I used to think that women who had epidurals or c-sections were missing out on something important. I actually felt sorry for them before I realized how ignorant I was.
See I was looking at things from the only perspective I had. I had only my own birth experiences to guide me. I wasn’t really qualified to have an opinion on what happens emotionally (or physically) to other women who choose medication because I hadn’t experienced that.
Somewhere along the way, my mind opened up. I realized I wasn’t seeing things clearly. And until I could understand and accept pregnancy and birth as a transformation for every woman, I was the one missing out. And I would be useless to others because of my poor judgment.
And when I made a point to focus on and let go of my judgment, from beginning to end, it was different.
I talked to women about their experiences, keeping my mind as quiet as possible and open, to allow in new information. I read articles and stories in books. And I realized transformation won’t always take the same form. It happens to everyone, but it won’t always look the same.
All women are transformed and affected by their experiences. How could they not be? Every woman has the opportunity to grow into herself more fully during pregnancy and birth, but that doesn’t mean every woman will make the same choices for labor that I did, or that they should. After all, many of my choices during my first pregnancy would have made any midwife cringe & shake her head.
I am a firm believer that women should be supported in making choices that fit who they are, not pressured into whatever box is convenient for those around them with the loudest opinion. And that was the thought that forced my prior opinion right over the edge of oblivion where it belongs.
All women should feel confident making choices for their labor and birth that help make them feel safe. It is only when we feel safe that our bodies can open up fully to birth. And if the availability of pain meds makes a woman feel safe, she should have access to them.
Do I still think many women are not supported in honestly exploring all options? Yes.
Do I hope more women, especially first-time moms, take a passionate stance for their needs and desires for birth? Yes.
But I realize that my opinion and judgment, about anyone else’s private business, only hinders the real aim of my heart: that women feel powerful in birthing their children. By allowing women to confidently embrace what fits today, women can be more empowered in their choices.
And no matter what details I may wish for myself, my real wish for every pregnant woman is an environment where she is safe & supported, and a confident inner peace, in which to transition to motherhood.