling my body work. It’s insane how it just KNOWS WHAT TO DO!!!
I LOVED having my husband be totally involved this time (I mean totally…he ended up catching the baby), instead of just watching movies and waiting for time to tick on by…(although that was fun too… #harrypottermarathonforthewin).
For me, the challenge and satisfaction of doing something hard was so, SO rewarding.
In fact, one of the nurses said, “She went natural? I didn’t even hear her scream!” My delivery nurse said, “That’s because she didn’t. She rocked it!”
And you know what? It wasn’t painful! Hard? Yes. Intense? Yesssssss.
Of course, that’s easy for me to say on this end of things having done it… but what about you? Are you still doubtful? (It’s ok… I had two epidurals because of fear, remember? 🙂 )
I want to share that support that started with my sister. If you even have the SMALLEST speck of desire to have a natural birth…
YOU CAN DO IT!!!
Like, you literally CAN do it. You’re so strong. SO STRONG. I am completely convinced that anyone could do it if our fearful culture would just shhhh. Especially YOU! Because you already have that desire. The flame is there, now fan it my friend!
But, definitely educate yourself. Then prepare if that’s what you decide to do, and make the decision that is best for YOU. You are the only one giving birth to that baby. You. No one else.
And for heaven sake, don’t waltz into the hospital on a split second decision that you’re going natural. Birth is beautiful and we should do our best to keep it that way. But like it or not, you’ve been conditioned for it to be a horrible, painful experience, and that’s not something you can overcome on a whim.
Especially because Utah birth culture, and the social norm is against you.
Again, Months in advance I was visualizing an easy, pain-free birth. I was listening to positive affirmations from my Hypnobirthing program, as well as reciting these ones & some of these ones and creating my own based on my daily feelings and needs.
I read a TON of positive, natural birth material and surrounded myself with positive people.
But don’t just take my word for it… educate yourself! Education is where I started even before I had completely decided I wanted to go through with it.
Here are my top three game changers.
Hypnobirthing- Mongan Method | This is what I ultimately decided to commit to. You learn how to put yourself in hypnosis and breath through contractions. Crazy enough, I couldn’t ever reach self-hypnosis, not during practice sessions or on the big day. But I still had an incredible experience because of everything else it taught me. The breathing techniques taught are worth their weight in GOLD. Highly recommend this book (with or without an epidural.)
Birth with Confidence | This one is great to help you understand what you are up against in society if you want to birth naturally. It’s a battlefield. Hospital protocols are such that it’s really, really hard to birth completely natural. This book helps you navigate around those roadblocks. And boy are there roadblocks. Western medicine doesn’t really support natural birth. Why? Dunno. Tides are shifting, just not fast enough.
Childbirth Without Fear | If you’re a scaredy cat like I was about how “flipping bad it’s going to hurt” you should probably start here. My Hypnotherapy coach had excerpts from this book that really helped calm my fears over the pain of contractions and tearing. And I tore… and I didn’t feel a thing.
Husband Coached Childbirth | I actually haven’t read this book or studied this method yet. But SO many people have recommended this book to me since posting this article. I shop amazon based on reviews… you bet cha I’m willing to adjust my child-birthing experience accordingly. 🙂
I’m grateful for modern medicine.
I was a scared mom who’s life was blessed by my first epidural. But I now believe we’ve accidentally buried ourselves culturally here in Utah, and most of it is unwarranted.
If we don’t even give ourselves a chance to think about giving birth naturally, then we won’t allow ourselves to actually try!
And I can honestly say after experiencing both sides of the coin, if you’re healthy, medically sound and have done your research, natural is the way. to. go.
But ya know something?
You are a divine creature created by a loving God and you get to be the vessel that brings his beloved children into this world. It is an ABSOLUTE MIRACLE!!
In the end, no matter HOW you decide to have that baby of yours, Epidural or none, OWN IT GIRL!! You’re going to freaking rock it!!
You are a woman, and you are strong. And during child birth, you are INCREDIBLY strong. It’s the moment that God is handing one of His precious sons or daughters over to YOU for a season!
It is literally a divine and spiritual moment. Isn’t that wonderful? Aren’t YOU wonderful??? YES and YES!!!!!!
You got this girl.
I hope you’re feeling stronger about natural birth now. Because it’s magic.
And if you need a positive, pro-natural influence in your life, hit me up. I’ll sprinkle positivity like glitter all over your cute prego self.
You are wonder woman my friend. Wonder woman.
P.S. Your family finances wound tighter than those pre-pregnancy pants? Get our FREE family finance workbook, Riches to Rags here. You’ll also be added to my UPletter. I scour the internet for the week’s most “Up”lifting ideas for your family and send them right to your inbox every Saturday morning. It’s a blast. 🙂 You should totally do it.