4 Reasons Natural Births Are Awesome

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natural-childbirth

Before you start laughing in my face, just know that I already know what you’re thinking and, no, I’m not crazy. Everyone who has ever told you her awful birth story would have you believe that even labor with drugs isn’t always walk in the park, and so natural birth, to stick with the park metaphor, would be like getting held up at gunpoint in front of the sliding board.

Friends, strangers, and every TV show you’ve ever watched have done a good job of showing you that natural birth is the opposite of great. It’s long. It’s painful. It sucks. It makes you say mean things to your husband and contributes to you acting like a complete bi-otch to the nurse. It’s the last thing you ever want to willingly put yourself through. Why on earth would anyone have a baby without drugs? Hell, you’d skip the whole birth thing entirely if there were a different way to pop those kiddos out that didn’t involve showing your hoo-ha to a room full of medical students.

Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that no one tells you, mostly because they don’t know it themselves. Are you ready? Natural birth is, in fact, awesome, and here’s why:

1. Instant recovery.  After you give birth with drugs, you may feel a little disoriented, queasy or feverish. You’ll certainly be bedridden or wobbly for a while if you’ve had an epidural. But if you go au naturale, you will be up and walking your natural-birthing bad ass to the bathroom not long after the last push. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t feel like someone whacked you in the crotch with a baseball bat during that walk, but you are able to get out of bed and to the facilities all by your lonesome, which is especially nice if you were just spread-eagle in front of an entourage of hospital personnel for the good part of the last three hours. Your extended recovery over the next days and weeks will be no sweat, too (barring no other complications during delivery), which will make taking care of your new baby that much easier. But don’t let on that you’re feeling fantastic; you’ll want people to do your laundry and dishes for as long as possible, and helpers will be more willing if they think they’re really needed. Try adding a limp to your walk, or just waddle like you did while you were 9 months pregnant.

2. Birther’s high.  Of course you’ve heard of a runner’s high (or if you’re not a runner, perhaps you’re familiar with….uhhh…other types of highs). I’m a runner — with one marathon and many half marathons under my belt, so I know the amazing feeling of finishing a run, sweat dripping down my face, heaviness in my tired legs. Whether it’s a flat, 2-mile route around my neighborhood or a hilly, 20-mile training session that crosses state lines, the extraordinary sensation of pride and accomplishment that streams out of your pores cannot be matched. Or so I thought. My birther’s high was very similar to my runner’s high when I crossed the finish line of my marathon, only it felt 100 times better. I wouldn’t have thought that was possible after completing my marathon, but achieving my goal of squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a lemon — without drugs — totally changed that. This type of high lasts for weeks, and leaves you wanting to get knocked up again as soon as possible just so you can experience it one more time. Natural birth is like crack for your vagina. People think I’m kidding when I say that, and though I don’t have personal experience with crack, it’s gotta be true.

3. Super alert, nursing-like-a-champ baby. Should you choose to breastfeed, you are less likely to experience early breastfeeding hurdles if you avoided medication during labor. Your baby will come out with her eyes wide open, ready to look at this awesome specimen of a mommy that just got her through the birth canal like no other, with her mouth wide open, ready to wrap little wet lips around your areola. (I feel a little bit like I’m writing erotica right now, but I swear it’s not my intention; just go with it.) This isn’t to say that women who get drugs won’t be successful with breastfeeding; just that a baby who is drug-free at birth may have a tiny little baby leg up.

4. Bragging rights.  Maybe this isn’t the right reason to have a natural birth, but it is a pretty cool byproduct. I especially love it when it comes up in conversation with someone who doesn’t already know that I’m a natural birth enthusiast. Because natural birth has become so rare in this country, it’s so unexpected and people are genuinely impressed. When I go on to say that I actually caught the baby myself (“You mean the doctor didn’t deliver her?!”), the crowd goes wild. Note: your natural birth story becomes more remarkable the longer you were in labor, the less time you spent at the hospital before the baby arrived, and the more the baby weighed at birth.

Are you committed to natural birth yet? No? That’s okay. It wasn’t my goal to convert you. I’m well aware of my pain-killer-loving sister mamas out there, and I’m happy that they have a clear plan for their births, even if it only involves an anesthesiologist and a nap. More power to them. I just hope their epidurals work!

