The Suprising Truth about Pain of Childbirth

Ok, if you are pregnant, or looking at having kids chances are you’ve heard someone’s storey about the birthing process.  And chances are even higher that if you’ve heard a birth storey that you’ve heard about how painful it was. 

I’ll be honest, I struggle with anxiety and I had people around me during my pregnancy that seemed hell bent on scaring the crap out of me when the topic of childbirth came up.  

Some talked like the huge amounts of pain were badges of honor, others like you HAD to use the epidural to survive it, and the whole general theme was “lets freak out the pregnant lady while pretending we are helping”

So lets get one thing straight right now! 

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Having a baby can hurt, but it doesn’t have to!

The reason most people talk about the pain is because that is what they experienced.  But birth is also emotional, life changing, amazing, and awesomely messy.  Sometime more so then painful.  And I wish that our stories would focus more on those parts more then the pain.

The people I talked to about what to expect when I went into labor had me convinced that I would know I was in labor by the amount of pain I was in.  Yet when I actually had those first exciting contractions I had to be convinced it was actually labor.  And it took my husband, and doula hours to convince me. 

Related: Labor Pain Management; 15 Tips for a Scream-Free Labor

I’m going to tell you a happy story

It’s not happy because at the end it was all worth it (even though it most certianly was), but it’s happy because I acctually had a little bit of fun and spunk in my first labor. 

We had an uncomplicated pregnancy, and our labor and delivery ended up being uncomplicated too.  After the experience I’ve had, I’m a firm believer that pain doesn’t have to be part of an uncomplicated delivery.

Can childbirth be like having a good poop?  Here's what you really need to know about the pain of childbirth.
Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash

It was a sunday morning, and the night before my husband had gone fishing late into the night, coming home after midnight.  I was in bed sleeping, but restless.  Around 2am I woke up, hubs was beside me in bed so I figured him coming home is what woke me. 

Feeling restless I got up and did what I love, I had a hot shower!  Rocking my hips back and forth as the warm water rushed over my back and feeling like a million bucks I went back to bed. 

Around 5am I woke again, knowing that the day ahead would be long I repeated the shower and again headed back to sleep. 

At 8am hubs was up, and so was I.  I was planning where we would go to pick up my nephews birthday gift as we had his birthday party to go to that evening.  

Hubs told me to contact my doula, now here is where it got really fun and I kinda laugh at this now.  Hubs had seen me having contractions, but I hadn’t felt them.  My body was responding, but my brain was not registering that this was happening because it wasn’t happening the way I expected it to.  I was so focused on the fact that the birthday party was that night that I never even thought kiddo could come then. 

Apparently when I’m in labour I develop “attitude”, I got snarky, and for about an hour flat out refused to message the doula.

When he had pestered me enough I sent the doula a snarky message, along the lines of “hubs thinks I’m in early labor, figured I should let you know.  But I don’t belive him.”

If you're pregnant chances are someone has told you their birth storey, and it has focused on pain.  But here is what you really need to know about the pain of childbirth.
Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

I was lucky, of the doula team the one that convinced me she could just pop by and see how things were lived close by.  So to humor them all I said sure, pop in.  But just for a visit then we are going to a party.

When she came by she flat out told me that I had 2 contractions in the 15 minutes it took her to get her coat and shoes off.  Even in the face of her certianty that I was in labour I still doubted it.  

The reason I doubted was the LACK of pain

Yes, you read that right, the reason I doubted that this really was labor was because I had been expecting it to hurt, alot.  But the contractions didn’t feel painful, they felt like a muscle contracting.  There was no pain, just a minor ache in my right hip that I had for the last couple months due to how kiddo was possitioned.  In all honesty I had menstrual cramps that were worse then this.

And up until the point where I got into to the birthing tub at the birth center I don’t think I really believed that kiddo was coming that day.  Things just didn’t hurt, there was an ache yes, but not this sharp stabbing instantly debilitating pain that I expected.  

I belive I had convinced myself that everyone was all worked up over braxton hicks.  But the midwife was pretty clear when she said “baby’s on the way” after checking to see if I was dialated. 

Most stories about childbirth include mind numbing pain, here's the truth I wish I had known before my first labor.
Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash

And even after I was convinced that I was actually in labor I don’t remember it being a painful experience.  Now I know people are going to tell you that you forget all the pain and things about the birth will be “foggy” but I’m not talking about a hazzy afterglow that made me forget the pain.  

I’m talking about me knowing that this was a natural, normal process, and trusting that not only could my body do this but that it was made to.  And I set myself up with the best labor advice ever beforehand. 

And I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that this was an uncomplicated pregnancy, labor and my mindset was such that I chose to feel things as a pressure instead of pain.  And yeah there was pressure that I hadn’t experienced before but I felt it as pressure NOT pain. 

What I’m trying to say is that if we keep going into childbirth expecting to experience outrageous amounts of pain chances are we will likely find ways to keep creating that pain. 

The pain of childbirth…

I firmly believe that often times our minds are our own worst enemies.  They create expectations and focus points that really hurt us in reality.  And I think for many reasons the expectation of pain in childbirth is one of those points where we have gotten so focused on ephasising the pain part, and less focused on the childbirth part that the pain has almost taken over our entire understanding of the concept.  

That’s why I’m creating a series of posts focused around the positives of childbirth.  And I want to hear from you!  What happened in your birth storey that you loved?  Did you feel empowered?  Did you feel on top of the world?  Did you feel pain and along side it a strength to not only handle that but power through it?  I want to know, and I’m happy to share your storey with my readers.  So shoot me an email, and lets chat.

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