*Let me state early on that I’m not a doula who is against epidurals. In fact, I think they’re sometimes God’s gift to childbirth. I’ve seen beautiful births with them and will support you no matter what tools you choose to birth your baby.
Whether it was overwhelming pain, a medical reason, or just different decision making, there was a reason that you chose an epidural last time. That reason was totally valid, and you made the best decision for you at the time. And, since every pregnancy and birth is different, you get to choose differently this time.
What’s important to you about skipping the epidural? Commit this to memory, because you’ll need to be pretty committed to labor without pain medication.
Focus is incredibly important in labor, so think of the time up to that point as practice.
They may feel judged for their own decisions, or worry about whether you can handle it. They might tell you about that time you skinned your knee and cried for an hour.
But none of that is your business. And neither are the decisions you make for you and your baby their business. This is your birth, and you (and your baby and medical team) call the shots.
Also, remember that you don’t have to talk about this with unsupportive people. Boundaries are good to have.
Fear of childbirth is common. It’s normal if you have it. Your fear may be specific- you don’t want to poop in front of people. Or it might be more large-scale- you’re worried about what another baby will mean for your family.
You’ll want to deal with it and remove its power.
Last time, you used the epidural to cope with the sensations of labor. And oftentimes, that’s a very effective tool! So if you’re not going to use that tool, you’ll need another.
Do you remember the point when you decided that you wanted an epidural? Was there something that triggered it in particular? If so, have a plan in place to get past that point.
No matter what, as a doula I trust your decisions. You’re going to make great ones! If you’d like to talk through your strategies, just drop me a note.