Giving Birth without an Epidural

Giving Birth without an Epidural

If you’re thinking about giving birth without an epidural, then you’re in the right place. Some people might try to talk you out of planning for a natural childbirth, but with the proper mindset and plan, it is totally doable for most moms! (I gave birth without an epidural to my twins!) In this article we’ll talk about five steps to setting yourself up for the best chance for giving birth without an epidural.

1. Mindset and Owning Your Choices

From the moment you tell other people you’re pregnant you’ll be getting lots of opinions… but…

Let’s get something clear right off the bat. YOU are in charge of your birth. Not your doctor. Not your midwife. Not your partner. Not your doula. Not your mother. Not your in-laws. YOU.

This is YOUR body mama. YOU get to choose what happens. If you ever feel pressured into making any decisions then take a minute to refocus and remember. YOU are in charge. NO ONE else.

Yes your partner’s wishes might want to be taken into consideration TO A POINT. But ultimately if their feelings conflict with your own, remember YOU are the one either pushing this baby out of your vagina, or if the situation warrants it, having a major surgery to birth that baby.

Doctors, midwives, doulas, partners, friends, family… these people are all hopefully trusted allies to us in this process. The choices that need to be made, will be made by you and no one else.

So let’s own this power.

Remove this from your language, “the doctor is making me…” “my doctor said I have to…”

You don’t HAVE to do a damn thing. You might CHOOSE something based on your doctors or midwife’s recommendation, but these are your choices to make. You can say no and ask for alternatives.

2. Define your goals and visualize your dream birth

Why are planning on giving birth without an epidural? What does natural childbirth look like to you? Does that mean no medication? Epidural free? No interventions? Are you looking to have a home birth or be in a hospital? Have you considered a birth center?

The very first thing to do before anything else is to define your birth goals and visualize what your ideal birth would look like. Your ideal childbirth is probably different than it is for others moms.

When we talk about not having an epidural, most people think of that as natural childbirth, but for some a natural birth simply means a vaginal birth. For others it could be a totally unmedicated birth. For others it isn’t just an unmedicated birth but also in a serene setting outside of a hospital.

In general, a natural childbirth means that you didn’t have any interventions or medications, though it is how the mother defines this idea that matters more than any other person’s definition, in my opinion.

For example, I had an epidural-free birth with my twins, though it was in a hospital and I induced with pitocin. So it may not be a 100% totally natural childbirth, but in my book, I popped two babies out, giving birth without an epidural, so I’m gonna go ahead and count it.

I knew from the beginning that although I would have loved to have a home water birth, a hospital setting would probably be safer considering twins do create a somewhat higher risk and make the birth slightly more complicated. I was however very committed to having as natural of a birth as possible for the situation.

So my goals were to avoid as many extra interventions and medications as I could while keeping many elements of a natural birth that were important to me, like skin-to-skin and establishing breastfeeding immediately. I created a list of my must-haves for my births, and I also had a list of things I would like but were like a second tier of priorities.

Before you meet with any medical professionals and choose your birth team, think about what kind of birth you desire and then write that down.

You aren’t necessarily creating a whole birth plan at this point. You’re just getting clear on your top goals and also what you absolutely want to avoid if possible.

People say that things change in birth and you can never be certain what will happen. This is true, and I believe in preparing yourself for potential changes in plans.

However if you don’t also plan for the birth you want, then the odds of it happening are slim to none.

Having a natural childbirth is normal and natural, but unfortunately many medical professionals and hospitals are not very supportive of it. Many doctors have never even witnessed a natural childbirth, and don’t know how to actually support a mother who chooses to birth naturally.

This is why the next step is super important.

3. Choose your birth team and/or prep them on your desires

Your birth team is probably the most important aspect of planning for a natural birth without an epidural, or really any birth outcome you desire.

Motivational speaker, Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

When it comes to your birth, I believe this to be 100% accurate. You need a team that is on board with your goals and will support you in those goals.

