birth and anticipation of pain

I’m not a fan of pain.

I mean, I know that’s a pretty common sentiment and should go without saying, but since I give birth at home* without the use of any drugs for pain relief I figured I should bring it up. I’m not a masochist nor am I one of those lucky women who have virtually pain-free labors. It hurts, a lot.

When I first found out I was pregnant again, after the initial heady rush of excitement had passed, I was overcome with a surge of adrenaline and nausea as I realized “I know exactly how bad this is going to hurt.” I tried to banish it from my mind, and tell myself things like “Sure it will hurt, but it’s not horrible,” and “It only hurts really bad at the end,” etc. but I wasn’t fooled. My fight-or-flight instinct knows better, and it remembers the truth, which is It Hurts Like Hell.

I spent the next 7 or so months trying not to think about it. I borrowed a friend’s Hypnobirthing book, and looked it over. My teeth were in terrible shape and I suffered through two excruciating days of unremitting pain until the problem teeth were yanked from my mouth, which helped put it in perspective, but I still had those twinges of fear. I avoided reading birth stories. I didn’t like to talk about it either.

Then, suddenly last week, it happened. I woke up and attempted to try on my anxieties… and they were gone! Not unlike the teeth, actually. I can feel a sort of gap in my mind where the fear of labor was. Where did it go? Who can say. Through the grace of God it’s happened every time I’ve given birth, and I’m very grateful. I know it’s gonna hurt, and That’s Okay.

So, come on baby! Can’t wait to meet you!

*once in the hospital, with Faith, but it was drug-free there too.

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6 thoughts on “birth and anticipation of pain

  1. The second time around I didn’t think about the pain until it had started and I thought, “wow, I had forgotten how much this hurts.” I also remember wondering why anyone does it more than once the first time through, but that wore off before I got pregnant again. I’m glad your fear wears off! I was wondering what you were going to say helped you in the end. Sounds like your body just gets ready and lets the fear go. That’s great!

  2. I’m wrestling with the same fear–and I’m not even pregnant again yet! I’d like to have another baby, but when I think about labor, I get scared. And I’ve had 3 drug-free births now! I remember when I was pregnant with Clara and almost 2 weeks overdue, the fear of pain went away because I was just so ready to meet her. I was under so much pressure from the doc to submit to an induction, that I just didn’t care how much it hurt, I wanted to go into labor! And I finally did go into labor, with a little help from some homeopathics (and a Rosary or two…or three…).

    Glad to know I’m not the only natural-birthing mom who feels that way!

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