If you’ve ever been a victim of birth shaming, or ever been criticized for decisions you made during one of the most crucial moments of you and your baby’s life, then you can relate to The War Between Natural Birth and Medicated Birth. The purpose of this article is to help us look at birth–and each other–a little differently.
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The War Between Natural Birth and Medicated Birth
There’s a war going on today, and our mamas-to-be are caught in the middle of it: Natural birth vs. Medicated birth.
Okay, now that I’ve used the popular terms for it, go ahead and define what that really means. If we are all honest, there really aren’t solid definitions for either method (as if there are only two specific methods).
Still, there’s enough shaming, comparing and criticizing to go around despite the fact that these are extremely vague and narrow-minded classifications.
What exactly is natural? How far do you have to go to be considered giving “natural” birth? And just how mainstream is “mainstream”? Who gets to decide all of this, anyway?
The amount of pressure that women are under to have their babies a specific way is increasing, and it’s ridiculous. The decision is up to the mother of the child. Every journey is different. Situations are different.
It Doesn’t Always Go As Planned
I know women who planned a medication-free birth of their design and were able to accomplish their goals. I know mamas who planned med-free births and had to change their plans based on situations that arose, and I know women who went into the hospital planning to have medication to assist from the get-go.
Guess what? All these mamas had their babies. Mission accomplished. And they are heroes.
I remember being asked how I was planning to give birth. Was I going all natural? Was I going to have an Epidural? Honestly, I couldn’t give completely certain answers, and the personal questions made me a little uncomfortable.
I wanted to have my baby without an Epidural or Pitocin, but I had never given birth before. I set my goals and worked to that end.
But here’s the truth of it all: that was my business. If I got an Epidural, so what? If I didn’t, so what? Would that change my ability as a woman?
I can say this. If you want to have a medication-free birth, it is so very possible! It is a wonderful, beautiful experience. You can read my story of how I prepared for and obtained my medication-free childbirth here.
However, if that isn’t you, that’s okay, too. The most important part of your birth experience is that you feel confident to have your baby.
Don’t Assume Everyone Has the Option of Natural Birth
I know of a precious mama-to-be who was expecting and had a c-section pre-scheduled for a very legitimate, medical reason.
If I had asked her if she were going “all-natural” with an air of disdain, how would that have made her feel? The truth is that just the fact she carried her baby to term is a miracle and she is amazing.
She deserves a standing ovation, not to be shamed for having medical interventions.
There are plenty of instances where natural birth just simply isn’t an option for everyone, and there’s no way to tell who has those options. For some, just being able to make it to term and have their baby via c-section is a miracle in itself.
Many women, without any medical intervention, wouldn’t have been able to birth their babies at all. We just can’t assume everyone has the same set of options.
Even if they did and chose something other than what we think they should have chosen, it’s simply not our place to make judgments on their decisions.
We’re all trying to do our best.
Mama, you are incredible. You are capable of fulfilling your dreams. Your goal is to have a healthy, happy baby in your arms. There is no reason to feel ashamed for choosing a particular route in giving birth.
You aren’t obligated to even answer that question, let alone allow someone to make you feel inadequate.
Sometimes we make plans and they don’t go our way. If you planned a specific way to give birth (for example if you planned to “go natural”) and it didn’t happen, you don’t need to feel guilty.
Every mama has to make the decisions they feel are best for their baby. You have done your best. You brought your baby into the world and you should feel proud and confident in that.
You’re ahead of the game when it comes to learning to roll with the punches. It’s a gift all of us mamas are having to learn every day.
Let’s Change It Up
Instead of criticizing one another on our method of giving birth, why don’t we create a culture of encouragement? Let’s be there for one another.
Giving birth is a miracle of life and an incredible accomplishment, and it’s important we respect that in one another.
There are far too many women who have heartbroken memories over their childbirth experience.
We’ve somehow shifted the focus off of the celebration of birth and turned it into a huge debate, exploiting what should be private, personal choices.
It’s time to help one another get back to remembering bringing our babies into the world with fondness and overwhelming love.
Let’s move on from scrutinizing one another in the labor and delivery room (or in the birthing center, or anywhere else) and support one another for being amazing and incredible.
Let’s be fearless. Together.
Read about my birth story and gain encouragement of your own in my book, Simply Mama Fearless!
If you’ve ever been caught in The War Between Natural Birth and Medicated Birth, I hope you now feel encouraged and heroic about your past birth experiences. You should!
If you’re a first time mama, I hope you feel confident to be everything your baby needs you to be. You’re truly a hero!
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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or licensed health care professional. The objective of this post is to share my experiences in the hopes that you will glean inspiration to make your own choices for your own pregnancy journey. For medical questions regarding your pregnancy, labor and childbirth, contact your doctor, midwife or other health care provider.