Noun: work, especially physical work.
Verb: work hard; make great effort; have difficulty in doing something despite working hard.
There it is right there. But no mention of agonising and excruciating pain. And that’s quite alright thank you very much.
At 39 weeks pregnant I’m well aware that I have not the tiniest inkling of what’s about to happen to me yet I am not totally deluded and nor do I expect my baby to simply slip out like a well oiled penguin but I just don’t see the value in focusing, at this stage, on how much it’s going to hurt. I cannot prepare for that.
I have worked hard over the last few months and particularly over the last few weeks to think more of the end result than the process itself. To stay calm, unafraid and as positive as possible in the face of what are no doubt going to be the most earth shatteringly painful hours one can even begin to comprehend. I’m not talking about ignoring the undeniable value of birth plans and preparation, of knowledge and of arming oneself with whatever tools are available, I’m talking about the pain.
I find it simply astounding that others feel it’s acceptable to make light of the impending birthing of my child and to remind me (as if I have never considered) exactly what they think the feeling, pain and process may be comparable to. ESPECIALLY MEN!
Men apparently believe that giving birth is akin to being kicked in the bollocks. Now as it stands I currently have no first hand experience of either and nobody has first hand experience of both so I put this down to utter codswallop. Or bollocks. Men also delight in the whole melon out of a lemon thing or whatever fruit/veg comparison was all the rage at your school 25 years ago. Men also revel in often derogatory comments about the noises their wife made or how long labour can last or pull faces whilst stepping back from you in a comic fashion as if you are literally about to explode baby and juice all over them. I hate men talking about labour. Men also like to advise to avoid the epidural. Men and labour anger me but do not surprise me.
My midwife. She surprised me. Yesterday whilst discussing Braxton Hicks I was advised, in the face of my aforementioned calm approach that I should consider labour as follows:
You know when you cut your finger? Well, think about that and how it smarts and stings and bleeds a little bit. Now, just try to imagine what it feels like to get knocked down by a bus and then have your legs run over by the back wheels. You’ll soon forget about your finger, won’t you? Well, that’s like Braxton Hicks and actual labour.
What is the value in sharing this with me? What is the benefit in instilling fear into pregnant women who are one way or another going to expel a small human from their uterus? Is expecting the agony going to make it more bearable? I doubt that. Surely fear of pain will make us tense and tight? This quite literally took my breath away. Good preparation perhaps?
So to anyone who chooses to make light of a woman’s impending labour or to assume that she wishes to be warned of the pain I implore you to consider that it really takes a lot to face up to it with positivity and strength. I think all of us first timers know that we really don’t know what to expect with our first experience of childbirth but we can choose how we emotionally and mentally prepare and that is not for you to undo.
Step back pain pedlars! We got this…