Should You Just ‘Get The Epidural’? Maybe

The important thing is leaving Labor and Delivery with a healthy mama and baby. The rest is details (gypsywingstofly.tumblr.com).

The important thing is leaving Labor and Delivery with a healthy mama and baby. The rest is just details (gypsywingstofly.tumblr.com).

The New York Times recently published an article arguing women should have no qualms about routinely ordering epidurals during childbirth. Several of The Federalist’s female contributors discuss.

If Mommy and Baby Are Healthy, You’re Golden

Melissa Langsam Braunstein

Jessi Klein’s op-ed “Get the Epidural,” reminded me of “Odd Mom Out,” Bravo’s loving send-up of life on New York’s Upper East Side, a.k.a., #ChampagneProblems Central. In particular, the op-ed reminded me of an episode where Jill, the main character, visits Brooklyn and can’t believe how different it is.

For a time, Jill’s smitten with Brooklyn, where we’re led to believe that every mother births naturally and breastfeeds forever—think elementary school—because it’s New York’s hippie land. Meanwhile, the Upper East Side is portrayed as a living, breathing Vogue cover. There, the women always schedule their C-sections before nannies raise their newborns, so mothers can return to busy social calendars.

Klein’s piece had moments of humor and poignancy, but it also felt unnecessarily defensive at times. Perhaps that’s the author’s responding to her Brooklyn neighbors? She may feel judged by those around her for the choices she’s made. Of course, to parent in modern America is to be judged; ideally, you just ignore the unhelpful commenters. In most of America, Klein’s choice seems to be overwhelmingly popular.

I took the more Brooklyn-esque route. I have had two natural births—the first in Boston and the second here in DC—driven largely by my discomfort with the thought of (voluntary) partial paralysis. The nurses who checked on me after my first birth all started the post-epidural protocols on auto-pilot, then stopped. I finally asked how atypical it was that I’d labored without pain medication. The nurse replied that only 10 percent of women who came through her large teaching hospital did that, and I suspect the number is similarly low here in DC.

Most places I go, I’m the odd one out, and that’s okay. I felt empowered trusting my body to do what it was built to do and was fortunate not to have particularly complicated deliveries. In the end though, my experience was my experience. The real goal is to leave Labor and Delivery with a healthy mama and baby. So ladies, who cares what other people think? This is your first major parenting decision. Go with your gut.

The complete article appeared in The Federalist.

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