Related post: Unmedicated Childbirth Survival Tips

Comments

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  1. 1

    Kim says

    I hadn’t heard about latching/other breastfeeding issues being one of the possible complications of an epidural. I guess it makes sense. I had to look it up after reading this. Looks like research does show that there is an increased likelihood of latching issues with an epidural. Makes me mad that this is so commonly used, yet the vast majority of hospitals don’t use “laughing gas” – which appears to be much safer. Needing pain management is a totally normal thing!

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    • 2

      britt says

      I chose the epidural without the pain medication in it (only numbing agent) and she latched beautifully! Its the pain medication that causes them to be disoriented and have trouble latching.

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    • 3

      Jules says

      I had regular epidurals with both of mine, and both latched on immediately after birth. The timing worked out well, as my labors were short -ish (3 hours and 2 hours), so not much time for drugs to cross the placenta. Also, I was up walking in less than 20 minutes. It’s such an individual thing, and finding a good doc is key to knowing all of your options re pain meds and pain tolerance. I waited as long as possible before the epi, and, once applied, laughed all the way through both quick deliveries. A great experience all the way around!

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  2. 6

    Ashmedai says

    Oh good heavens, women have been having babies unmedicated for millions of years. Don’t make it sound like you invented the wheel. I rather wish people would do something really noteworthy and would stop over-populating the planet.

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  3. 7

    Lola says

    So true!! I am 3 weeks away from my due date with #2. #1 was all natural, fast&easy but painful of course. Afterwards I felt awesome though. You are in so much pain during pushing but the second the baby is out you are completely pain free and definitely high lol.
    So #2 will be all natural too (if no complications arise).
    I also loved to feel my legs, go to the bathroom alone within an hour after birth, and I recovered within days and felt like my old self again.
    But I know I have a high tolerance for pain which is definitely a good thing if you are planning on a natural birth.
    And just one more thing: in medieval times when scars from war were an honor for men, giving birth was the honor for women. I hope I said that right (English is not my first language). My husband who is a veteran was so amazed by me giving birth without medication that I sometimes have the feeling he was even prouder than me lol.

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    • 8

      jess says

      I had an epi and I experienced almost all of those. They don’t let you out of bed for an hour after the baby comes they use that for skin to skin time so I could walk.
      My baby was wide awake and didn’t cry after being put in my arms and latched right away.
      I was on a high and didn’t sleep for 2 days and didn’t need or want coffee.
      I don’t have any bragging rights though :)
      I am proud of any mama who can do it without drugs… I am not one and have no desire to try, I’m a chicken.
      I just wanted to chip in and say I had a lot of those great things too… I don’t want someone to read and feel like they might miss out on these great things or feel like a failure because they chose the drugs.
      And I do know this was never the intention of writer.
      Again I am in awe of those of you who are brave where I am not

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      • 9

        Susan says

        I tried for a natural birth but it didn’t work out and ended up with an epi. I also experienced the first three. I nursed my very alert son immediately and by the time I got up about an hour later I could walk just fine. I think there are plenty of wonderful reasons to do natural birth, but I don’t think it is unusual to experience the first three even if you have an epi.

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      • 10

        says

        Ditto, as well. Babies nursed immediately after birth, and I was up walking after 20 minutes. Last time I checked, they don’t hand out awards for natural births, though to each his own! :-)

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  4. 11

    Kim says

    Everybody said I was crazy for wanting a natural birth. My baby never turned so I had to deliver him the wrong way after a lot of discussion with the hospital they let me have a natural birth, no Csection no meds. I’m always so proud when people ask me about my so s birth, and my husband well he always tells me how proud he is of me for sticking with my plan for natural birth eventho everybody told me it was impossible

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    • 12

      Laurie says

      I was told that I shouldn’t have a vaginal birth because it looked like my son was going to weigh over 11 pounds. Not only was I told I shouldn’t but that I *couldn’t* because my daughter had only been 6.12. After I gave birth to my son (at home) I wanted to call the OB and be like, “told you I could do it!” (He ended up only being 9.11, not 11lbs)

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  5. 13

    il mom says

    you even saying #4 is the reason people don’t like you and your kind. really, it’s not an effing contest. you brought home a healthy baby the same as the moms who didn’t “go natural”. that should be the single reason on your list. but thanks for continuing to fight the mommy wars battle and think that your phantom “bragging rights” are something to be proud of. you birthed a human, good for you, it doesn’t matter how. when will people get that through their heads? IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW!

