Candid Chatter

Just Say It

I Don’t Know if I’ll Ever Understand This August 5, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 8:02 am
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Controversy ahead — you have been warned!!

I belonged to a message board about 4 1/2 years ago with women who were all pregnant with their first child. There are a couple of them who visit my site here. I quit being a ‘member’ shortly after Brianna was born. I was struggling as a new mother with many things that made me less than excited to be a new mom. It seemed nobody understood. With the exception of 4 of those women, I also believed nobody in that whole group cared. One day I decided I would leave the group. It was complicated, but it ended up being the best decision for me.

One of the debates or issues that regularly came up while we were all still pregnant was giving birth without pain meds vs. having something (pills, epidural, or whatever). Even though I knew from a few months into the pregnancy I would be having a c-section, I still chimed in on the subject. Four pregnancies later, I still do not understand any woman’s desire to give birth without some sort of pain relief. Back when I was pregnant the first time, it was not only that I didn’t understand it — I also thought those women were freakin’ crazy. Nuts! I still feel that way to some degree, but mostly I just don’t get it.

I have 2 very close friends who have given birth without pain meds. My sister did too, with her first. I’m not sure what she did with the third, but with the 2nd she got an epidural. Anyway, my friends are both so proud of their “accomplishments”. Really.

I don’t look at it as an accomplishment. I look at it as old-fashioned and so before our time. This is why. I would never go to the ER with an injury and tell them to just stitch me up without numbing me first. The doctors probably wouldn’t listen to me, first of all, and if they did I don’t think I’d go around bragging about my “accomplishment”.

To me, having a baby without the assistance of modern medicine is silly. Maybe there is a circle of women who believe this is some sort of gold medal event. I think it’s borderline insanity. If I’m completely honest (running the risk of offending people I care about here), it has the opposite effect on me. When a woman tells me she gave birth without pain meds (that she clearly could have received) it takes her down a notch in my judgmental intelligence rating. I think she’s either brainwashed by some cult that tells women it’s more noble to give birth that way or that she’s just not that bright. Now that I’ve said that I need to interject here that both of my friends who have done this, as well as my sister, are all very bright young women. I know them and knew one friend and, of course, my sister before they had their children. The other I knew was smart b/c she has a Master’s Degree in education. No dummy there. I know her better now and she’s darn smart.

But why is this birthing method so praised by some women to the point that they start to hang their identities on it? She-women or something. Bionic. Full of super powers. Do they think it makes them more of a woman or some sort of female hero? I don’t know.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand this way of thinking. What got me on this subject is watching Birth Stories on Discovery Health again with my ever so curious daughter. A woman not only wanted to give birth without pain meds, but also in a birthing center rather than a hospital.

Don’t. Get. Me. Started.

If you think I’m harsh about the subject of no pain meds, give me the other subject that is usually intertwined of no doctors or hospital staff and I will really begin to soapbox.

Why? What’s the point? What are you trying to prove? And, seriously, do you think you deserve a medal or award for doing something most of us think is absurd?

So enlighten me. I have given my honest perception of this practice. What’s yours?


17 Responses to “I Don’t Know if I’ll Ever Understand This”

  1. stacy Says:

    All I have to say is “Bring on the epideral!!!”

  2. Shannon Says:


  3. Ali Says:

    Okay, you know me and you know (well maybe you don’t remember) but I did have an epi. HOWEVER, my thought process was VERY open-minded and I was going to go until I couldn’t anymore. It was a medal that was invisible on me, it was just something that I wanted to experience. That said, I know that for some women the thought is that an epi or anything along those lines could damage their child. I believer that I remember even hearing this in birthing class, then again there is ALWAYS a possibility for ANYTHING to happen though so…. Then there is my friend from Birthing Class and she was BOUND and DETERMINED to have an epi. She got to 10cm extremely fast and couldn’t get the epi. The 2nd time she did though. So, while I think that there may be some women who do brandish some invisible medal there are other ‘viable’ reasons that some women aren’t keen on epi’s either. Of course, this is just my $.02! Thanks for the topic!

  4. Ali Says:

    That was supposed to be “It wasN’T a medal that was invisible.” Oh, (obviously I can’t type today) and the believer thing – yeah, take off the r.

  5. Cynthia Says:

    I’ve never got it either! I totally agree with you.

    I wondered if it was that those women wanted to experience the whole birthing process, which is not pretty or wonderful. The child is, yes, but not giving birth to them.

    Or, maybe they want to use that as leverage when the kids grow up………….I gave birth to you with no drugs…… a bath tub……… a house in the country……….the nearest hospital 20 miles away……..oh yeah and you were breech too………so you better do what I say.

