Well first of all, it does no one any good to think of this as an us versus them thing. It is not mainstreamers versus crunchy mamas. We are all women here. Some of us know more than others, is all.
I was told all about the epidural I was going to be given because I had to be induced (yes I had to be, long story) but I really did not listen too well as I was in severe pain. I had back labor, severe and disabling contractions, and my tailbone was breaking. I think a lot of mamas are worried about the pain and they are told the complications but since they are less than previous pain relief methods (my mom "slept" through giving birth to me
: ) they do not think about it much. They are just really worried about the pain. Pain is a funny thing in this culture; it is really feared and thought of as needing to be controlled. Many moms think that they will not be able to handle the pain and that the epidural is not doing that much to their child but that it will offer them a lot of relief. It is presented that way, that it is not too bad for the baby but it will offer the mom relief. So, the mom thinks of it that way. She wants pain relief and there are not many other options presented. It is not the mom's fault but the docs and the medicalization of birth. Doctors are all ruled by the insurance industry and they fear, rightfully so, lawsuits. So, they go overboard in their treatment of birth as an event needing to be controlled. My own OB had to stop delivering babies a year after mine was born because she could no longer afford the insurance premiums. It is a screwed up world.
So, don't fault and belittle the mom. She has enough on her shoulders right now and needs your support not ridicule. Just politely inform her of other options and give her some reading material and maybe some midwife recommendations.
And, I think referring to this as a parenting choice is a strange choice of words. I can see where one might think that making the choice to have an epidural might also mean the mom is going to be putting herself first even after the baby is born. But, don't forget that most baby books tell her that. So, again, it is not her fault but the result of a lack of information. So, it is not really a parenting choice but a result of lack of information and/or incomplete information. I, for one, had an epidural and am still very crunchy in my parenting.
But it is really odd that she thinks her baby loved the epidural. How in the heck could she even begin to ascertain that? Did she commune with the baby telepathically or something? Maybe she is on pain meds and nursing and passing it to the babe. They both might be so high that nothing is a problem. Hope that baby is all right.