"You can't handle a natural birth"

So, I am 13 weeks and can't stop thinking about the delivery of my little baby. 
I have considered having a natural birth with no pain killers. I have a few small reasons. 
Once I had to have some pain killers for a simi major injury and it was littrly the worst time of my life. I would have taken the pain over the dizziness and sickness any day(and let me tell you, the pain was MAJOR) 
My mother also died of a drug over does and I am opposed of taking things due to this. I'd rather suffer a head ache than take a tylonal. 
I don't really understand how an epidural works. 
And honestly, I would like to prove people wrong. I mentioned the idea of maybe trying to do it myself(in the hospital) and my dearest friend flat out told me I was to big of a whimp to do it because I complain about pain. This has really annoyed me.  
What I would like is some honest opinions on your experience with a natural birth. 
And maybe you can explain to me how an epidural works? What kind of pain medication they offer during labor? And how they effect you? 
Thanks ahead of time :)