I was asked recently why having a natural birth was so important to me... I knew I had a reason. I knew I did. But in the moment it took me a while to gather my thoughts, let's blame it on preggo brain... I started writing this more as a way to organize my inner monologue and thought it could maybe help someone, so there you go.
I never for a second considered having an epidural or any kind of pain meds during labor. I fully realize that they are a marvel of modern medicine, but it never even crossed my mind. My mom had natural births. My 2 best friends had natural births. I hate pain, but I believe in the power of my own body. So with my first son it never even presented itself as an option. I told friends "if I change my mind during labor, then I will" but I only said that to make people feel better. I knew I wasn't going to. I knew it. I also, through much research, found myself constantly seeing connections between interventions such as inducing and epidurals and the slippery slope leading to stalled labors and emergency C sections... Ummmm, no thank you.
With that decided, I begin to pray every day. Every time I was in the car or waiting for the doctor. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I prayed for all the specifics of my labor. I wanted an 8 hour labor (I was a realist). I wanted to go into labor at night so the midwife would be at the hospital. And I wanted to use zero pain intervention. The power of prayer is strong because I had all of my prayers answered. Did it hurt?! Like a son of a bitch. Did I survive it?! Absolutely, like a boss. Would I change a thing?! Never. The second my baby was on my chest the work was forgotten and I had literally had control of my entire labor and birth. I didn't have doctors telling me when to push. I knew. My body knew. I was so focused I had no time to worry or stall my labor. I was in it 100% and that control was just beautiful.
So back to my answer. I had a natural birth because I was meant to. That may sound silly, but it was all I needed to know. Now with my second baby due in just 9 weeks I'm facing these questions and decisions all over again. And I've found myself giving advice, offering opinions [when asked] and my main point to those asking is know WHY you want it and don't allow yourself or others to think otherwise. Surround yourself with people who support and believe in you and your body. You need to know you can and will get through labor. You need to remember with each contraction that is just your baby making his way to you. You need to know that it's the most beautiful and primal thing you can ever do. You need to know the amazing power you possess.
Now, sometimes medical intervention is absolutely necessary and praise The Lord for doctors and midwives who know what they are doing, but I would just ask you to know your options. Don't just accept everything you are told. Be educated. Trust your instincts. Take classes. Hire a Doula. Watch documentaries. Be involved in your birth story no matter what path you choose!