Banalization of Epidurals - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 78 Old 02-11-2005, 09:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by redsonya
I think you're being over sensitive. You shouldn't be judgemental of women who choose pain meds (notice I used the word "choose--" pain meds should never be pushed or forced on a woman). I also doubt those stupid ads (and I've seen that awful bank commercial) will make any woman think she has to have an epidural.

What bothers me most about that ad is that the couple looks very financially comfortable, I'll eat my hat if that imaginary couple didn't have health insurance. It's a stupid premise.
I agree
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#62 of 78 Old 02-11-2005, 09:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Greaseball
Other than for a c-section, is there any medical reason why someone needs an epidural? Since many of us have given birth without one, we all know that it hurts, so it's hard to accept "too much pain" as a reason.
people experience pain differently so this is hardly an argument.
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#63 of 78 Old 02-11-2005, 10:08 PM
 
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I was just discussing epidurals with my midwife this evening. Or rather, they came up when we were talking about the transformative nature of birth.

Laboring and giving birth was for me a life-changing event. No, I didn't have a pain-free childbirth. No, I didn't have a trauma-free childbirth. Yes, it was the most painful thing I've ever done (possibly close to being drawn and quartered, though I'm not certain as I've never been drawn and quartered). No, I didn't feel fabulous and empowered afterwards. I didn't think it was fun. I didn't feel like I could climb Everest or like I had climbed Everest. I felt like I survived childbirth, and that I'd barely survived it at that.

However, given a little time I began to realize what I had done during my labor. For the first time in my life I was totally in my body. For the first time ever, I was completely, irrevocably in the moment. I gave myself over to the force of my body and my body worked just as it was supposed to. Given time, I came to realize just how amazing I am for having done it. Given time, I came to use birth as the metaphor that informs how I live my life. I gave in to the nature of what I needed and what my body needed. I healed past sexual traumas by owning my body for the first time. I birthed myself as a mother and was made a confident mother for it. I believed in the knowledge of my body and my baby and that gave us the confidence we needed to become a couple and to face our first, quite difficult year together.

Because of birth, I now know how to take what is given to me and deal with it however I can. Because of giving birth, I trust my instinct in a way I didn't before. Because of giving birth, I want to do it again. Even though I know it sucks. It is the ultimate metaphor for everything. It is the rite of passage written again and again into every religion. It is the beginning of life.

What happens when we anesthetize ourselves to that? What happens to the process when we cannot feel it? Birth is a deeply psychic, emotional journey - I just can't understand wanting to not be present for it, wanting to avoid the experience.

Note that I am not saying that all epidurals are bad. I am questioning the psychological side effects that may result from the choice for the sake of the choice. I do believe in the compassionate use of drugs in childbirth. I also believe, however, that home is the best place to birth and that hospitals make birth an unnatural experience in the first place, though I also understand that individuals make these choices for deeply personal and very different reasons.

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#64 of 78 Old 02-13-2005, 03:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Greaseball
Other than for a c-section, is there any medical reason why someone needs an epidural? Since many of us have given birth without one, we all know that it hurts, so it's hard to accept "too much pain" as a reason.
I'll give you one that I think is appropriate. My best friend was full term and stopped feeling movement. US found no heartbeat. Labor was induced. She wanted an epidural, I don't blame her. Unfortunately, and for reasons never explained, the anesthiesiologist did not give her complete relief so she still had to deal with some of the pain of birth, while also dealing with her own pain of accepting the stillbirth.
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#65 of 78 Old 02-13-2005, 04:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CalgonMoment
I'll give you one that I think is appropriate. My best friend was full term and stopped feeling movement. US found no heartbeat. Labor was induced. She wanted an epidural, I don't blame her. Unfortunately, and for reasons never explained, the anesthiesiologist did not give her complete relief so she still had to deal with some of the pain of birth, while also dealing with her own pain of accepting the stillbirth.
Good point - I can't believe I forgot that one. I would most definitely have an epidural if I knew I were having a stillbirth. I'd probably take every drug I could possibly get.
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#66 of 78 Old 02-13-2005, 09:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annakiss
However, given a little time I began to realize what I had done during my labor. For the first time in my life I was totally in my body. For the first time ever, I was completely, irrevocably in the moment. I gave myself over to the force of my body and my body worked just as it was supposed to. Given time, I came to realize just how amazing I am for having done it.
well, great for you but it's not true for far too many women.
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#67 of 78 Old 02-13-2005, 10:54 PM
 
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Anna, I just wanted to say thanks for a beautiful post! You've made me even more excited about my planned homebirth after having had a standard, epidural, etc, hospital birth with my son.
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#68 of 78 Old 02-14-2005, 12:21 AM
 
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As with so many other topics lately, it seems that so many people are hung up on 'who is judging whom' that the point brought up was the fact that epidurals have become 'the norm' to the point that it has become a basic assumption. Giving birth without an epidural has become almost 'demonized' in many places (I work in one!), seen as something that only a masochist would want and not a realistic goal for almost all. Furthermore, natural childbirth is devalued as being *meaningless* and *pointless*. Can we work from those ideas as a starting point?
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#69 of 78 Old 02-14-2005, 12:38 AM
 
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"As with so many other topics lately, it seems that so many people are hung up on 'who is judging whom' "

I agree - and I think the reply to annakiss saying "well, great for you but" was pretty devaluing of her input and experience. Nobody here seems to be saying "no one should have an epidural," but simply musing over whether giving birth unmedicated has any merits and wondering how having complete pain relief seems to have entered the mainstream as the norm.

Giving birth to 4 children unmedicated has been the most transforming experiences of my life. My first birth changed forever how I view my body - as I previously had pretty poor self-image. But growing my amazing son in my body, and laboring and pushing him into the world without medications or other assistance proved to me that my body was amazing and wonderful.

