Friday, January 25, 2008

Explaining the Impossible

Men may not want to read this, and if you don't - that's fine. Just don't read it and then cry about TMI. Consider yourself warned! :) Also, don't lecture me about playing the martyr. This post isn't about martyrdom, I'm just sayin' it's difficult to explain to someone else - so zip it. ;)

Last night, my dear Hub asked me a profound question.

“What does it feel like to have a baby?”

I really had to think hard about that answer.

Now, explaining to another woman isn’t as challenging, as we all have the same – eh – structure. And if I’d refer to certain sensations in certain anatomical areas, she’d understand what I’d be talking about to a much more successful degree. But how do you describe something physical to someone who not only would never be able to experience it, but doesn’t even have the proper equipment in which to even relate?

To me, labor felt like increasingly excruciating menstrual cramps. But what feels like menstrual cramps besides menstrual cramps? So I described it as imagining really bad diarrhea cramps, but about twenty times worse, and centralized between your belly button and your – eh – peepee. Combine that with an immense and unique form of internal pressure from the inside of your pelvis, splitting those bones apart. And a burning sensation, as if the skin of your most delicate nether regions were being stretched to (and beyond) the point where it can remain intact.

Yes, I had an epidural. But it wore off mid-birth and I remember the subsequent sensations very, very well.

Did he understand the parallels I was trying to draw? I’m not sure. So I ask my women blogfriends with children, how would you describe the sensation of childbirth? Foregoing the typical “squeezing a bowling ball through a keyhole” illustrations, I mean actual comparable sensations. As if to someone who has no concept – what could they expect?

I imagine a similar dilemma would arise if I’d ask him what it feels like to be kicked in the jewels. Something that is, no matter what he would say, a sensation I’m sure I will never fully be able to grasp.

BTW, speaking of motherhood, today is my Grandma's birthday. She died in 2005, but she would be 98 today. Happy Birthday, Grandma - I miss you!


BigDadGib said...

God bless you.
How you girls do it is beyond me.

I was such a big baby, I was born on Dec 1, 2nd and 3rd.

Mom never forgave me... LOL

Nelly said...

YEAH! It sucked! The whole labor part that is...seeing the miracle that came from the pain somehow made it all worth it! :*)

My husband swears it is just like getting kicked in the jewels! ha ha

Spin_Doc1 said...

Having the wisdom of never doing either, I think childbirth is much worse (and longer) than being kicked in the jewels.

Spellcaster said...

So I supposed quoting Carol Burnette won't do? She said labor was like taking your bottom lip and pulling it over the top of your head. It's all I thought about during my loabor for all of my kids. But in all seriousness, each childbirth story I have is different. From contractions that were 1,000,000 worse than menstrual cramps to Jake feeling like I had to take poo because his head was crowning, it didn't feel like poo cramps.....just like I had to go, of course I didn't have to go, it was him! Which is why I lovingly call him "shithead"....but I digress. It hurt, All three of them hurt, but as soon as I held each child in my arms every ounce of pain went away.

Michelle said...

What about a lower abdominal/vaginal dry heave. Uncontrollable icky pain.

Lori said...

I don't think I can add much to this...sounds like you all nailed it! My daughter (first) was breech, so I had a scheduled C-section...but my son - wow. Incredible pain - all consuming. They say you forget it...but you don't! Is it worth it? No doubt about it. A day of pain vs. a lifetime of joy? No competition!

Martie said...

I heard a doctor once tell a man who was passing a kidney stone that the pain of that was just like labor for a woman. How in the heck would he know..........he was a male doctor, telling another man how labor felt........a big huge DUH!!!! for him!

Smerdyakov said...

I think the whole "childbirth pain" thing is just a big scam perpetuated by women so men will feel guilty and buy them things.
It probably feels like a shiatsu massage.

Anonymous said...

My sister in law would use this example "It's like pulling a football through your nose."

Nerdy said...

Yeah, I've got nothin'. Now jewels so don't know what that feels like and I haven't had kids yet (God let there be a yet there) so I have no idea how that feels yet. But I loved that you spelled it out for me. Something to look forward to. :)

BTW, do you REALLY not know who Rusty Wallace and Bobby Allison are?

Anonymous said...

When I heard my mom describe her experience in giving birth to me, I knew that I didn't ever want to have children. Not that it isn't worth it if children is what you want. Having children is not something I desire. It is not only one of the most painful experiences one can have but also a commitment and responsibility that ultimately can last a lifetime.

I'll just stick with being a fur momma. LOL