Giving birth is about as personal an experience as they come. This special moment, however planned or prepared for, doesn't always turn out how you envision, though. When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I immediately knew I wanted to try for an unmedicated birth, free of as many interventions as possible. While I thought a drug-free birth would be the best for my son, it turns out my unmediated birth also made me a more confident person, too.
Describing how empowered my medication-free labor and delivery made me feel is in no way intended to shame anyone’s labor or birth experience. We all become mothers in different ways, we all give birth in different ways, and what works for one of us doesn’t work for all of us. A birth that involves Pitocin and an epidural, or a birth that ends with a c-section (emergency or scheduled) can be and usually is just as empowering as a drug-free birth.
I'm simply speaking about my particular experience giving birth to my son sans pain meds. I was fortunate enough to not need any medication during the entire process and right up until he was born, when I definitely needed morphine for those post-birth stitches. I was fortunate in that my labor didn’t become too complicated, even though my son had a rough couple of postpartum months adjusting to life on the outside. And while I have a lot of a lot of mixed feelings about how everything went down during my son's entrance into the world, deep down I feel pride in the way I was able to handle my birth experience without the assistance of pain medication.
I Know I Can Get Through Anything
Giving birth was incredibly challenging; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Ever since I gave birth unmedicated, I have felt that I could make it through anything life decided to throw my way, no matter how scary or difficult. I remind myself of this whenever I'm faced with new set of challenges or obstacles.
I Know I Don’t Always Need To Fear The Unknown
Prior to giving birth, I was terrified of what it might be like. I had no point of reference, and really, no one does until they experience labor and delivery for themselves. I am more confident now because, in going through childbirth for the first time and making it out the other side, I know I don’t fear the unknown as much. More often than not, what I imagine is far worse than the reality.
I Know My Tolerance For Pain Is Way Higher Than I Ever Imagined
Being able to say that I gave birth unmedicated still surprises me, honestly, because I have always been a pain wimp. It’s funny because, even now, I might bang my shin on a table and see stars and yelp out loud. That shin pain, however and of course, certainly doesn’t compare to the pain of giving birth, and I got through that OK.
I Know I Don’t Always Need To Rely On Others
I really thought that I would need a lot more support than I actually did when I gave birth. I hired a doula even though I knew I’d have my husband by my side, as well as my mother close by. In retrospect, I don’t think I would hire one again, and I know that even if labor and delivery is difficult, I could bear it all on my own (at least, sans complications, and I would still want a medical practitioner nearby, of course).
I Know I’m Better At Being Prepared Than I Thought
Everyone feels unprepared for labor and delivery. I know when I finally went into labor I was scared that I hadn’t learned enough, read enough, or researched enough. In the end, though, I had done just enough to know what I would need to get through it all.
I Know I Can Trust Myself
I read a particular statement over and over in baby books and online forums about the body knowing what to do when it came down to giving birth. To a certain extent, and depending on the labor and delivery itself, this is true.
Personally, though, I think what that really means is trusting yourself enough to know when you do need some help, like when I realized my son was going to need an extra push to make it out into the world when I was too exhausted to go on.
I Know I'm A Source Of Information & Experience For Others
I feel confident in not only having been able to give birth unmedicated, but also in being able to help others who would also like to experience the same labor and delivery.
Since giving birth, I have had several friends reach out and ask to hear my experience. I feel confident in all the advice I give friends, like how to find a focal point, learn to control your breath and essentially “breathe down” the baby, know that even if it doesn’t seem like it, and that you’ll be able to handle the contractions As a result, I feel extra confident about who I am as a person, as a mother, as someone who gave birth sans medication.