Natural Birth

Family thinks I'm crazy for not wanting epidural

Everyone in my family, especially my mom and sister, think that I am utterly insane for not wanting an epidural. It is my first baby, and clearly I don't know exactly what it's going to feel like, but I truly believe that having a natural birth is something I can do. I am the first person that anyone in my family has ever known that has wanted to go natural, and I'm getting a little tired of having to justify my decision. They are incredibly unsupportive, and keep telling me that there's no way I'll be able to do it without drugs (no matter how many times I remind them that women haven't always had drugs available to them, and they were able to do it), and keep telling me not to tell my midwife that I don't want an epidural cause she'll deny me one when I inevitably beg for it. Luckily, my husband is on board, and we're taking a natural childbirth class, and I've been reading a ton of books about natural childbirth. They also think I'm nuts for wanting to use cloth diapers, but that's another story. How did yall deal with unsupportive family or friends?
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Re: Family thinks I'm crazy for not wanting epidural

  • Honestly I'd just ignore them and  not discuss it with them. Find people who do support your choice to discuss with, and keep your family/friends focused on other things like nursery bedding  Stick out tongue

    Seriously, it's your birth. It's your decision to make. Tell them you are simply being prepared in case your epidural doesn't work if nothing else will get them off your back...since that does happen.  

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  • It's the same story for most of the posters on this board. In the end, you don't need their support anyway - as long as you & your midwife are on the same page, that's all that matters.

    And you don't have to justify your decision - just work on a response to kindly shut them up & keep the conversation moving.

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  • My advice is the same as what I just said to another poster about homebirth here. You don't have to justify your decision to anyone. Stop trying to convince other people and concentrate on those that do support you (namely, your husband and your MW). Who cares if they think you're crazy? You're the one giving birth, you're the one who decides whether you want an epidural or not. If you stop talking about it and shut down the conversation when it comes up, that will be the end of it.
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  • I live in the same area as you. Which classes are you taking? I took Birth InSight's class and it was really great. Also, if at all possible for you, give birth at the Midwifery Center at Depaul!!
  • I don't think that a midwife will deny you an epi. I don't know where your family got that from. If you gave the midwife a birthplan that said I don't want an epi they may ask you something like 'remember in your birthplan you requested not to be offered an epi? Are you sure you want an epi now?' So unless you say something in your birthplan like 'Do not give me an epidural even if I request it' they will usually try to meet your pain relief wishes. 

    From all the birth stories I have read that is what usually how midwives handle a change from the original birthplan. But I am writing from the perspective of someone who has read a few birth stories and read a few midwife point of view birth stories so I may not have all the details correct. 

     

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  • image ArmyQM:
    I live in the same area as you. Which classes are you taking? I took Birth InSight's class and it was really great. Also, if at all possible for you, give birth at the Midwifery Center at Depaul!!

    We're taking their class this weekend!  I'm so excited, and I plan on re-taking it again in June.  And I didn't learn about the Midwifery Center until a month ago, when I was already too far along to switch over to them.  But I do have a great midwife who is going to deliver me at Obici in Suffolk.  I'm definitely going to be going to the Midwifery Center for our next baby.

     

    And thanks for all the great advice!  I guess the hardest part of it is that I'm hurt that they don't have faith in me.  But they do love talking about the mundane baby stuff like bedding, so I'll steer our conversations in that direction from now on. 

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  • Huh, I switched to them around the same point as you but I think I was lucky they weren't booked yet. Definitely choose them next time. I had an amazing birth there. And you'll enjoy the Birth InSight class. Great instructors and very thorough. Hands down the reason I was able to get through my med-free birth.
  • My mother had given me grief when I told her that I wanted a natural birth. I immediately told her that while she may not agree with me, I will only talk to her about birthing if respects and supports me in my decision.

    My BFF called me crazy (jokingly) but she supports me no matter what lol. My sis said the epi helped her immensely and she  gave birth super quickly (but my nephew was born with ea/tef and needed surgery so it worked out great for her). She definitely supports my decisions. If anyone has had an issue with me and my decisions, they haven't actually said it to my face.

    You do not have to justify yourself to anyone. Especially if your DH is on board, you will have a great experience. :D

  • I just ignore them, it's my birth plan, I will do what I want.  Honestly hearing negative comments from people make me even more gung ho to do it without the epi to prove to them that I CAN do it.
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  • image twest0508:

    And thanks for all the great advice!  I guess the hardest part of it is that I'm hurt that they don't have faith in me.  But they do love talking about the mundane baby stuff like bedding, so I'll steer our conversations in that direction from now on.  

    I obviously don't know your family, but I would guess that their reaction has nothing to do with their faith (or lack thereof) in you. They are probably just scared for you. IMO, most women choose epi's out of fear. I always hear about women requesting them before they're even feeling any pain because they're afraid of being in pain. It's understandable that they may be afraid, but by educating yourself about natural birth and the natural processes of our bodies you learn (as we all have in our journeys toward natural birth) that there is really no reason for fear and we can trust our bodies 100%.

    Ditto all PPs about ignoring the negative comments and steering the conversation to other topics. 

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  • image twest0508:
    Everyone in my family, especially my mom and sister, think that I am utterly insane for not wanting an epidural. It is my first baby, and clearly I don't know exactly what it's going to feel like, but I truly believe that having a natural birth is something I can do. I am the first person that anyone in my family has ever known that has wanted to go natural, and I'm getting a little tired of having to justify my decision. They are incredibly unsupportive, and keep telling me that there's no way I'll be able to do it without drugs (no matter how many times I remind them that women haven't always had drugs available to them, and they were able to do it), and keep telling me not to tell my midwife that I don't want an epidural cause she'll deny me one when I inevitably beg for it. Luckily, my husband is on board, and we're taking a natural childbirth class, and I've been reading a ton of books about natural childbirth. They also think I'm nuts for wanting to use cloth diapers, but that's another story. How did yall deal with unsupportive family or friends?

    Easy.  I didn't tell them. Wink  Seriously, I haven't discussed my med-free plans with anyone but DH and my doctor for this very reason.  People have opinions on things that don't concern them and this isn't something I'm interested in hearing everybody else's war stories about.

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  • image Marsee:
    image twest0508:

    And thanks for all the great advice!  I guess the hardest part of it is that I'm hurt that they don't have faith in me.  But they do love talking about the mundane baby stuff like bedding, so I'll steer our conversations in that direction from now on.  

    I obviously don't know your family, but I would guess that their reaction has nothing to do with their faith (or lack thereof) in you. They are probably just scared for you. IMO, most women choose epi's out of fear. I always hear about women requesting them before they're even feeling any pain because they're afraid of being in pain. It's understandable that they may be afraid, but by educating yourself about natural birth and the natural processes of our bodies you learn (as we all have in our journeys toward natural birth) that there is really no reason for fear and we can trust our bodies 100%.

    Ditto all PPs about ignoring the negative comments and steering the conversation to other topics. 

    I definitely agree, I think that's probably the main reason that they react that way. 

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  • I let my family think I'm crazy for wanting a natural birth, and go about my business.
  • I agree with PP's...I just don't talk about it with unsupportive people.  The only people I need to be supportive of me are my H and my MW. 
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  • The best way to deal with it is to stop arguing with them or trying to convince them to see your point of view.  They may never come around, and that's fine.  Surround yourself with people and information that support your choice.  You may have to say something to your family and other naysayers (kindly) along the lines of, "It seems that you don't understand or support my decision, and that's ok.  In light of this I think it's best that we not discuss my birth plans together anymore, because it's becoming stressful on me to receive so many negative reactions.  I understand that you are just concerned but I have done alot of research on this topic and for now I would just appreciate it if you could at least respect my decision even if you do not agree with it."

    If they continue to debate the issue with you, hang up the phone or leave the room.  Let them think you're crazy, you know you are not.  You are preparing to do a wonderful thing for both yourself and your child, and you need all the positive energy you can get.

    Good Luck!

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  • image ohashlet:
    I let my family think I'm crazy for wanting a natural birth, and go about my business.

    Pretty much this.  If they want an epi so bad, then let them get pg again.

    And if I'm honest, a little bit of silent, condescending attitude can be a great motivator during labor.  There is a satisfaction to telling a doubter "I went natural, I did it without an epi, I didn't need it".  Just don't be outwardly condescending.  That never goes well.

  • I had the same thing. My only advice is to keep those who aren't supportive out of the delivery room. During my first labor my mom was watching the monitor every time I got on it for a few minutes, practically bouncing up and down, going, "This is a big one! Does it hurt?!" During my second (stillbirth) one, my friend who was with me kept asking if the contractions were getting "worse." I ended up kicking my mom out of the first one, but the second I explained to my friend that I couldn't answer since it was getting more intense but was never really "bad" at all, and she understood and changed the way she asked. DH was at my first and was very supportive. With the stillbirth he was overseas so I didn't have the choice of kicking out one support person. Assuming you have the choice of your husband being there, just have him and maybe a doula or a friend if you have one who has experience with natural childbirth.
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  • At first I defended the position and got mad. But then I just sort of said...uhha...yeah...and changed the subject. That was the best way for me to get through it. I made sure that only supportive people were with me during the birth. Afterwards, I heard lots of "I knew you could do it!"...lol. Sure.

    No matter what, you have to stick to your guns. Don't let them get you down. They are projecting their bad births on you, and you are not them. Have your wonderful birth and show them how awesome you are. Several times during labor I thought about how I was proving all those people wrong and how proud of myself I was.

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  • You need to start practicing the art of "meh."     When someone says you can't do it (cloth diaper/med-free birth, etc), you say "meh."  There is no reason to justify your choices and there is no reason to discuss them.   It has nothing to do with their lack of faith in you, but everything to do with the "you haven't been there, so you don't know."     The problem is, they have no clue, either.   Everyone is so different and birth is such a crap shoot, that they just assume that you'll need an epidural.   Just go about your business planning and preparing for your birth and don't bother discussing it with them - focus on planning and preparing with your DH.

     btw:  be careful!  Cloth diapering is addictive!!!! 

  • image twest0508:
    Everyone in my family, especially my mom and sister, think that I am utterly insane for not wanting an epidural. It is my first baby, and clearly I don't know exactly what it's going to feel like, but I truly believe that having a natural birth is something I can do. I am the first person that anyone in my family has ever known that has wanted to go natural, and I'm getting a little tired of having to justify my decision. They are incredibly unsupportive, and keep telling me that there's no way I'll be able to do it without drugs (no matter how many times I remind them that women haven't always had drugs available to them, and they were able to do it), and keep telling me not to tell my midwife that I don't want an epidural cause she'll deny me one when I inevitably beg for it. Luckily, my husband is on board, and we're taking a natural childbirth class, and I've been reading a ton of books about natural childbirth. They also think I'm nuts for wanting to use cloth diapers, but that's another story. How did yall deal with unsupportive family or friends?
    I just had a situation crop up like this with negativity too. It was actually with my best friend from back home where I grew up. I expressed to her that I was in the process of changing OBs and hospitals because I didn't agree or feel comfortable with some of their birthing policies. I explained that my OB wasn't supportive of various laboring or delivery positions and that the hospital had a 12 hour labor policy. Also, that I wanted to do all I could to avoid a c/s. She commented that after 12 hours, I'd be too tired anyway and that c-sections are up to the doctor. That told me to just leave it there. So, I just turned the conversation elsewhere. She has two children, both were c/s. Her first was not supposed to be a c/s but due to complications it became one then of course her OB would not agree to a VBAC. She had a terrible experience both times. The second one, she actually went home with an open wound that her husband had to pack for weeks before getting better!! OK, and why wouldn't I want to avoid the possiblity of a c/s?! However, I got the impression that instead of her wanting me to avoid having to go through what she went through, it was almost like because she had to do it I should have to. After she said that I would be too tired after 12 hours of labor (which I am not saying I won't be) I realized that she may not have the same views as me on birth. I do realize that sometimes it's out of your hands as to whether you end up in an emergency c/s but it's the decisions that you make up to that point that do play a big role into whether you will have one or can avoid one. I don't think she understandings that either. I felt like she has her negative experiences to pull from and has never really researched anything different. I thought about maybe engaging the conversation again sometime to give her a different perspect only because I think having her support would be awesome but I don't know. I haven't decided whether I care enough to give it that kind of energy. She has talked about coming down for the birth. If she does I will consider speaking to her again more so that she will know my goals and what to expect as she will probably stay at our house. When she meets a strange woman that's talking to me about my birth plan (our doula), she will understand what's going on. LOL!
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  • image madhatter2003:

    Honestly I'd just ignore them and  not discuss it with them. Find people who do support your choice to discuss with, and keep your family/friends focused on other things like nursery bedding  Stick out tongue

    Seriously, it's your birth. It's your decision to make. Tell them you are simply being prepared in case your epidural doesn't work if nothing else will get them off your back...since that does happen.  

    This. My dad told me that I would "live to regret" not going to a hospital/using an OB/having intervention. He even went so far as to say that my mother (who had a perfect natural childbirth experience with me and loved it) wasn't remembering my birth accurately and was actually miserable. I stopped answering his questions about R?n?n after that. 

    Just don't listen to them. When our babies' bottoms are diaper rash free and we can immediately nurse them after birth, we'll be the smug ones. If they're not going to be supportive they don't need to be involved.  Just tell them, "I feel like these are personal choices that my DH and I are making, so we would rather keep them private for now."

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