Social Pressure and the epidural

OMG why can't women just support each other through this experience of pregnancy and mental preparation for childbirth and parenthood! Certainly the women friends that I am closest with are offering their unequivocal support.

But yesterday I found myself in a circle of coworkers. They all started talking about how hard having a newborn and young children is. Let me tell you, as someone who is grieving giving up freedom, grieving the loss of ease, grieving the future exhaustion I didn't need to hear it. But then, just as they were about to move on to other topics someone said, "As a final piece of advice: Epidurals are your best friend."

I don't know if they know my that I am hoping to do a natural birth. I don't know at all. But why must an implicit judgment of how some people choose to have their babies (in fact most women in the world don't get choices like that) be built in. Why can't women just say, "here's one piece of advice: do what YOU want to do."

I can't find anything online about this epidural social pressure- but I hate it. I am not opposed to epidurals. I am not all about natural birth. I just hate this weird and cruel pressure that I find women putting on me all the time- even without their knowing of my decisions. It is filled with derision and defensiveness and it's bogus!

-May this experience shape me more positively so that I can REALLY support women in the future.


  1. This seems similar to the breast feeding issue in a way.
    Speaking of which, I heard co-workers talking about breastfeeding last night, and they were agreeing with each other about how disgusting and creepy it is. For the record, one of them is 19 & unmarried & without children, and the other is 35 and married with 2 children.
    It's true, I guess-- "to each her own."

  2. I am a part of two online communities of women revolving around fertility and childbirth/rearing. The amazing part is that for everyone who says that epidurals are your friend, there is someone else saying epidurals are evil. And everyone thinks there way is the only RIGHT way. I agree with you....women should support each other's approach to matter what that approach is.

  3. Do what feels right and natural for you. You will know what to do when the time is right when you are giving birth, feeding, clothing and raising your child. Do what feels right for your and do it with love and compassion for yourself, your husband and your child. (there, someone said it, someone who had an epidural, who chose to breastfeed and who struggles every day with knowing whether what I am doing is right for my child.)

  4. I agree there is no one right way. My first delivery had every intervention short of c-section and the second was natural with just a midwife (at a hospital). They were both wonderful births that were right for the circumstances. You are the only expert on your family.

  5. I keep hearing people say "you should plan a c-section! Then you have more control."

    Someone noticed the other day at church that I was wearing my rings around my neck, and said "oh my hands never swelled up while I was pregnant. My doctor told me to cut out salt--you must be eating too much salt. Here's what you should do..."

    I had people come up to me today and say "I know you're pregnant, but if I didn't, I would just think that you were a bit fat."

    What's the deal with everyone weighing in on what you should do while pregnant--and for having a running commentary on our appearances?

    As you said at the beginning of your post, why can't we all just support each other in this? It's hard enough without everyone telling you what you're 'doing wrong' in their eyes.

    I say "Good for you!" and do what's right for you. Ignore the naysayers.


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