Not all healthcare providers are going to be supportive or helpful in your goal of a natural childbirth. So if a natural birth is what you’re going for, then you will want to research and interview doctors and/or midwives who have a history of successful natural births.

In general, midwives are more familiar with and more support of natural childbirth. Doctors are trained to deal with emergencies, to perform surgery, and always be ready for worst case scenarios. Midwives usually will be more likely to be acquainted with the natural flow of birth, and will engage in fewer interventions.

This is not a hard and fast rule though. Some doctors are very supportive of natural birth, while some midwives might try to push interventions quickly.

How do you know if a doctor or midwife has a history of successful natural births? The first thing I do is ask other moms. Get into your local mom groups on Facebook and ask around. See who has had a birth similar to what you want and see who they recommend.

Then use the go-to tool of all moms. Google.

Most doctors or midwives will have reviews you can find somewhere on the internet. Some even have Yelp reviews!

But pay close attention to what women are saying. If you want a natural birth, it isn’t sufficient for women to have had a good experience with a certain professional. You are looking for women who have had successful natural births who also loved their doctor or midwife. There could be a million women who loved having a certain doctor on their birth team, but they also had inductions and epidurals for all of their births. (Which more power to her if that’s her desire for her birth, but if it is not yours, then you need to consider if that doctor is a good fit for you.)

You can also ask for the stats of that doctor, midwife, or practice. My midwifery provided me with statistics on how many of their patients had natural births vs. interventions vs. c-sections.

4. Write your birth plan

Yes, birth is unpredictable. Does that mean you shouldn’t make a plan? Hell no! You NEED a plan if you want a specific outcome.

A football team doesn’t go to the Super Bowl without knowing the plays they want to run. The plays they choose to use and when they will use them will of course change based on their opponent, but they have a lot of tools in their arsenal to win the game and make adjustments on the fly.

This is kind of how a birth plan operates. It not only outlines your ideal expectations for birth, but also how you want to handle the unexpected. (Plus one aspect I have started including in my birth plans is how I’d like my babies to be cared for, and a friendly note to my nurses.)

But beyond how a birth plan can help your birth go a bit more smoothly, and it more likely you can have a natural birth without an epidural, it also is like a research project that allows you to enter this huge task super knowledgable. 

Lisa Chen penned an article about here at Mom Uprising about how she was able to have a safe natural birth without an epidural even though her birth didn’t go as planned. She said, “My dream of having a vaginal birth seemed to be slipping away. But all of my research while preparing for birth came rushing back to me.”

All the research she did ahead of time helped her feel confident in the choices she was making, and also be able to have conversations with medical staff where she stood firm on her birth goals while also being reasonable and well informed. You wishes should be honored no matter what, but if you can come from a place of power (i.e. knowledge) you can better achieve that goal. 

5. Know what to ask

One other thing Lisa mentioned in her article, that I also have utilized in birth is to have a set of questions to ask your care providers in case they are suggesting a change of plans. Those questions are:

  • Is mom okay?
  • Is baby okay?
  • Can it wait?

Answering these questions right away will give you a clearer picture of where you are at in the birth. When you are planning for giving birth without an epidural it can sometimes be a long process. Many moms are given pitocin or prematurely c-sections when really they just need to wait it out a little bit. 

When your care provider is suggesting an intervetion or procedure during your birth, assessing whether it is an emergency, if there is danger, and if you can wait is essential.

If you learn that there is no immediate danger, then you can take a deep breath and decide what your next move is. Perhaps you decide that an intervention is needed and you want to change the plans a bit, or maybe you just want to wait and see.

Using these questions can give you that opportunity.

 

Birth is transformative. It’s probably the most intense experience most women will every go through, but you were made for this. You can be successful at giving birth without an epidural. It just takes some planning, mama.

(PS – bonus points if you also plan for postpartum period, and get yourself a postpartum doula!)

