10 Total Mindf*ck Double Standards Society Has About Unmedicated Births
bySabrina Joy Stevens
I've said it before, and I'll say it again now and every other time I ever write about birth (both because it's true and because I'd like to pre-empt at least some judgmental trolling): everyone who gives birth can and should do what makes them most comfortable, and is safe for them and their children. For some people, that’s a medically necessary induction or surgery; for others it’s choosing an epidural; for others it's no drugs at all. I’m in the latter group, which means I've also heard the ridiculous double standards society has about unmedicated births, and if you couldn't tell by now, I'm pretty well over it.
Childbirth, like everything else about motherhood and womanhood more generally, falls squarely into "damned if you do and damned if you don’t" territory. No matter what you choose to do, somebody is going to judge you for it. No matter what, someone somewhere is going to make their own bogus assumptions about your reasoning, your motivations, or your level of understanding. No matter what, somebody is going to say you chose "wrong," or try to shame or pressure you into choosing something else for reasons that have nothing to do with your well-being and everything to do with their own issues and assumptions.
It's normal to feel a little annoyed or hurt by these kinds of judgments, because we're social beings who want to connect with people and because motherhood is a really vulnerable time. It can be especially hard to shrug off some comments if they come from people you actually know and care about, like close friends and family members. But just because you know and love someone, doesn't mean that they're immune to all the crappy information and sexist ideas society shares about women's bodies and what we choose to do with them.
So as with everything else, do your research and then you do you. Someone is always going to hate on your choices no matter what happens, because the thing they're really uncomfortable is the fact that you're a woman in a society that thinks women are inherently wrong. Seriously. You can't please everybody and you never will. When it comes to birthing without medication, seek to please yourself (yay, orgasmic birth pun!) because as the following double standards illustrate, you can't make everybody else happy anyway.