I recognize that this is not everyone's experience of childbirth. I wouldn't dream of insisting everyone needs to do it as I did. Hopefully, though, those who had different experiences can understand that there was value in what I did and what I gained from the experience.
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#70 of 78 Old 02-14-2005, 01:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by huggerwocky
well, great for you but it's not true for far too many women.
Granted, but why is that? Birth is one of the greatest metaphors in storytelling the world over. The birth of the world, the birth of Adam, of Eve, of the universe out Visnu's navel... It is the beginning of everything, of existence... I would venture to say that most women are transformed by it in some way or another. The days of the births of our children are some of the most important days of our lives, and not just for us AP/NFL mamas dedicated to natural living. To not fully experience that is, imo, to miss out on a part of what we cherish, part of what we celebrate.

Does perhaps anesthetisizing oneself to the act hinder or spoil the transformation? If left to follow our instincts in natural childbirth without the interruption of a drive across town or bright lights or cold hands or laying on our backs half paralyzed, would we perhaps be more in touch with ourselves as the birthers of our species, as the bringers of life, the gateway for existence? Would we be more inclined to see and appreciate ourselves as such? Is it really just luck that my experience transformed me? Is there really no point to the natural childbirth movement at all then?

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#71 of 78 Old 02-14-2005, 02:38 PM
 
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Good point - I can't believe I forgot that one. I would most definitely have an epidural if I knew I were having a stillbirth. I'd probably take every drug I could possibly get.
You might not. I gave birth to my son after being induced with pitocin without an epidural and I THANK G-D that I was able to give birth naturally. As painful as it was to know that I was giving birth to a dead child, I am so thankful that I got to experience the transformative, healing power of childbirth. He moved through my body without me even doing anything and it was the most amazing thing I've ever felt in my life. Because of that, I have been able to have beauty as a part of my birth experience with him and I look forward to doing it again in the future. I was already numb from grief and I'm so glad that I wasn't numb in my body. Interestingly, the m/w who was attending me ordered and epidural thinking she should try and "save me from the pain" and I had to work through my intense anger at her for almost taking away the experience I had been preparing for my entire pg.

When your child gets taken away from you by death, you place even more value on the little time you did share with them while they were inside your body and I am happy to say that I can relate to other moms who talk about the transformative nature of the experience of natural childbirth.
Thank goodness.
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#72 of 78 Old 02-15-2005, 12:53 AM
 
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ST - you are one of the coolest mamas I "know"
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#73 of 78 Old 02-15-2005, 02:27 AM
 
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can I just say that I never knew what banalization meant until I saw this thread!
What a cool word!
okay sorry about that interjection. Continue...

Mama to 5 babies. UCer, too!
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#74 of 78 Old 02-18-2005, 12:56 AM
 
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This is my very first post here! Probably silly to start on page 4 of a thread, but...

I just wanted to add that I'm a teacher (high school English and creative writing) and my 14 year-old students asked the other day if I'm planning on an epidural. And when I said no, I got the same smug "just you wait" that I've gotten from just about every adult on the planet. Talk about banal.

On the other hand, maybe it gives me more confidence to ignore the adults--the kids are necessarily ignorant since none of them have done it yet.
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#75 of 78 Old 02-18-2005, 02:04 PM
 
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simply musing over whether giving birth unmedicated has any merits and wondering how having complete pain relief seems to have entered the mainstream as the norm.
Yeah, I've seen some here say they don't want others to make them feel bad for having an epi. That is a bummer but sure doesn't happen where I come from. Where I come from you are nuts for NOT having one. Around here you are looked down upon for having a natural birth. Don't even mention homebirth! Shoot. They act like I am trying to harm my child or myself or something....treat it like I'm abusing myself. Sick and tired of that. Why not just go to the hospital so you can have drugs they say....you could die....Treat me like I am ignorant and selfish for going all natural and at home. Sigh, whatever.

Stay at home wife to Jason for 7 years Mama to Larissa Mae 2 years old :, Gavin Clay 7 months :, and Neveah Ann April 24, 2005 to July 13, 2007 ED for my food allergic babe. :::
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#76 of 78 Old 02-18-2005, 09:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by doctorjen
"I agree - and I think the reply to annakiss saying "well, great for you but" was pretty devaluing of her input and experience.

Excuse me? I was pointing out that birth is NOT the magical-great moment for MOSt women.How is that devaluating HER experience? It just sounded that women "seldomly" felt the opposite of what she described.
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#77 of 78 Old 02-18-2005, 09:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by huggerwocky
Excuse me? I was pointing out that birth is NOT the magical-great moment for MOSt women.How is that devaluating HER experience? It just sounded that women "seldomly" felt the opposite of what she described.
Every woman I know counts her birth among the most life-changing events in her life. In fact, I have gone on to expound upon this idea even with those who choose in-hospital births - most women (and no, I haven't done studies) count the days of the births of her children among the most important days in her life. It tends to be right up there with graduations and weddings and funerals. That seems pretty self-evident to me. Am I missing something?

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#78 of 78 Old 02-18-2005, 09:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annakiss
Granted, but why is that? Birth is one of the greatest metaphors in storytelling the world over. The birth of the world, the birth of Adam, of Eve, of the universe out Visnu's navel...
Well,maybe it is a mixture of people being less spiritual than you and an unsupportive society.

Even here at MDC I feel like the focus is always on the baby.Let's be honest, as long as women have to hear "oh well, as long as the baby is ok" childbirth is not going to gain in meaning. I say there needs to be more focus on the mothers, they are not just a means to an end.
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