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Why Do We Celebrate Mother’s Day? Is It Time We Stopped?

Why Do We Celebrate Mother’s Day? Is It Time We Stopped?

Today, Mother’s Day is a day of brunching, flowers, cards, and if we are lucky, a alone time. Or perhaps the saintly among us just get to hang out and relax with our children because we prefer that to gifts and parties. But do we ever stop and wonder, why do we celebrate Mother’s Day?

I have spent 5 years (including during my pregnancy) celebrating Mother’s Day as a mother. While I am all about mothers being celebrated, praised, adored, put on pedstals, cheered and basically worshipped for the goddesses we are, I am just not feeling that lovin’ feelin’ for Mother’s Day this year.

If I’m being honest, I am just feeling a little bored this year. Just kind of over it all together…

So how did this whole tradition begin anyway, why do we celebrate Mother’s Day?

According history.com, Anna Jarvis created the American version of the holiday in 1908. She was sponsored by John Wannamaker, the owner of a departement store in Philadelphia. The initial intention was to honor her mother. But like so many things in modern (or semi-modern life) it became commercialized.

Once it became a commercialized affair, Jarvis railed against it, and even pushed to have the holiday abolished. But by then it was too late. Mother’s Day had become far too entrenched for a cancelation.

In 1914 it became an official holiday in the United States.

The commercialization of Mother’s Day has only increased as time has gone by, and the reason we celebrate gotten a little lost. 

Over the last 100 years we’ve expanded this holiday to include the need to buy, buy, buy for moms. Though this is of course the trend for all holidays. Businesses want to cash in on any chance possible, even holidays as obscure as National Unicorn Day, let alone something more mainstream like Mother’s Day.

The last few years, commercial spending on Mother’s Day was over $20 billion. That’s BILLION.

On one hand, of course we as mothers deserve to be showered with gifts! We work our asses off all year long, and pour ourselves into raising tiny humans. We deserve all the presents. 

But…….

I’m going to be really thinking hard about why we celebrate Mother’s Day. Is this a tradition I want to continue, and if so, how? 

My husband and I have already decided we are no longer buying greeting cards. We recently went to a party for his niece, and instead of spending $5 on a cute little card that she would just throw away before the end of the day, he just stuffed a $20 bill in a regular business envelope and wrote on the outside of it. 

We all (or most of us) complain about the way holidays are commercialized, and at a time when Marie Kondo and minimalism are the hottest topics, maybe this is a simple place we can begin.

The temptation to conform to the expectations that special seasonal card section at Target places on us as we drive our little shopping cart full of kids and (mostly) essentials by is serious. But just maybe we can figure out another way to show our loved ones we love them on not just this, but all holidays.

How special is a card that millions of others moms are getting anyway?

 

And… does having this one day actually make our self-care and the credit we deserve a little flimsy and also less than we deserve?

When I was in school, I was never one of those students who judiciously studies throughout the course of the semester. No… I was a wait til the night before the finals and then cram until my brain exploded kinds of people.

Does Mother’s Day create a similar effect now?

Instead of having a reasonable level of self-care throughout the year, do we save it up for Mother’s Day as our one day we get to chill out? Or does our family save up their gratitude throughout the year and then just heap it onto us during one single day? Do you try to make up for all those times you meant to call your mom by being sure to call her on Mother’s Day?

Is this holiday a true celebration, or has it become more of an apology for the way we treat mothers the other 364 days of the year?

I’m going to say… yes.

I don’t care about Mother’s Day anymore.

Instead, I would love to have my well-being be a priority every damn day.

But if we decide we don’t want all the commercial BS, then what? How can we celebrate Mother’s Day?

Do we just give up on Mother’s Day? Our ONE freaking day to just get our due? To finally be recognized for all the work we do?

Not necessarily. There are other options.

Did you know the writer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic was a woman? A mother? 🤰🏻 Her name was Julia Ward Howe.

