Why I Went Natural

Don’t worry, it was for selfish reasons.

Is it just me or is natural childbirth making a comeback? Maybe I just wasn’t in the loop before I got pregnant but when I read the statistics on how many people go natural vs. epidural, and then look around at the people I know, it doesn’t add up. Maybe my friends are just a bunch of weirdos (this is likely as I am a weirdo).

For several years before trying to get pregnant, I worried about childbirth on a near-daily basis. Even though I’m “scared of needles” (I’m not, but I have vasovagal syncope), I knew I’d want an epidural. I never thought twice about forgoing the drugs.

Then I got pregnant and talked to a few friends who enjoyed their drug-free deliveries. “It’s not that bad,” they said. “I will definitely go natural next time.” And the next thing I knew, I became one of the people I once thought was crazy.

I recently heard a mom say she “felt very accomplished” after her natural delivery. I’m glad for her, but I never felt this. And here’s why: having a baby has never been an accomplishment. It’s just something (special) that women do. Actually, having a baby is the end of you accomplishing much of anything.

I also heard people say they felt like they could do anything after delivering naturally. I was hoping to feel this sense of courage and competence, especially since having vasovagal syncope means I want to faint every time I enter a medical facility. For six weeks I thought I might gain this advantage, until I almost fainted at my check-up when the nurse started explaining the IUD.

I’ve heard people say, “I thought they were going to give me a medal,” or “you’re not going to get a medal.” Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure what this means. Maybe that you would be admired or esteemed? I knew the only trophy would be Simon so I wasn’t disappointed.

I did feel on top of the world after delivery, but only because I was holding Simon. Regarding childbirth itself I distinctly remember thinking, I never want to do that again.

So why did I do it in the first place? Mainly because I was more afraid of medical interventions than of pain. It seemed simpler, more straightforward and less likely to veer into complications.

Would I do it again? If my labor goes well again, probably. Of course getting your baby is the foremost reward. One other aspect I found gratifying was entering into a timeless, universal and uniquely feminine experience.

See, I told you I was a weirdo.