Before I got pregnant with my first baby, what limited knowledge I had about birth led me to two conclusions: 1) birth is painful, but 2) there are drugs for it. I thought everyone got epidurals. I didn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t. I thought “why would you have pain when you don’t have to?” I certainly try to avoid pain whenever possible. I figured that if epidurals were as common as they seemed to be, they must be pretty safe. I thought an epidural would be the only way to make childbirth not be a completely horrible experience. I believed God must have created epidurals so that women wouldn’t have to suffer.
It's hard to say exactly what opened my mind to the idea of natural childbirth. A lot of it came from my experiences posting on online forums. The internet has a way of exposing people to new ideas. I discovered that people still do natural childbirth. I also went to a seminar at Babies 'R' Us by an instructor of the Mongan Method of HypnoBirthing talking about the theories behind hypnosis for childbirth and recruiting for her class. I decided that I could do natural childbirth.
Then I started reading. And reading and reading. One article that was important in my decision process was The Hidden Risks of Epidurals by Sarah J. Buckley. It showed me that epidurals were not as simple as I once thought. Also on my reading list were The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer, Active Birth by Janet Balaskas, and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.
All of this reading radically changed my point of view about childbirth. My new conclusions were: 1) God created birth as a beautiful and delicate process, 2) people interfering with that process unnecessarily can easily through it off track, leading to complications and a need for more interventions, and 3) women who plan for and accomplish natural childbirth often have wonderful and empowering experiences.