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    • 14

      says

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on my article. I’m sorry to hear that you don’t like me “and my kind” (what kind is that exactly? ALL women who have natural birth? Sounds a little like you’re perpetuating the Mommy Wars). I am in fact proud of the way I gave birth – I did a ton of research, decided what was right for me, and then took active steps to give myself the best chance of achieving my goal – and then I did exactly that. It was really, really hard, but I did it, and I’m not afraid to say I am very proud of myself. You are right though that it’s not a contest, and I wish a heartfelt congratulations to anyone who becomes a mother, no matter how she does it. But please know that birth DOES MATTER. I sincerely hope for every mother that she has a safe, informed, respectful and empowering experience when giving birth to her children, regardless of what interventions she chooses or that become necessary. And for those who aren’t so lucky to have such an experience for whatever reason, I hope they find the support they need to heal. My article might be a little tongue-and-cheek about the benefits of a drug-free birth, but I am quite serious when I say that birth is not just about bringing home a healthy baby, and it does matter.

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      • 15

        Brook says

        I had 2 C-sections, and I’m proud of the way I gave birth, too. It was medically necessary in both situations, the 2nd one being an emergency as I was bleeding out. I was scared to death and would have much rather had natural births both times. It was not easy, it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t dignified and I barely got to see my babies, especially the 2nd time, until hours later. It was hard, it was actually pretty awful, but it was necessary…it was also 2 out of 7 surgeries I have had in the last 4 years and really hated having to recover yet again both times, however, not in a million years would I have done it differently. It saved my babies lives and probably mine. You’re right, birth does matter, but that it happens in whatever way the Mom wants, but that it happens in the best way to bring a healthy baby into the world, the healthy baby in the world because of the way it was born, that’s what matters. (Of course the way the Mom wants if it is possible, but it isn’t always) I didn’t think your post was too judgey, but this comment kinda changed my mind. I hope this comment doesn’t seem rude though, just stating my opinion in a possibly argumentative, but friendly manner. :) And despite having one miscarriage and 2 C-sections, I still feel pretty damn empowered, and not one person can look at my two toddlers and say “Oh, those were C-section babies.” They can’t say that they were mostly formula fed either, but I guess that’s another topic for another day.

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        • 17

          says

          Hi Brook,
          First, thanks for your comment and for being friendly :) I didn’t mean to infer that the only way to have an empowered experience is to have a natural birth – exactly the opposite! As long as the mother feels her voice was heard, she was informed of her choices, etc., ANY type of birth experience can be empowering. I’m glad you feel good about yours, even if they went down a path you hadn’t planned.
          -Lauren

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      • 18

        il mom says

        way to put words in my mouth. “reason” #4 is completely made up and 100% unnecessary and makes you look like a bitch, regardless of if you are one or not. yes, you are perpetuating the mommy-wars by posting that.be proud of your birth, didn’t say you shouldn’t be, but why lord it over anyone else? who are you bragging to? the moms who choose medication? the moms who choose or by emergency need a c-section? so no, the way a child is birthed DOES NOT MATTER. your argument is irrelevant. is your baby safe and healthy? so is mine and so are the millions of others born every day involving any combination of “natural” or drugs or surgery. YOU are the one putting yourself on a pedestal, and you and others like you are the kinds of moms i do not like and i shouldn’t have to like you. maybe if you didn’t “brag”, i would like you, but you lost all credibility with even listing #4. why is what anyone does with her vagina any of your business?

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      • 19

        Angie says

        I think articles like these can be unintentionally incredibly hurtful and your comment even worse. Remember there are women who do everything right, read the blogs, books practice the techniques and have birth to horribly wrong. I almost killed myself and my 2nd daughter because of blogs like this, because I was so determined to do it the “right” way and that was wrong for me. FWIW my 2 natural births involved a collective 10 hours of pushing, severe shoulder dystocia and me almost bleeding out on the table. I can assure you if did not get a medal nor did I have a “natural birth high”. My babies were whisked away to be observed for birth injuries, my husband was pushed to the corner of the room and they are the scariest memories I have. Whereas my 2 inductions with epidurals were my 3rd and 4th pregnancies were calm, relaxed births where I caught my 3rd baby in m arms, she sent right to my chest and never moved. My twin birth was very similar to my 3rd. I did have a birth high after those births, I had done it, Jo one had to help me pry my baby from my body, it wasn’t scary I just welcomed my babies in a relaxed and calm environment.

