Wondering how painful childbirth will be is totally normal. Answering the question of just how painful though is a little less straightforward.
Recently, we posed this question to our Facebook followers and were flooded with incredible answers. Some were blunt, some were beautiful, and some were hilarious metaphors that painted a disturbingly clear picture. I’m looking at you, boulder pooper.
How Painful is Childbirth?
What Science Says
Unfortunately science doesn’t have a ton of concrete findings on this. There’s a crappy meme out there that claims childbirth clocks in at a whopping “57 del” on the pain scale, which admittedly sounds frightful. But a little digging shows that there is no such pain scale (thanks, Snopes). The meme, just like unicorns and affordable shiplap, is entirely urban legend.
Pain is difficult to quantify, and everyone experiences it differently, but there’s still one important thing science has to offer. Studies have shown that fear can make pain worse, so fear of childbirth (among eleventeen hundred other factors) could make your experience more painful.
How Painful is Childbirth According to Our Readers
How people answer this question varies wildly, but we’ve broken them down into a few categories.
The “Little Engine That Could”
1/ I have what I consider to be a pretty low pain tolerance and there was no point where I thought, “I can’t do this” From water breaking (first sign of labor) to baby being born was about 23 hrs for me and I’d say about 10-11 of those hours were “hard” or “painful”. If I can do that, anyone can. – Emm
2/ The contractions are so intense you can’t think about it being painful. You can’t actually think about anything. You are just in it. So present. It’s impossible to do anything except
3/ So empowering! Pain with a purpose – Rebecca
4/ It was uncomfortable, but I wouldn’t really say it was horrible. I did get tired of pushing, but would birth a million babies if I didn’t have to carry them!! – Kelly
5/ It feels like waves crashing through you, this incredible force of nature that you can’t escape. You just have to try to breathe when you can and let it wash over you. It also feels kind of like
6/ In my opinion, it hurts so
The “Everything Hurts and I’m Dying”
7/ 0/5 stars, do not recommend – Judith
8/ Nurse: Are you ready to push now? Me: I’m ready to die now. (Daughter came too quickly for me to get an epidural so I had to do it au naturel) – Elizabeth
9/ While the contractions were extremely uncomfortable, the worst part is near the
10/ I remember thinking how the efffff do people do this multiple times and some without epidurals!! Then I held my boy and didn’t even notice the stitching and sewing back together of my nether region. – Erica
11/ I remember closing my legs and saying: “okay I’ve had enough, I’m going home now” and when I was “encouraged” to keep trying, I screamed at my unborn child to get the [email protected]#$ out of me!!! -Meg
12/Painful enough to bite my husband and hold on like a scared lizard when he stupidly put his arm on the bed in front of my face. – Marie
13/ I’m not religious but I may have seen Jesus it was so painful – Adrienne
14/ Imagine a more severe,
The Hilarious Metaphors
15/ It feels like being really constipated and trying to poop out a boulder the size of a planet. – Bekah
16/ Like being split in half with the Jaws of Life, which someone has so kindly heated up first in the fires of hell. So,
17/ Crapping out a pineapple accurately described it – Elissa
18/ I will say this… Johnny Cash doesn’t know a thing about the “Ring of Fire” – Melissa
20/ It’s like running a long-distance race. In the middle all you can think is “UUUGGGHHHHHH
Everyone’s labor is different
Either way, there’s zero shame, and whatever path you take you embrace that shiz and get down with your bad self. Okay? Okay.
How would you describe it to someone?