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I never buy glossy magazines but with the hoo ha about Miranda Kerr’s interview in the July edition of Harper’s Bazaar, my husband was dispatched to dutifully search and return with a copy. I wanted to read first hand what Miranda had said and what struck me straight away is ‘context is everything’.
These are some quotations in subsequent news reports and blogs which made me wonder what she had said;
‘It’s all well and good that Miranda wanted to go the natural route when she had her son, but choosing to forgo an epidural doesn’t make her any sort of martyr, and it doesn’t make her any better than moms who decide having an epidural is the best plan for them. Pregnant women should respect each other for their individual choices when it comes to childbirth instead of tearing each other down and trying to make each other feel inferior.’ 
and from a journalist…
‘There is no evidence that epidurals – an anesthetic injected into the mother’s spine to numb the lower body – do any harm to the baby’. 
This is what Kerr said in the magazine and we must remember it’s likely to have been edited:
‘In her accordance with her predilection for the natural, Kerr stuck to her wishes for a drug-free natural birth for Flynn, despite an arduous 27 hour labour: “I had made a decision that I wanted to do it [naturally]. So I was kind of upset when the doctor said I had to be induced because there wasn’t enough liquid around the baby. She was like, “Most people who get induced have the epidural. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t”. And I’m like, “I made a plan. I am determined to do this without pain medication”. I had been watching all these baby-bonding videos, and [without epidural] when the baby comes out it goes straight onto the breast. Then they showed ones right after the epidural, and that didn’t happen. The baby was a little bit drugged up, and I was like “Well, I don’t want that”. I wanted to give him the best possible start in life I could.’ 
I’ve not yet seen any report include the first line of this paragraph, ‘in accordance with her predilection for the natural.’ Before modelling the interview mentions that Kerr studied nutrition and health psychology at the Academy of Natural Living so it’s no surprise that she was open to the idea of giving birth without the use of epidural analgesia.
Intriguingly, her words suggest that she was induced. If this was the case, then Kerr did not have a natural birth but a medicalised one, albeit deciding to decline the option of having an epidural. If she was induced and declined an epidural then good on her. Induced contractions tend to be stronger and more intense because the woman’s body is not releasing endorphins, the body’s natural analgesic.
Kerr might have used a gentler term than ‘drugged up’ but factually this is not inaccurate. These drugs do cross the placenta and into the baby and it’s known that babies who have this exposure are more likely to be less alert in the first few days. And, as for a newspaper to state that ‘there is no evidence…’ is just so wrong I could hardly believe this was printed. And what’s our definition of harm? By forever altering the hormonal blueprint for the mother and baby when an epidural is used – what immediate and long term consequences might this have in our children?
And as for ‘I wanted to give him the best possible start in life I could’ – well, what is wrong with this. A mother wants to do her absolute best, for the child she is nurturing and will give birth to. This is the same mindset which made me stop and think, eventually leading me down a natural, normal path. Thinking about the comments in the first quotation, all Kerr has done is choose what was right for herself. The person writing against Kerr, nullifies her own argument by saying that ‘Pregnant women should respect each other for their individual choices when it comes to childbirth instead of tearing each other down and trying to make each other feel inferior.’ It’s hard not to respect Kerr for making her choice.
I believe it is a good thing, if stories like this hit the headlines and blogs. For every one woman who is against, there will another who might think, ‘well, if she can do it, so can I’, and just like that, the mother-to-be leads the way.
 – http://thestir.cafemom.com/pregnancy/139954 model_miranda_kerrs_judgy_comments#comments
 – http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/life/women/health-and-fitness/2012/07/17
 – Harper’s Bazar, ‘Miranda’, page 102