        Please remember that all stories are different. Sometimes it isn’t a choice and sometimes a natural hith can be pretty freaking miserable.

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    • 20

      Mamateach says

      Talk about perpetuating mommy wars. How does one person’s pride take away from another’s? Every woman should brag about thier ability to birth a child.

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      • 21

        Mamateach says

        Talk about perpetuating mommy wars. How does one person’s pride take away from another’s? Every woman should brag about their ability to birth a child.

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        • 23

          DD says

          Not all women are capable of birth, I think you all should just be happy you have healthy children. There are too many women out there yearning for a child that cannot have one or have lost one. So this debate about how to or not to give birth is pretty trivial. If you think you are a badass because you went natural good for you, but I don’t really think it is something to brag about to others that just wish they had any type of chance of giving birth.

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  6. 25

    says

    The idea of a medicated birth scares me way more than a natural birth. All of the birthing horror stories I’ve heard started with “after I was induced…” or “after the epidural…” and often end with “… after 24 hours of agony” or “… then I had to have a C.” Why sign up for that mess when you don’t have to? My body was built to give birth. I’m going to let it have a solid go at it before I let anyone intervene.

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    • 26

      il mom says

      that’s interesting, because i know a girl who had a baby last month, went all natural, had 24 hours+ of labor, the baby was in distress, they were prepping her for a C and then the baby came out fast and ripped her to holy hell, and was in the nicu for 2 weeks due to breathing problems. thankfully is doing fine at home now.

      my point? don’t generalize. problems arise so quickly in ALL scenarios.

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  7. 27

    3rd time says

    I had and epidural with my first and it didn’t last after the 3 different times they up’d the dose. My second I had natural and she came out face up which hurt worse. This time around with my 3rd and last one finally a boy I am going all natural again unless the need arises! I can completely agree with the high you get and the bragging rights. None of my babies have been under 9lbs. This day and age everyone want the easiest quickest way. I want to be able to look back and say WOW look what I did. Plus it is great to be able to get up 30-45 minutes after and not feel wobbly! But in the end its up to you how you want to proceed with your labor …. I am totally for natural all the way!

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  8. 28

    Brook says

    While these all may be true, no one actually likes a natural birth bragger, so it might make you feel good to brag, but it makes everyone else want to pull at your hair. ;)

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    • 29

      Lola says

      Why is it ok to write posts about how great breastfeeding is and that you are so proud of hanging in there blablabla but as soon as you are proud of your all natural birth experience you are a bragger?!?!?! That annoys me so much!
      It is a personal post about a personal point of view…she is not saying anything mean or disrespectul to moms who had their babies via c-section or with an epidural. So let her be:-)

      And if people ask me I will tell them about my easy all natural birth. Way better than all the horror stories anyway. Actually a lot of first-time-moms-to-be told me how encouraging my story is to them.

      And I think it is very clear that the most important thing is a healthy baby. That was not the point of this post.

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      • 30

        Katy says

        To be perfectly honest, I think it’s incredibly insensitive to brag about your breastfeeding ability as well as if it is the be all and end all to doing what is best for your baby. A lot of mothers want to breastfeed and physically can’t. Nothing is more heartbreaking than feeling like there are accusations that you should “try harder” when you can’t (or don’t want to).

        Both of these situations, how you give birth and how you feed your baby, are so deeply personal and circumstantial that it would be a whole lot better if we could all just get it done the best way we can and stop the judgement all around.

        Bragging about any of this is hurtful and is so unnecessary to the entire process. Pregnancy and childbirth can be hard, and pregnancy and afterbirth hormones are so strong and the effects of all of this judgmental information coming from all directions is such a challenge to process. We are all just doing the best we can and should have the support to feel confident in our decisions about birth and how we move forward raising our children.

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        • 32

          Adrianne says

          And Katy, with my third child I had such horrible postpartum-depression that I had to feed him with a bottle in order to get on medication after he was 8 weeks old. It was heart-breaking and the judgements I saw in people’s eyes did not help. I am just now starting to make eye contact with people again. you are right, it is deeply personal and should not be judged by others.

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