My baby girl turned two today, which pretty much blows my mind. She and I are, in a healthy way, joined at the hip. I have trouble remembering a time when I didn’t have my little Mini-Me following me about. Seriously, she is a little version of me, especially since I “accidentally” got my hair cut exactly like hers. This morning, for her birthday, I got out my best barbie playing skills and dressed her up as cute I could. She was thrilled and responded, repetitively, “I’m a princess” while showing off her outfit to everyone in the house, including herself multiple times in the mirror.
While I would love to write an elaborate post about our relationship based on mutual dependence that I hope will survive her teenage years, I have decided not to do that. While this is a great day, she is two and all, it is also the anniversary of the absolutely most horrific experience I have ever had in my entire life. It was more pain and suffering than I have ever know, it was child birth…without drugs.
Now, I hope I am not going to upset anyone, as I know this is a touchy subject for many women (and certain men who oddly think they get the right to say anything whatsoever on the subject), but I fail to understand, in the 10,000 years (?) of human existence and the medical advances we have made, why childbirth still needs to be such an insanely traumatic experience. I’m by no means advocating having children grow outside the womb, or in labs or anything of the sort, but can we not collectively come up with a way to ease the pain beyond the option of the gigantic needle in our backs?
Why is it that we live in a time when we are extending our life expectancy, we are curing centuries old diseases, we are curing erectile dysfunction allowing men to feel like men – all of this done with chemicals – but for childbirth, we must remain “au naturale“. Why is there no research – at least no research big enough to make it into mainstream media – going on to find alternatives to the spine needle while still making the experience a little less soul crushing.
I declared quite early in both my pregnancies that I wanted an epidural; I did my research and decided the benefits out-weighed the risks. I felt no need to suffer unnecessarily, especially when I knew I was delivering my own DNA packed kids who would then make me suffer for years afterwards. I was quite surprised by the reaction of some to this statement, partly because it was a personal decision that didn’t affect their lives in the least, but also because so many people (both genders…men please refer to first parentheses above) were staunchly against the epidural. They treated me like I was a lesser woman because I know my own limits, they essentially tried to make me feel like I was failing as a mother before my child was brought into this world.
This baffled me, and still baffles me, that we women have grown in a culture where we are expected to suffer to become parents. I don’t see why the pain should be necessary, or why I’m less of a woman or a mother because I didn’t want to feel the pain of having a little alien destroy my body from the inside out. And let’s not mince words, that is essentially what happened. The only reason I felt the pain with Squishy is because she is an overachiever, and decided to run out of the womb.
I fully acknowledge that I only know my two situations, and I wouldn’t dare generalize anything, but I would like to request that a few of the millions of dollars of research money out there be dedicated to allowing women to enjoy the day their children are born, without the inherent risks that come with inserting sharp objects in your vertebrae. I mean really enjoy, not just the joy you feel when you hold your newborn for the first time while still feeling totally broken; I would have loved to take pleasure in the experience instead of having recurring nightmares for the two years that followed. What can I say, I guess I’m a princess too.