Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘epidural’ Category

Choice

Birth – like Life — is full of choices!

I am all for choice and accessibility to good drugs, but it seems strange to me that “natural childbirth” is considered a radical movement by so many people. People wonder if they “can do it” without the epidural, as if unmedicated birth is the “alternative” only for special unicorns, the epidural being the expectation and default. There are absolutely people who need an epidural for a safe and/or trauma reducing birth, so thank goodness we have them. I think it would be terrible to not have access to them.

What concerns me is the language we tend to use around epidurals chosen in normal birth, phrases like “I couldn’t have given birth without one,” Most often epidural use is about the privilege of choice and accessibility when the level of sensation or tiredness involved with birth is not desired . That isn’t a bad thing. But It isn’t literally that we couldn’t “do it” (barring special circumstances, remember), because if accessibility were removed, most folks WOULD “just do it”.

A truer statement for many people is “I didn’t WANT to do it without the epidural when I felt how tough the pain was to work through.” And that is okay! We don’t need to apologize for our choices in birth. Ever. People are awesome birth givers with or without epidural. But it is powerful to own a choice rather than relegate our reason for pain relief to an assumed organic failure of our collective birth giving body/mind.

My concern is that “I couldn’t do it” feeds the cultural norm of birth being generally undo-able, a legacy passed down to the next generations of physiologic birth “impossibility”. It is powerful to say “Given the epidural’s accessibility, I chose not to ‘do it’ because I preferred the idea of reduced pain” There is nothing shameful about exercising that choice. The power to own choice seems to be a stronger legacy to leave than a belief that phyiologic birth is virtually impossible.

–My friend and birth heroine, Lesley Everest, founder of Motherwit (Montreal and beyond!) wrote this reflection. — Cynthia

Advertisements

Read Full Post »