I never allowed myself to promise that I was never going to get an epidural. My preference for both my births was to go unmedicated, not for any philosophical or judgmental reason but because I'm more of an "if it ain't broke don't fix it" kinda gal. ButI didn't know just how much labor would hurt, so I was perfectly willing to believe that it would hurt so badly I'd want to numb the pain. Hint: it did! There are are things an epidural can "fix" during labor and delivery and, to this day, I'm so glad I got one (twice).
In the never-ending, obnoxious epic that is "The Mommy Wars," epidurals are an early, hot-button issue. Some moms experience a lot of pressure not to get an epidural (often for dubious reasons) or are shamed for getting one. Other moms get an immediate eye-roll when they say the chose not to get one. "You know they don't give out medals for that, right?", as though the woman in question didn't know that and wasn't influenced by any number of other reasons about how she wanted to experience her own damn birth.
Get an epidural. Don't get an epidural. No one can tell you the best decision for you except for that little voice in your head that gives you all your best advice. I do, however, think that voice can be more confident and clearer after research, including listening to the experiences of others. So, for anyone's consideration, these are the things that an epidural helped me with: