Pain is good . . .yeah yeah

Like about 2 billion other women I sat fuming at Denis Walsh’s notion that pain in childbirth is a good thing and helps (oh God here we go again) the ‘bonding experience.’ More guilt mongering cock. I have every respect for natural childbirth – having had an epidural that didn’t fucking work and thus having it forced on me. Did I feel more bonded? Nope. Just stunned relief she was out. I remember the Nigerian midwife yanking out the Girl in a flood of lubricating jelly and gunge while I sat, sweat dripping onto the bed. She asked me if I wanted to hold the baby and I shook my head vigorously. Because I wanted just a few seconds to catch my breath and get my body back. Husband held her while I sat crumpled, head spinning.

Here’s the thing. I knew I wasn’t in danger. I’d already had a baby so I also sort of knew what to expect. I did my breathing. Husband reminded me to breathe in fact (and was rewarded by a spurt of language a Docker would have blushed at). And I tried to think of the word ‘sensation’ instead of ‘pain’. And you know what? If someone had offered me a bullet at one point I would have taken it. Good on you if you want to have a drug free birth. But if you’re a man do not make moral pronouncements on a pain you will never experience. Not unless you’ve inserted a golfing umbrella up your arse, opened it and pushed it out again.

7 thoughts on “Pain is good . . .yeah yeah

  1. The golfing umbrella is an excellent analogy. I actually prefer it to my usual 'being repeatedly slammed in the abdomen with a fire extinguisher'.I also read this crock of crap in the Observer. Bond with your baby? This is a kind of pain that makes you want to send it to Coventry for the first 6 months…


  2. I listened on R4 and bizarrely found myself giving him a chance to explain his philosophy and then realising pretty quick that he was talking out of his….umbrella stand.


  3. I too huffed at this. I had a very intense back labour but did not have an epidural as the anaethetist was busy and by the time she was ready (after an hour!) I was starting to push. In terms of the pain helping with bonding…I am thinking of a polite way to put this but really what crap. I was lucky enough to get that rush of love straight away but spent the next few weeks having nightmares about the labour itself. Because no epidural was available I ended up having pethidine which did nothing for the pain but caused real problems with a sleepy, jaundiced baby who would not latch on. How that helps with bonding is anyone's guess.


  4. Platespinner a back labour sounds awful and yes – the anaethetists are little Gods sometimes. I think it's about money – as in saving it – and what better way than to guilt mothers into thinking that a drug free birth is morally superior? My problem is that you may well set out to have a drug free labour but you might change your mind after . . oooh . . twenty hours. Then what? Why should you feel bad about wanting an epidural? And of course by the time you're desperate for one it might be too late.


  5. "My problem is that you may well set out to have a drug free labour but you might change your mind after . . oooh . . twenty hours." Abso-bloody-lutely!Drug free is very commendable and probably better for baby, but then mum's mental health is important for baby too. Birth works out how it works out – you do it the only way you can do it.Love the umbrealla analogy. My 5 year old was 10 pounds 2 oz and breach so I got a c-section. I would not have put bets on my doing without help if they hadn't have done that.


  6. Part of the cause of my post-natal depression was the horrors of childbirth – an episiotomy that didn't heal correctly and required a repair 6 months later… Yes I can understand from a hormonal point of view that there might be a connection between pain and the onset rush of hormones that can bond mum and child and make it easier to "forget" childbirth that evolution and instinct have produced, but there are degrees of pain. I'm sure if the midwife concerned had had to suffer dissolving stitches that didn't dissolve because the doctor put knots in on his most tenderest areas, he might not be so glib.


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