One of my workmates says her sister in law won’t have children as she’s too scared to go through the pain of labour. I don’t blame her really, especially when I hear all the horrible stories of blood, guts and poo from my friends and family who have already gone over the to other side ie: gone through labour.
But I am beginning to ask seriously – why is it that we are expected to go through all this pain, when for any other procedure in which pain is expected, pain killers are made available?
I have had a several operations over the years, including bilateral bunion surgery, laser eye surgery and two incised bartholin’s cysts (not fun and very painful). I have also had all my wisdom teeth and four molars out (thank god we live in the era of orthodontics as without it I would have had a serious mouthful of fangs). For all procedures, I have been knocked out under a general anaesthetic with lovely analgesics to ease me through the first few painful days afterwards.
So why are we still expected to suffer the purported agony of childbirth?
Does it tie back to the bible in some way? Or is it linked to some kind of misogyny?
Or is it that women themselves want to experience that pain and wear it as a badge of honour? Listening to some women comparing notes about labour is fascinating – it is like they are posturing and jostling for the position of the woman who had the worst/longest/most dangerous/most painful experience – why??
Does anyone have the answer to this? Why don’t we all just have epidurals or spinal blocks right at the start of labour, or cesareans, so we don’t have to experience apparently excruciating pain? Would this be so humiliating if it meant avoiding what is sometimes days of painful labour resulting in painful, stitched-up derrieres, blood loss and exhaustion?