This is the part that struck me:
"A woman may simply not fear pain, or she may fear pain a lot less than the other forms of suffering. . . If she is less worried about pain than about loss of control over her body or her experience. . .being stuck in one place or connected to machines (a sense of being trapped or tied down), or another issue, she may choose to avoid any interventions that might bring it into her birth experience. I think it’s important to remember that pain is not the worst possible thing for most people, even if our medical system often implies that it is."This helped me articulate why I want an unmedicated birth. It's not because I think that women are making a selfish choice by choosing pain relief. It's not even that I'm terrified of the possible complications (though those are concerns that have weighed in my choice). If I'm being completely honest, it's because I am terrified of being immobile for hours on end.
I know that once I say yes to an epidural, my motion is limited. I've been told that once I get to that point in the labor, I won't care, but I can't really imagine a time in my life when I won't care about immobility.
I also am scared of the side effects of the medication, especially feeling groggy and out of touch with reality in the first moments of my child's life. I stopped taking my pain meds following a bad car accident after one dose. I much prefered the pain to the feeling the pills gave me.
My problem now is that I feel myself hedging. I say things like, "Well, I'll go in and try for as long as I can" and "I won't beat myself up if I end up asking for the epidural."
I know why I'm saying these things (I don't want to put so much pressure on having the "perfect" birth, because I know that's unrealistic and probably not possible), but I also know that words have power. I know that I am going to have to sound a lot more confident about it if I'm going to feel more confident.
I am also going to continue reading and studying so that I can get more prepared. Preparation and positive rhetoric sound like important steps to me right now.