Why I (Honestly) Chose a Natural Birth


I’ve always held this belief that I was somehow born in the wrong generation. I’ve long thought that had I been a baby-boomer, I would have advocated for peace and love, I would have danced freely at Woodstock, and I would have had my babies naturally- the way God and nature intended. In a past life, I’m fairly certain I was a hippie.
DMB Natural Birth

So it made sense that when my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first son, I would pursue a drug and intervention-free birth. I read all of the natural birthing books and watched documentaries on the state of the U.S.’ maternal health system. It seemed like fate that Ohio’s only accredited natural birth center located within the Miami Valley Hospital, was just a short drive away.

As the weeks went by, I felt confident in my decision. I didn’t like the idea of my baby being brought into the world pumped full of drugs; or the idea that not letting my body go into labor naturally could end in me receiving an unnecessary surgical procedure. Had I dropped the hippie charade and been honest with myself, however, I would have admitted that neither of those things were the true reason I was pursuing a natural birth. As lovely and ethereal as a natural birth sounded, my intentions were not that pure. Quite simply, I was just freaked out about not having control over my body.

As lovely and ethereal as a natural birth sounded, my intentions were not that pure. Quite simply, I was just freaked out about not having control over my body.

The idea of being trapped in a bed, unable to use my legs from an epidural, freaked me out. The idea of being strapped down to a surgical table while my internal organs were shuffled around was even more frightening. I was not someone who had this holier-than-thou vision of being Mother Earth while I gently breathed and meditated my baby Earthside. What I was, was a scaredy-cat, control freak.

At 2:00am on Christmas morning, my water broke and 24 hours later, our charming Charlie was born. After 12 hours of active labor, I delivered Charlie on my hands and knees in the bathroom of my birthing suite and felt like a complete rock star. It was the most physically and mentally difficult thing I had ever done, but I had done it. I allowed my body to do what it naturally knew how to do, and had grappled with the intense pain of 12 hours of back labor. But I had come out of it with a beautiful, healthy baby boy to call my own and an awesome birth story to share. I know no birth is perfect, and mine didn’t come without challenges of its own, but it was pretty darn close.

Since Charlie’s birth, I’ve talked to a lot of other Mamas about their labor and delivery experiences and I always feel this small need to justify my decision. Or the need to dispel the notion that I think women who opt for the epidural or c-section are weaker, or not as concerned about the welfare of their newborns. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything, having experienced a natural birth has solidified my feelings of, “You do you, girl.” Labor is hard, period. Whether you get the drugs, or not.

So, speaking as one of those crazy natural birthers you hear about, I’m not super human. I’m not judging you for opting for the Pitocin, and I would love to share labor horror stories with you. Because the truth is, I didn’t choose natural birth because I’m a tree-hugging, granola-eating hippie. I chose a natural birth because it was the best fit for me. At the end of the day, as the cliche goes, it’s all worth it when our babies are here- happy and healthy- regardless of how we brought them into the world.

Did you have a natural birth? What were your reasons for choosing to go natural?


  1. I’m a two time family beginnings veteran, and each birth was so different, and hard, but that feeling right after the baby arrives is indescribable. My one week old was born in the water, and that was another really interesting experience that I couldn’t have had with drugs. The nurses at family beginnings are amazing, they really make it all possible.

    • I’m due with my second any day now and am doing Family Beginnings again. I got to labor in the water with my first, but didn’t actually deliver. That’s the one thing I’m hoping for this time around. You are so right- the nurses there are absolutely amazing. We had such a good experience our first time that I recommend them to everyone I know!

  2. My main reason for wanting a natural birth was similar: I really didn’t like the idea of not being in control of my body during the birthday process. I’ve had friends who got sick from the epidural and were throwing up, people whose epidural didn’t wear off and they couldn’t walk for hours after the baby came out…. I liked so much better the idea that at least I could control my own self even if it hurt. I don’t think it’s so much being scared, though, as it is just wanting to take some control over something. But there’s nothing wrong with getting the drugs either! No one can truly compare because no one else can feel anyone’s experience and level of pain.