She actually called on mothers to come together and use our power to promote peace. 

This is something I’ve pondered for a long time. We as mothers have so much power because we are the ones who raise the next generations. Men are more and more involved throughout our children’s lives vs. previous generations, but mothers still hold the #1 spot in influence over a child’s early development.

We have so much power to not only influence our own children, but also the world with this responsibility and power.

Let’s take back Mother’s Day as more than just a time that we get cards and flowers and mani/pedi’s.

Here is the Mother’s Day Proclamation from Julia Ward Howe written not long after the Civil War: (I don’t particularly consider myself “Christian,” and choose to read that aspect as a call to action for morality vs. a particular religion)

 

“Again, in the sight of the Christian world, have the skill and power of two great nations exhausted themselves in mutual murder. Again have the sacred questions of international justice been committed to the fatal mediation of military weapons. In this day of progress, in this century of light, the ambition of rulers has been allowed to barter the dear interests of domestic life for the bloody exchanges of the battle field. Thus men have done. Thus men will do. But women need no longer be made a party to proceedings which fill the globe with grief and horror. Despite the assumptions of physical force, the mother has a sacred and commanding word to say to the sons who owe their life to her suffering. That word should now be heard, and answered to as never before.

Arise, then, Christian women of this day ! Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears ! Say firmly : We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence vindicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of council.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take council with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, man as the brother of man, each bearing after his own kind the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women, without limit of nationality, may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient, and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

Julia Ward Howe

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Mamas in MLM’s or direct sales, listen up for this one! Liz shares how she is crushing it without being a creepy spammer.

PLUS – we talk all about momlife (of course!)

 

Liz Marciniak is a single mama to four wild children and an Exclusive Purple Status leader with Younique. She’s from Buffalo, NY, and if you need her you can probably find her on the Internet making videos about not being able to pee alone.

For makeup and skincare inquiries go to MyLipGlossIsPoppin.com.

To watch stupid videos and laugh at the disgusting mess motherhood is, check out Mom So Hard With Liz MW on Facebook!

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Moms Who Drink: Is Drinking Out of Control for Moms?

Moms Who Drink: Is Drinking Out of Control for Moms?

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Just a heads up, I do share affiliate links to companies that I have personally had amazing experiences with. That means if you choose to use any services or products I recommend, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The answer to whether moms whould drink, or if moms drinking is out of control? Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t know. 

I recently shared a post about this, and asked moms for their input on Facebook. You can check out that post here.

The problem with this discussion as with so many in the motherhood community is that there is no ONE answer. The bottom line is that some moms can have a nightly glass of wine to chill out, and then just decide they want to stop, and it’s no big deal. Other moms… well they truly do have a dependence on that Rosé to get through the day.

The promise of that little space of time at the end of the day to indulge in a glass or two is what keeps them going.

Me?

I’ve been both.

I have been the mom who can’t wait til bedtime so I can pop the cork on my fav bottle and imbibe. And I’ve also been the mom who has gone months without a drop.

And I’m going to venture a guess, and assume that this is probably how most moms are.

We are not perfect beings. We are messy. Life is messy. Some weeks we need that glass of wine EVERY DAMN NIGHT. Then things even out again and we are able to just munch on a piece of chocolate, go for a walk, meditate, have a hot showers, or maybe binge a little Netflix at the end of the day instead.

Let’s be clear. Some moms DO have a problem with alcohol, but I don’t know if the posts that call out drinking mommy culture as really helping them (or anyone).

The thing is that for moms who truly have a problem, I doubt a judgmental post about how they shouldn’t need that glass of wine is NOT helpful. I don’t drink that often and the judgment dripping off some of these posts has my hackles up! Let alone if I actually did drink every night. 

 

In general, I think people should leave moms the hell alone. We are all coping in the best way we can, and doing our best. 

But there’s more…

 

To me, the posts about how moms shouldn’t be drinking or joking about drinking just come off as holier than thou and a way for those moms to feel better than others.

