Monday, September 13, 2010

The E word

Lately, I’ve been getting asked about how I envision my labour to go. I talk about labour in our pre-natal class and of course among my many friends who are also expecting. The truth is, everyone’s labour experience is so different. It seems that no matter how much you plan, you can never be truly prepared. Perhaps the motto should be-Be prepared for the unexpected! Most people ask if I am planning to have an epidural. I feel like this is a trick question at times. Like no matter what answer I give, I risk being judged. If I say no, then I’m labelled as some crazy hippie lady who has clearly never been through labour and is trying to prove something. If I say yes (GIVE ME THE DRUGS!!!) then I am labelled as someone who is not tough and is going to willingly prolong my labour and not have a ''natural'' birth.

In fact, this subject comes up in nearly every single pre-natal class in spite of the fact that we are already on class 5 discussing post-partum and breastfeeding. The one thing that amuses me (read: I want to smack the smug look of their faces) is that it’s mainly the MEN who are opposed to medicated births. There are 7 couples in the class (including me and my husband and a couple who are very good friends of ours). Of the 7 men, there are 3 of them who adamantly shake their head from side to side whenever we talk about the big bad word EPIDURAL. When our instructor told us that our hospital has an 85% epidural rate, they stared in disgust stating things like:

'' How is that safe? Getting an epidural seems like overkill!’’

'' Why would you risk your health? Can’t you become paralysed?’’

''It’s not natural.’’

It’s not to say that men cannot have opinions on the subject but I find it inappropriate for them to judge women in the class who want to get as much information as possible on their labour options. Using medication during birth is a personal choice. Women have different coping mechanisms and certainly different pain thresholds.

So my answer is this. I plan on using many coping skills I have learned until the pain becomes too great. At that point, I am quite open to an epidural if it will give my body and mind a chance to rest in preparation for pushing and the after birth.

So to buddy with the bad comb-over in my Wednesday night class-I resent the fact that you tell us women that having an epidural is not natural. I respect the fact that you want an un-medicated birth so please respect others. Heaven forbid your wife should realise she’s in excruciating pain and ask for some drugs. Will you flash her an arrogant smirk saying ‘’NO. That is not natural’’?

I guess I didn't realise that you are in charge of her body.

1 comment:

  1. wow I don't know how you handled hearing that. Your response sounds like a good plan!