    • The way I rationalize it, is with a natural birth, you can pretty much guess the worst-case scenario- that it’s going to hurt…A LOT. I’ve heard similar “horror stories” about people having nerve damage, etc from epidurals that it makes me nervous! I know that’s not the case for everyone, but I would much rather suffer through a few hours of pain than be one of those horror stories.

  3. I’m with you, here!! Husby points to my California upbringing as the gneiss of my hippie tendencies 🙂 For me, I just figured the fewer interventions, the fewer reasons for changes/contingencies/alarms… and I’d do natural birth again, too 🙂

    • Absolutely! Having a baby doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, traumatic thing, despite how society seems to want to make it out to be. I wouldn’t describe my birth as “peaceful,” because it was definitely hard work. But the nurses and midwives were so hands off and just let me do my thing that it felt totally natural and not scary at all. Painful, yes. Scary, not so much 🙂

  4. 12 hours of back labor?!!! You are a freakin warrior! My original goal was to go natural, but I had a slow leak in my water and wasn’t progressing, so we had to go the pitocin route. Then, 10 hours later I stalled at 9.5 centimeters for 2 hours, couldn’t handle the back labor anymore, so I ended up with an epidural. I’m not sure what I want to do this time around. I think if we have to go with some pitocin then I’ll probably opt for the epidural early on. If not, maybe I’ll give natural another try. I’m all about winging it, but am terrified of a c-section!

    • I would hope that labor will progress quicker with baby #2 and you’d be able to try going natural again (at least that’s what I’m hoping for myself!)

  5. Sometimes birth is a traumatic thing, regardless of if you choose for it to be or not. I read the same books, took the same birthing class as you, ate SO healthy, did prenatal yoga, walked two hours a day, did hypnobabies daily… and of everything on a birth plan that looked very much like yours, I managed to avoid a C, but not avoid my son being rushed out of the room before I got to meet him or spending an excruciating week in NICU. Saying you choose natural is saying you got lucky. I chose natural, natural didn’t choose me. And truth is, no matter how we choose, we’re not in control. I’m glad for your sake that you had an experience that led you to be able to write this. I hope one day I will too. When i do, I will have the benefit of experience I likewise hope you never have.

    • Melanie, I’m sorry if you perceived my post as being insensitive to Mamas whose birth experiences did not go according to plan. I was simply writing from my own limited experience and could have done a better job of making a point that some complications dictate that a baby is born in a way that would by no means be the first choice of their parents, not the other way around. I had a friend express her appreciation for my perspective after she had life-threatening complications that necessitated an emergency caesarean. I don’t ever want to appear that I’ve trivialized someone else’s labor and delivery story and would hope that it didn’t come across that way.

  6. Unfortunately, “a lot of pain” isn’t the worst case scenario for natural birth, and many women don’t “choose” the intervention route. I took the same classes as you, read the same books, watched the same documentaries. I did prenatal yoga every day, walked two miles a day, drank lots of water, ate exceptionally well, took great supplements, did perineal massage, did hypnobabies exercises every day… in short, I did absolutely EVERYTHING I could to have the natural birth of my dreams. And in the end, I was not given the opportunity to have that dream birth. In fact, the only things we got from our birth plan were “not a cesarian, no epesiotomy, live baby and mama.” Golden hour? How’s about “baby rushed out before he can meet you and spends an excruciating week losing weight in the NICU” instead? :-/ It may be reassuring to think that you chose, and that you can choose, but *birth chooses us.* Saying “birth doesn’t have to be traumatic” means you got lucky, and I am (truly) happy for you in that. I hope that I one day have an experience that gives me the option of saying “birth isn’t always traumatic,” (which is different), but if and when that happens, I’ll have the humility and gratitude of a prior experience to hopefully prevent my words from doing harm.

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