The biggest reason they come across this way? They don’t actually offer solutions or ways for moms who are drinking a little heavier than before to cope with their situation. Maybe they point out a problem, but they don’t help moms who might have that problem find answers or ways to put the bottle down.

The truth is that if you or someone you know is too deep into those nightly (or daily) glasses, then you need help. REAL help.

I have personally worked hard for years to find some sort of semblance of mental health, and the most important aspect of that is therapy.

The best option is to find a therapist near you that you can see in person.

BUT – that isn’t a reality for a lot of moms who don’t have health insurance, a lot of money, or childcare.

That’s why I want to introduce you to Better Help. It’s online, virtual counseling. You fill out a questionaire and they connect you with a REAL licensed therapist who can help with your specific issues.

I have PERSONALLY used Better Help and they connect me with the most amazing person, who was a great fit for me.

Prices are reasonable, and you can even text via their secure app with a therapist if actually hopping on a video conference is too hard at the moment.

Please mama. If you’re drinking is out of control, or if you just feel you need help. Maybe you need someone to unload on and talk to, but are ashamed to share some of those dark parts of you with the local moms club. That’s what therapists are for!

Look, I’m not saying if you have a glass or two of wine a day, you need help. I’m just saying you MIGHT need help. Only you know that.

In the past, I have, and I got that help with Better Help.

Only you know if you have a problem, and I would suggest that if you even suspect your drinking is out of control and maybe you depend on that nightcap a little more than you should, get help. More of us need to be in therapy. Momming is a hard and lonely job. We need a judgement-free space to vent. 

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Poetry About Motherhood: Blood, Tears, & Breastmilk (Episode 8 with Jessica Carlson)

Poetry About Motherhood: Blood, Tears, & Breastmilk (Episode 8 with Jessica Carlson)

Welcome back to the MomUp Show! #momup
 
We had a one week hiatus due to the flu hitting the base of operations here pretty hard… and by base of operations I mean the home of me… Morgan Battista… host of the MomUp Show and founder of Mom Uprising.
 
This week is all poetry about motherhood!
 

The emotions of becoming a new mom are intense. That postpartum period is overwhelming to say the least. 

 

One incredible way of coping is to find a form of self-expression that allows your creativity to flow and the emotions to find an outlet. Writing and journaling can be that outlet and provide some much needed relief while struggling through the learning curve of motherhood. 

 

Jessica Carlson joins us today to share her story of becoming a new mom and using poetry to feel through the journey. 

 
Her book Blood, Tears, and Breast Milk was just released, and it is a beautiful look at the roller coaster of becoming a new mom.
 
Learn more and buy the book here: bloodtearsandbreastmilk.weebly.com 
 
Jessica Carlson is a new first-time mom and author of Blood, Tears, and Breast Milk. Wanting to be an author since elementary school, becoming a mom gave her the inspiration and push she needed to finally accomplish her goals. She transitioned from high school English teacher to work at home mom after realizing she couldn’t make herself return from maternity leave. Blood, Tears, and Breast Milk was published in hopes that new moms would realized they aren’t alone in the emotional journey into motherhood.

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3 Keys to a Strong Marriage After Having a Baby

3 Keys to a Strong Marriage After Having a Baby

by contributor: April Vaassen

Just surviving can be tough, let alone thriving and making sure your marriage is staying strong after having a baby. But, mama, it IS possible. These three keys have helped me maintain a strong marriage after having a baby.

 

I often hear how having a baby can rock your marriage, most times for the worst. So much changes when you bring a newborn home but until you live it, you don’t realize how much. I can tell you that hearing all of the horror stories had scared me a bit when wanting to bring a child into our lives.

I heard how hard those first 6 months were.

How you will not sleep. How you will get frustrated more easily. How you won’t have time for your spouse. How you will be so busy and everything will change. How there will be no time for yourself.

