3 min
October 16, 2022

The Natural Childbirth Prize

“There’s no prize at the end for having a natural childbirth.”

I’ve heard this countless times from doctors, nurses, mothers, and friends. 

But… uh, yea there is. 

Having a non-medicated childbirth is at the top of my badass accomplishment list, far above the Tough Mudder and sprint triathlon races I finished. It was something I was scared to do. But like you’ll often hear from your favorite Peloton instructor: “How you do anything is how you do everything.” 

On the day my son was born I spent 14.5 hours in labor, sweating and crying and screaming and pushing my body further than I thought possible. I set an example for my son on his first day in this world that sometimes you should do hard things just because they’re hard. And I now have this secret weapon in my arsenal that I can tap into whenever I need to muster extra courage or toughness. 

When girlfriends and strangers learn I gave birth without drugs they look at me in awe (or perhaps bewilderment, or maybe it’s incredulousness). Some friends have responded, “You’re my hero.” I do not wave my hand and dismiss their comments because I appreciate how fucking painful my experience was, and they do, too. 

I will wear my natural childbirth like a badge of honor for the rest of my days and I’m certain it will remain the most brutal, most long-lasting excruciating experience of my life. It was a rite of passage that centuries of women have undertaken, and I am now part of a members-only club.

I recognize how lucky I am that I even had the choice. Childbirth can be scary and unexpected. You have no idea how your childbirth is going to go until it’s happening. So that cute birth plan you painstakingly drafted and made your partner hand out to doctors and nurses upon arrival to the hospital? Yea, don’t count on it. 

Now I’m eight months pregnant with my second child and leaning towards getting an epidural this time. I already did the hard thing and don’t feel a strong desire to go through that pain again. It reminds me of the way I felt after I finished a half marathon. Someone told me, “Once you run a half marathon you’ll want to run more. It’s addicting.” But that was not the case for me. I checked the half marathon off my list. I was done. I was glad I did it, but had no desire to do it again. 

I experienced a non-medicated childbirth with my son. It was horrible and unforgettable. And I’m so proud of myself for doing what some women describe as unthinkable. 

Of course there’s no trophy. The real prize after childbirth is a healthy baby and healthy mama. 

But also, I’m a badass motherfucker. 


Thanks to my friends Florian Maganza, Ayomide Adebayo, Scott Krouse, and Bryce Longton for their feedback on this essay.