If you have decided to pursue an unmedicated childbirth, you have probably heard at least one, if not all, of the following:
“You’re doing WHAT?!”
“You won’t be able to handle it.”
“Why would you put yourself through that pain when you don’t have to?”
“You won’t win any medals, it’s not a competition you know.”
“That’s just another unreasonable expectation to put on mothers.”
“Isn’t that just for crazy hippies?”
When epidurals first came on the scene, they were a wonderful solution to the problem of mothers needing to be put under general anesthesia in the case of a c-section. Today, they are so common that many women can’t even imagine attempting to give birth without them.
If you are someone who is choosing an unmedicated birth, be prepared to receive at least a few unwelcome comments about your choices. (Actually, as a pregnant woman in general, just go ahead and plan for unwelcome comments. Everyone will suddenly have an opinion to give you.)
Here’s just a few ways you can respond to these comments and questions from the peanut gallery.
1. Just Don’t.
If these comments are coming from total strangers or your nosy neighbor, it’s perfectly acceptable to just ignore them. If you really want to up your “I don’t care what you think” game, give them a giant smile and stare them down without saying a word. What you choose for your birth is really no one’s business but yours. You don’t owe anyone an explanation or defense.
2. Educate Them
If you think the comment is coming from a place of genuine curiosity, you can always offer to point them to the resources that helped you make up your mind. Education is never a bad thing, and who knows? You might be just the person they needed to spark their curiosity and get them researching for themselves. Being informed is what makes you truly free to choose what is best for you.
While sarcasm isn’t actually helpful, it can be pretty satisfying when you’re tired and pregnant and the three thousandth person of the day just asked you what your plans are for your birth. “You know, I was actually under the impression I would win a medal! Darn it!”
4. A Firm Statement
Having a short, no-nonsense statement in your back pocket is a good idea for those lovely humans who simply refuse to quit badgering and/or putting you down about your birth choices:
“This is my choice and I would appreciate your support.”
“Please keep your concerns to yourself.”
“I am focusing on only listening to positive comments during this time. Either be respectful my choice or stop talking to me about it.”
Thankfully, our culture is (slowly) starting to shift away from shaming women for wanting to give birth in their own way. As we continue to educate ourselves and make the best decisions we can, we are adding our voices to the call for choice and the chance of a positive outcome for every birthing woman.
And if you need to throw out a few sarcastic responses every now and then to stay sane, there is definitely no judgement here!