With all of the scary divorce rate statistics, it is hard not to worry what having a baby will do to your marriage. However, I have learned that marriage doesn’t have to take a turn for the worst, and it really didn’t for me. In fact, I believe our first born made our marriage stronger.

On the other hand, what I can tell you is that there are moments where things do get hard and frustrating. There are times you want to scream. There will be times you look at your spouse and think what the heck are you doing. There will be times you don’t feel as connected to your partner. But, it doesn’t have to ruin your relationship. Things do change, but it doesn’t have to change for the worse.

 

Communication

Though there are bad times, there are ways to make your marriage easier when dealing with children. I think it is extremely important to have a lot of communication in your marriage. If you are feeling frustrated, tell your partner. Have those hard conversations so that you can make those hard times better.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, say it. Mama, don’t try to overload yourself. Ask for help. Encourage your partner to take over and tell them your appreciative of it. 

Share the Load

I truly believe in splitting household duties evenly between the two of you. It lightens the stress on both ends. If you, as a mom are staying up all night feeding your baby, your partner is perfectly capable of picking up a few chores around the house. It is amazing how much this can strengthen your marriage. Take turns with giving baths, making supper, getting groceries, cleaning around the house, etc.

Mom, I know you may feel guilty about letting your spouse take over some of these duties. It doesn’t make you less of a mother, you are killing it each and every day. Trust me, when your load is lightened and you feel less stressed, your marriage flourishes. It was hard for me at times to allow my husband to take over some of the duties or even asking, but it saved us of a lot of fights.

Don’t Forget Date Night

GO ON DATES! Continue to date your spouse. It is not selfish to get a babysitter every so often. It is critical. Your children deserve a happy mom and dad.

I know in our busy lives it is often hard to make this a regular occurrence but it is so very important. This can be something as little as watching a movie on the couch after the kids go to sleep. This keeps my marriage alive and exciting. Never give up dating your spouse.

 I love seeing my spouse be a parent. It makes me feel more connected to him than I ever have. Becoming parents has opened my eyes to all of the amazing qualities my husband brings to our lives. I know there are days where it is hard to see those qualities, but I am not perfect either. Remember that this is a partnership, one should not be doing more than the other. And NO, it does not make you less of a mom.

Keep in mind the love you have for your partner. The most essential aspect of having a strong marriage after having a baby is to keep that love strong. Take the time to celebrate each other on the day of love. Look at the life you have created together, it really is the best thing to ever witness. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY MAMAS! Go give your spouse a big smooch, or two….

Hi everyone! I am April and I am the founder of Be You Crew.

I am a mama of one amazing little girl and happily married to my grade school sweetheart. I have always had a desire to help people ever since I can remember. Further, I have always wanted to do this on my own terms, where I can reach many people at one time.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in School Counseling, which has only set a baseline of where I want to proceed with my career goals. I am truly passionate about a career of helping all people, but I have an extreme desire to empower women, specifically.

I have always had a passion for helping people or animals, ever since I was a little girl. But it wasn’t until my teenage years that I really knew that I wanted to help people love themselves. I had a hard time excepting myself in my teenage years into my young adult years. I never could have told you that I loved myself or appreciated who I was. I went through a really hard time for awhile. That is why I created my brand, I do not want people to feel the same way I have in the past.

My mission of the Be You Crew is to create a community of people who feel comfortable in their own skin. Because girls, I know this is SO stinkin’ hard. I hope to someday have a big community of women that can come here and know they have a tribe to back them up. To know they have girls who will support them, appreciate them, and allow their authentic self to be shown. Our tribe is small but growing. I know that each and every woman that follows this page wants the same. We are created to socialize and to want to be surrounded with love. If you have ever struggled or are struggling with excepting yourself, know that you have a tribe to back you up, to love you as you are.

XOXO,
Be You Crew (Find us at: https://www.facebook.com/TheBeYouCrew/)

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