    I had two c-sections and of course had an epideral. When I had my first child I wanted to get to the hospital before I progressed too much that they couldn’t give it to me. I was very grateful!

    I just don’t get it.

  6. candidchatter Says:

    Cynthia: It must be leverage. That’s the only reason it would make sense to me. “I brought you into this world and it nearly cost me my life and ripped me from poop shoot to pee hole, so I can take you out of this world! Now go clean your room, you disrespectful little heathen!” Not that I would ever say that, mind you. LOL!! 😉


  7. daphne Says:

    my mother, who I think is mentaly unstable (seriously, she is not allowed alone with my children often) gave me the crap about going natural. Listen, if that is your thing, I say go for it! I feel super strong about breastfeeding for as long as possible but not everyone is down. I get that. My mother saw it as a badge of honor but consider this view point;
    Some women feel viewing their children being born is ‘beautiful’. Some video it.
    My first daughter was stillborn at term. My obgyn INSISTED I get an epidural because he said the emotional pain was enough, he would not allow me to suffer physically as well. Thank God for him. My mother thought I should go natural.
    I watched my 2nd daughter be born. I did NOT find it beautiful. I did not bother to watch daughters 3 and 4 be born. I may not understand those who find it beautiful or amazing or whatever (my sister watched me deliver and said it was cool as hell!) but I can respect their views.
    Besides crazies who want reconition for their suffering (hmm, like maybe a martyer?!?), maybe some people just find it beautiful to have a child without drugs like watching a baby be born is beautiful. Grace & Peace, daphne

  8. candidchatter Says:

    Daphne: I cannot imagine what you went through with your first daughter. I have a friend, who also reads this site, whose first child was also stillborn — her son Luke. She has 4 living children: 3 girls and a boy. Her situation is heart-wrenching to me (so is yours). His death was caused by a car accident she was involved in at 9 months gestation. Full term too. If I remember right, she was past her due date. Devastating.

    Regarding this subject, I think there is too much emphasis put on the delivery of the child (esp when it’s the 1st child) when the focus should be the end result no matter the method.

    Some women feel they have failed when they can’t stand the pain or end up having a c-section for one reason or another. I have had 2 c-sections. I lost our last baby at 8 1/2 weeks for reasons unknown (I didn’t know I could have had genetic testing) and then a D&C.

    I say Thank God for D&C procedures. I bled very little and didn’t have to experience pain along with loss. I also praise Him for c-secs because it has allowed my babies to be born without the threat of contracting HSV2 (herpes of the genital type), which can cause blindness along with other complications for the newborn.

    Have your babies however you want/need to have them and do NOT feel guilty if it doesn’t go as planned. It rarely does, as with everything in life.

    Anyway… thank you for your comment. Thank you to everyone who commented on this topic.


  9. mommato3blessings Says:

    You know me- bring on the drugs! I think I started asking for my epidural with Ellie when I was around 7 months pregnant…. lol!

  10. Okay…I’m a man…hopefully, a male voice won’t be screamed off the page.

    When my wife became pregnant, we had the discussion about meds or no meds. Her first response was, “I’ll take all they give me!”

    She was true to that! When she had been in labor for about three hours and it wasn’t time for meds yet, I was trying to comfort her. I leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. As I pulled back, she grabbed my shirt collar, pulled me down to her face and said, “WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO GIVE ME MY EPIC!”

    The nurse, sitting to her right said, “Sweetheart, I think you are ready for the meds now!”

    If my wife had known that’s all it took, she would have started screaming about 7 months into the pregnancy!

  11. […] acid reflux, baby, breastfeeding, formula feeding, jaundice, newborn I had a comment left on my last post regarding breastfeeding. I have to tell you that I am fully on the wagon for this topic. I support […]

  12. Lana Says:

    well then.
    let me introduce myself… I’m the friend with a Master’s Degree in Education. And yes, I birthed both my sons naturally. My first was labored at home until I was nearly 7cm dialated, was nearly born in a birthing tub but ultimately was born in a bed at a Birth Center. And my second son was born at a hospital, with basically my husband as my sole human support “staff”.

    I don’t believe I’m prideful about it, but apparently, I come across that way. I don’t view it as an accomplishment as much as a rite of passage. I know that my children were birthed the same way that Mary brought the Prince of Peace into the world… among the millions of other women around the world who to this day, birth their own children the way God intented it.

    “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

    I’m obviously on the opposite end of the spectrum from Heidi on this subject. To use Heidi’s hospital analogy, I would never go to the ER WITHOUT an injury and expect them to stitch me up, regardless of anesthesia.

    Unfortunately, our society is overall brainwashed in THE birthing process. Giving birth is not an injury. It’s natural. It hurts. But so do a lot of things.

