Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Give Me the Drugs!

I am not one of those women who thinks that men cannot have any valid opinions about pain relief during childbirth simply because of their Y chromosomes, though anyone who tries to tell me that labor pain is God's punishment for Eve taking the first bite of the apple, or worse, that labor pain is psychological and that it's not in God's plan for a woman to have an epidural (I actually know of a man who believed this nonsense and would not allow his wife to have any pain relief during labor, even when she was becoming hysterical from the pain) deserves a swift kick in the behind (or perhaps some other sensitive area). But I would certainly take the advice and wishes of my husband and my doctor into account. And then I would do whatever I darn well please, because ain't nobody going to get between me and my epidural, if that's what I want.

But, there are consequences to pain relief during labor, or so says Dr. Denis Walsh, associate professor of midwifery at Nottingham University. And no, they aren't the usual things you've heard about, like harmful effects on the infant or extended recovery time. Dr. Walsh says labor pain "prepares a mother for the responsibility of nurturing a newborn baby" and that it is a "rite of passage" and "a purposeful, useful thing". According to him, you won't bond as well with your infant if you cave in to the drugs, so suck it up, ladies, and push that watermelon out medication-free!

I'm so glad my inability to bond with Michael has finally been explained! I mean, not only did I get an evil epidural, I ended hours and hours of labor with a c-section and lived on percocet and naproxen afterwards. It's no wonder I don't like my son.

Gah! It's a good thing I do not know this man in person, because I'm not sure I would be able to stop myself from slapping him.

Certainly labor pain serves a purpose; so does pain when a dentist drills into your tooth. But that doesn't mean it's necessary to have root canal work done without anesthetic. And as I am a research freak when it comes to things like childbirth, I've read plenty and know plenty about the pros and cons of drug-free delivery. The fact is that this isn't the dark ages of childbirth anymore. Doctors don't knock out mothers as their babies are crowning or load them up on dangerous medications anymore. Epidurals have been proven safe for mother and baby. And any idiot professor who tries to tell me I won't bond as well with my baby if I opt for pain relief during labor better have a huge stack of very persuasive research right behind him, otherwise he would be wise to shut up.

Come on, labor pain is necessary to prepare a mother for the responsibility of nurturing her newborn? Give me a break! As if she hasn't been nurturing it for the last nine months? Buying clothes, preparing the nursery, reading baby books and obsessing over every little thing she puts in her mouth?

I will bond with any children I may have just fine, thank you, with or without the drugs.

But if you try to stand in my way of getting an epidural, you better watch out for a flying bedpan!


mean aunt said...

wow-this totally makes sense! It explains why no fathers ever bond with their children!

MyDonkeySix said...

That is pretty stupid. How would a man know that drugs keep you from bonding with a child? Has he ever done it? Like women needs something more to feel guilty about.

Twinkies said...

Amen sista. What would he know about pain and bonding when all he gets to do is the fun part. Good thing he's across the pond or he'd have a few too many visitors and a higher voice.

Sara said...

Wow. In all the reading I've done about natural childbirth (epidural is not an option for me this go-round), I've yet to see THIS argument. What a load of nonsense!

If that was truly the case there would be two generations of women who didn't bond with their children, as a result of being totally knocked unconscious while giving birth.

Besides, what does he know anwyay?