i wasn't sure at first if i wanted to get an epidural or not. it seemed like the general consensus with people i knew that had kids was that i should definitely get one and not make their mistake of trying to see if i could go without. but part of me still wanted to know how much my body could handle, to see how far i could push myself. i did some research into the pros and cons, and then someone said something that threw me firmly into camp drugs.
"your body was made to do this. real women don't need epidurals."
my feathers immediately ruffled, my feminist senses started tingling, my innate stubbornness flared up. because i'm sorry, but what? "real women?" puh-lease.
i have nothing against people who want to have a drug-free birth. i completely understand people who are too scared of the possible complications to take the risk. but i take great issue with those who think that epidurals are taking the easy way out, "cheating," or basically handing over your "real woman" card.
and that got me to thinking. if epidurals and labor and delivery were not exclusive to women, would this even be an issue? has anyone ever said that "real women" don't need any numbing drugs (i am completely blanking on the name) when getting a root canal? are we saying that "real men" don't take nyquil because their bodies were meant to fight off colds? no. because medicine was invented to help us through something painful, and taking it is pretty much the natural thing to do. so why are epidurals any different? suddenly, wanting to see how high my pain tolerance is just seemed like another situation in which i was trying to prove my strength, prove that i am not weak, not frail, not female.
there are a lot of really good, really valid reasons to not get an epidural. trying to prove that you are a real woman is not one of them. (trying to prove anything is not a very good reason to do something in my opinion.) i ultimately decided to get the epidural for a lot of reasons, but i'm not gonna lie, being stubborn might have been one of them.