Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

10 Ways My Epidural Made Me Feel Empowered During My Labor

Ad failed to load

Before I had my first baby, I was so intrenched in the "natural" child birth movement that I lost some necessary perspective. I honestly believed that having a medicated child birth was unhealthy for me and for my baby. I also believed that if I had to have an epidural, I would end up feeling helpless and weak which, as a sexual violence survivor, was seriously scary. As it turned out, my epidural made me feel empowered, not helpless or weak at all. That's seriously badass.

While I totally support pregnant people making informed choices and when possible, consenting to medical procedures (when safe for both them and their babies) — and I think it's horrible when people feel pressured into procedures they don't want — I want to tell everyone about my epidurals. Like, literally scream it from rooftops and call everyone I know. Maybe, purchase a billboard? Honestly, I'm still thinking about the marketing plan.

Before I had my daughter, I was terrified that having an epidural would be painful, harmful, and hurt my birth experience. I was so scared. That's both not OK and really freaking terrible. I went to the hospital scared out of my mind. I didn't feel empowered at all. I tried to keep an open mind, and then I had a conversation with my midwife. She was totally supportive of me choosing no pain medications or choosing all the meds. She explained my options and recommended that I wait and see how things progressed and keep those options open. In other words, she rocked.

Ad failed to load

As it turned out, 18 hours of back labor and no sleep in over 36 hours was my threshold for pain and exhaustion. When I asked for it, I felt so ashamed (which is horrible considering I wouldn't feel ashamed to ask for Novocaine at the dentist). After I got it, I was transformed. I knew I could do bring my baby into the world, I got some damn sleep, and I even laughed with my husband. When it was time to push, I got to push side-lying (not on my back like all my friends had threatened) and my midwife held a mirror so I could watch my daughter being born. I didn't tear, and besides some hemorrhaging (which had nothing to do with the epidural) both baby and I were healthy.

So, honestly, there are so many ways I felt  empowered by my epidural, including the following:

Ad failed to load

I Called The Shots

I was 100 percent in control. No one forced me or pressured me. They honestly were supportive of anything I chose. That was amazing. They respected the fact that only I knew what I was experiencing and had a right to decide what I needed. That's how childbirth should be.

Pain Relief


It was amazing. I have no way to describe back labor to people who haven't experienced it for themselves, but it was seriously the worst thing I have ever felt. I didn't feel amazing or strong. It made me feel like I was being stabbed. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and scream f*ck over and over, when I could get anything, but a whimper out.

After my epidural, labor was no big deal.

I Got Some Damn Rest

I hadn't slept in over a day. I was so exhausted, I felt like there was no way I could make it. After my epidural, I took a nap while we watched a movie. I could feel when it was time to push and everything was awesome.

Ad failed to load

It Made Me Feel Strong


It made me feel strong again, like I could physically do this thing which, you know, just so happened to be the hardest thing I had ever done.

When I did it, I realized birth is badass, no matter if you have no pain meds, all the meds, or a c-section.

It Made Me Believe In Myself

I seriously doubted myself. I was no longer a badass warrior goddess, I was a weeping, exhausted mess. My epidural gave me my confidence back. I was a rockstar.

It Shut Down The Shaming


Having an epidural shut down all the voices – my friends, the one nurse who said something snarky, and most importantly, the voices in my head  – shaming pregnant people for pain relieve is seriously unkind and uncool, and the phrase, "natural child birth" needs to die in a fire.

Ad failed to load

It Changed My Mind

Having an epidural completely changed my mind about "natural" child birth, which is really something that's freaking hard to do for someone as stubborn as I am. I am now an advocate for choice and doing whatever it takes to get through labor. No one gets a trophy or a cookie for going med-free and there are a ton of "right" ways to birth a baby.

I Realized That Pain Is Unnecessary


Feeling pain doesn't make you stronger, and it's my freaking body.  I was just joking with my OB-GYN the other day that if men carried babies, epidurals would be administered at 20 weeks gestation. She said, "No, I think they'd probably have artificial wombs by now." The idea that pain is necessary for child birth is really archaic and misogynistic.

When I Caught My Own Baby

It was amazing have the strength to reach down and catch my own baby. I still felt when it was time to push and knew when she was coming. I truly believe that I wouldn't have been able to do anything at that point, but cry and scream, had a I not gotten my amazing epidural.

Ad failed to load

When My Baby And I Were Healthy

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

That's the point. Right? A healthy baby and parent, and not some mythical experience. There's more than one "right" way to give birth. I am not saying that it's not OK for all pregnant people to choose what kind of birth they want (as long as they are safe), but when I held my daughter close to my chest I realized that, for me, a healthy baby was the most important thing.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack