Lately, I've been running across a lot of media that makes me feel like less of a mother. Seriously, stop judging my choices, society. I'm tired of hearing that my child will be stunted because my milk supply disappeared. I'm tired of "natural childbirth this" and "prenatal yoga" that. I'm sick of people acting like your labor experience is only valid if it's "long, arduous and difficult." And I'm especially sick of people acting like they are better mothers because they felt every contraction. It's not right to make your birth or parenting choices because of others' expectation for you. As one commenter on that blog pointed out, "I often feel like there is an implication that any child who isn't born "naturally" is to be pitied, or will suffer irreperable harm." I mean, come on, people! If the baby is happy and healthy, who gives a flying fuck how it got here??
I had an epidural. I was young and scared. Oh, my God, I was so scared. How can I possibly explain what it feels like to go into labor with no coach, no particular doctor, no proud papa and no place to call a home of your own? How can I describe what it was like to get up at 4 a.m., after enduring twelve hours of contractions alone and in the dark, and smell the blood before I even saw it? I. Was. Terrified.
So, yeah. I had an epidural. And it was a great decision for me. I vaguely remember telling my anesthesiologist that I loved him. And when breastfeeding was more painful than labor and I started seeing pieces of my nipple sticking to my nursing bra when I took it off, I let it go. And you know what? I'm a better mom because of it. I was able to bond with my daughter instead of crying every time she needed to eat. I was able to sleep during my labor so I had the energy to push when the time came.
I'm just don't want to be anonymous anymore, so I'm coming out: I had an epidural. And I love my child. Those two aren't mutually exclusive.