    And to be fully educated and informed, would lead a person to discover that c-sections are the most commonly performed surgery in the united states. 75% of those c-sections are direct results of epidural usage. I’m always shocked at women who are extremely strict with their diets during pregnancy, but are 100% on the epidural list. The baby is drugged by the epidural, and the natural process is interfered with… resulting in unnecessary major surgery on otherwise completely healthy women.

    For me, my personal conviction is to give birth naturally… more because of the spiritual fufillment, not because of the reality of the drugs in the blood stream, but I have made it my personal mission to value life over the delivery of it.

  13. candidchatter Says:

    Thanks for your honest comment, Lana. I can imagine you felt under attack when you read the post and other comments. I appreciate that even under those circumstances you would come forth and give us insight into your decision, conviction, and feelings on the subject. You know I love you no matter what you do. But that hopefully goes without saying. 🙂

    I love to hear what the other side has to say. Does anyone else feel as Lana does or similar? I’d love to hear from you too. Maybe we can all learn a little something.

    There is one part of what she said (Lana) that I’d like to comment on.

    Yes, vaginal birth is how God intended for women to have babies. If not, He would have made us differently.

    But I also believe God made the men and women who became the doctors who had the gifts (that He gave them) to find and create the substances we now use as pain relievers. So even though we were made to have babies the way we do, I don’t think the ways to conquer the pain were accidents or man-made attempts to play God. I truly believe most modern medicine is created by God just like everything else in this life. Sometimes those creations are misused and abused — that is man’s fault. But the good that comes out of the things that are discovered every day — that is God. Always.

    I praise Him for the advancements we (humans) have made because without them my children would have been at risk for serious medical complications if they had been born vaginally. So thank you, Jesus, for c-sections, sterilization (of the antibacterial type, etc), spinal blocks, and modern medicine. Amen!


  14. anne Says:

    Well..I’ve had 2 children. One with an epidural after 16 long hours of posterior (sunny side up) labor and one with a precipitous (i.e. extremely fast) labor. I intended to have both without meds not because I was prideful, but because I wanted to give my child the best start in the world without being unnecessarily groggy, etc from pain medication. I wanted to start breastfeeding right away and have the child be awake and alert from the get go.

    However with the 1st labor, I was too exhausted and opted for the relief of the epidural. I probably would have ended up with an emergency c-section otherwise which was about 500th on my list of things that I wanted to do . It was the right decision for the situation and I never regretted it.

    With my 2nd, she came so fast there was not time for drugs. It was a bit on the scary side (I was only in active labor for 90 minutes) and extremely painful. I never had a chance to practice the “relaxation techniques” that I learned in my Bradley childbirth classes. And it was quite the relief to me when she was born and the pain was over.

    However…….my recovery from the 2nd delivery was much better and must faster. They did have to give me pitiocin after the birth because I was bleeding too much (a consequence from my fast labor), but that didn’t affect it. 2 hours after she was born, I walked to my room without any problems. I went home to my comfy bed 18 hours after Madeline was born without an issue. I didn’t need any pain medications, and I didn’t need any stitches.

    So, that being said, whenever #3 comes along, I’m going naturally. I know that with 3 children I’m going to need to be recovered as quickly as possible, and the pain for delivery is better to me. Plus, even though it was painful, yes, there was a great sense of accomplishment to me to have done it without meds. I accomplished something that seemed nearly impossible and it was like finishing the iron man after a marathon pregnancy to me. It’s hard work, but parenting is extremely hard work, and it only prepared me (in a way) for the future years raising 2 children.

    Finally, and this isn’t a dig, but for someone so against birth control (I am too, so we don’t need to debate that), I don’t see why you would praise God for sterilization. That seems backward to me….praising God for taking something that is so human intervention out of His hands. But that’s a debate for another day I suppose.

  15. candidchatter Says:

    Anne: Sterilization as in cleanliness (I edited the comment to reflect that). Like sterile environments in the OR. LOL! I guess I should have qualified that statement. I was praising God for antibacterial or antimicrobial soap. Or the like. 😉 Back in the day, those environments were anything but sterile. Some women who made it through child birth died from infections. I am happy that is no longer an issue (at least not a big issue and very uncommon in the USA).

    However, I am not against forms of birth control that do not affect a fertilized egg. As a matter of fact, I will have a tubal ligation after the birth of this baby while they are “in there” already for the c-section.

    I am against chemical methods of BC because an egg and sperm can meet, however the chemical causes an unfit environment for implantation therefore the embryo is aborted. I am not against barrier methods (condoms, diaphragms, etc) or permanent methods (like tubal ligation, hysterectomy, or vasectomy). Just to clarify.


  16. Alex Says:

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

  17. candidchatter Says:

    Thank you, Alex.


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