"My" Epidural

Just a little bunny trail I am on today...

Have you ever noticed that when a woman who plans and prepares for a medicated, highly 'obstetrically' intervened birth, she refers to getting an epidural as "my" epidural, not "an" epidural? 

So why is there ownership of the epidural?  Even the L&D nurses refer to it as "your" epidural, or "her" epidural.
"Are you ready for 'your' epidural?"
It is the only time I can think of off the top of my head that someone refers to pain medication as "mine."  If I have a headache, I don't say, "I took 'my' ibuprofen."  I say, "I took 'some' ibuprofen."

I also notice that these same women refer to their labors and contractions as "the contractions" or "the pain"... they don't claim ownership of it, they dismiss it.

On the other hand, most unmedicated birthers will refer to their bodies sensations as "my" labor, "my" birth, "my" contractions.... She claims it. And she dismisses the other, "I thought about "the" epidural, but only for a moment"...

Likewise, women who choose a cesarean will say "my" cesarean. While women who don't want a cesarean tend to say "the" cesarean/surgery...

Like everything, this isn't cast in stone, there are many exceptions to this observation... but has anyone else noticed this?


If you have never seen an epidural being placed, check out Patti Ramos' super helpful epidural page.


tara said...

I planned for an unmedicated birth and things were going well. Then there came complications. I did ask for "an" epidural.

I also ended up with a medically necessary c-section. I had an OB who included me in the process and I felt I had a choice about it. And choice, in my case, made a big difference about how I felt. It wasn't done TO me, it was a decision I helped make about MY body and MY birth.

I'm not sure if I refer to it as "the" c-section or "my" c-section when I talk about it, but if I do use "my" I think it might be because I feel ownership of it. I feel comfortable with it because it wasn't done to me, but with my consent and my full involvement. While I did not want a c-section, when it came down to what needed to be done, I had control over my body and what was done to me so it was still "my" birth. And thus, "my" c-section.

I can see why women that did not want one and who have trauma from their c-section may call it "the" c-section, but those of us who were fully involved in the choice may have embraced it and call "mine" because they are at peace with the fact it was medically necessary and it was an event that is not colored by trauma.

Just a slightly different view on the subject. And you bring up a very interesting point about the use of "the" and "my" and the way people view their births. Very thought provoking. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

WOW - do you realize how well you have summed something up for me? Until I read the words, I couldn't have made that point myself.

You are so right. Our pronoun usage may reflect our mindset, but it also influences it. I delivered at the hospital and booted out unwanted personnel. MY contractions were managable, so I didn't need AN epidural.

I have fully functioning ovaries, but still stick with anon - hope you don't mind.

Terri C said...

Bleah. As expected, the super helpful epidural page made my tummy queasy. As a defense mechanism, I found myself focusing on the positive - at least they let her hubby hold her - my hubby got kicked out and I had to hug a nurse I'd never met before. I had an epidural, though it was a second-to-last resort to get baby to turn and descend and come out (the follow-on c-section being the last resort). Noticed I said "an" epidural, and "the" c-section. I still have a hard time "owning" that experience. My VBAC, however, was MINE! :-)

Laura: The Sushi Snob said...

I always refer to mine as "the" epidural, mainly because I had prepared not to have it, but getting cholestasis threw a wrench in those plans by requiring an early induction. *sigh*


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