I had my first baby at age 23, nearly a year after I moved 2000 miles away from all of my family and friends. I was very isolated, we didn't have the Internet back then
, and I didn't know anything. I didn't read a single book about birth, pregnancy, labor or anything. I just did what my doctors told me. (I do remember being scolded frequently for my weight gain, even though I was underweight prior to pregnancy.) Fortunately for me, the hospital I birthed at did not have an anesthesiologist on staff for giving epidurals, so getting an epi was not an option for me. I remember knowing that my mother and sister both had epidurals, and worrying what it would be like for me without one, but I wasn't overly worried about doing without. I took a Lamaze class (and ended up hyperventilating during labor
) but that was the extent of my preparation. I had a natural labor and vaginal delivery with no medication and the only intervention was an episiotomy, which I neither was told about nor consented to prior to it being done to me.
Contrast that with my latest two babies, when I was 38 and 40 years old respectively. I read voraciously, like 5 pregancy books. I was online all the time (so the development of the Internet definitely made a difference; maybe if we'd had it back in 1987 I would have been better informed); I took Bradley birth classes, and researched everything. Again, my births were natural, unmedicated vaginal deliveries --- all with episiotomies because the scar from the first one somehow necessitated doing it again for the 2nd and 3rd babies.
So, no, I didn't learn about birth choices before my first child. Not at all.