‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how painful will this labour thing be?’
At almost 20 weeks pregnant, I find myself comparing the pain of anything that happens to me to labour. For example, I stubbed my toe against our bedpost the other day while picking up laundry. It hurt like hell but all I could think about was ‘I wonder how this pain compares to labour?’ Which makes about as much sense as comparing Amy Winehouse and Anne Hathaway on a style scale. But pregnant Ezmy doesn’t shy away from the nonsense thoughts, as we well know.
All this wondering about pain could prompt someone to ask other women who have kids about their experiences. I mean, who better to tell you, right? But this means opening yourself up to one of two types of answers, neither of which is very satisfying. First, there are the Super Frightening answers – the ‘Oh god, I was in labour for 50 hours before they finally decided to perform a C-section because the kid wasn’t coming out’, the ‘Oh yeah, the labour was so fast that the baby was born in the bathroom and came out not breathing and the paramedics revived her at the last minute’, the ‘The baby tore through my uterus and both of us nearly died’, and the general ‘I thought I was going to die from the pain’ stories. All of which are enough to make you think ‘Huh, I wonder if the kid can just, you know, stay in there….”
Second, and in some ways far worse, is the Beautiful Experience type of answer. Which, unsurprisingly, often comes from those same women who insist that pregnancy is a beautiful journey (interesting, yes. But beautiful? No.). You know the ones – ‘Oh I was so caught up in the magic of the moment, I barely felt the pain’, or ‘Well, my labour lasted about 45 minutes…I guess it was painful’, and my personal favourite, ‘I don’t know what these other women are complaining about – I don’t remember labour being that bad.’ Really? Really? You pushed out an 8lb watermelon and you don’t remember it being that bad? All I can say is pfft.
What the variety of answers means of course is that no one’s experience will help me. Neither will comparing the pain of stubbed toes, paper cuts, and foot cramps to the pain of labour on some irrelevant pain scale. There is nothing I can do to prepare myself for this, just like there is nothing I can do to prepare myself for my life post-pregnancy.