Written by Nazhah Khawaja
“You are built for this.” “Women endure silently.” “You don’t need drugs.”
I’m tired of the shaming, the blaming, and the maiming. When did I ask for your opinion on my birthing plan for my body, and my child? The choices that I make for my ease, comfort, and safetyare solely MY choices. I have a right to them. I have researched them, consulted with medical professionals about them, and have come to an educated, well thought-out conclusion. My choices are neither lazy, nor haphazardly decided. More importantly, my choices are none of your damn business. Please stop making it your damn business. You are not a ‘stronger’ woman for choosing to have a natural birth. I am not a ‘weaker’ woman for choosing the drugs.
The epidural does not dictate a woman’s aptitude. Why women choose to shame other women for their choices I will never understand. This shaming that women engage in is more unnatural than the epidural in my opinion. The type of bullying, and verbaland emotional abuse that occurs pre and post labor is distasteful nonsense. The arrival of a precious, little life should be welcomed with only the softest of sounds, and the tenderest of expressions. Leave the rest at the door. Swallow it. Keep it to yourself.
“You shouldn’t get an epidural.” “You should try without an epidural.” “You don’t need an epidural.”
No noise from the penis gallery please! Unless you all grew a vagina, impregnated yourself, carried a baby in your new-found uterus for months, grew a placenta to nourish that baby, have overly sensitive nipples, developed stretch marks, have kankles, and have forever altered your hormonal balance, you all can shut the eff up and sit your stupid asses down about the topic of epidurals because your opinion sure as hell does not matter. I do not care what you think a woman should do, how she should proceed, or what choices she should make. If you knew what was good for you, you would keep your mouths shut, extend a tender hand and heart to your women. Support them with encouraging words, and reassuring gestures. Show support for their decisions. Share their pain, share their worries and help to make possible that which is important to them.
“Choosing a natural birth shows strength.” “Natural is best for you and for baby.”
How can you qualify these claims? What about the research that suggests women who experience less pain during laborhave a lower risk for postpartum depression? An article published in Shape.com discusses a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. In the study, researchers found that “postpartum depression was less common in women who had epidurals that were effective at relieving pain.” Yes, we are aware that there are many factors which contribute to postpartum depression, and we are also aware that there are very real risks of receiving an epidural. Ultimately, the point is that the decision to receive or not to receive is the mothers’ paired with the expertise and advice of her gynecologist. How you feel about it is most definitely irrelevant.
ABOUT NAZHAH KHAWAJA