Before giving birth to my two boys, I remember being absolutely TERRIFIED of what was going to happen to me.
I knew it was going to hurt, but everyone seemed to describe the pain differently. When you have never experienced childbirth before, the terror can be unrelenting. Little did I know that even though it’ll hurt like nothing else, you soon somewhat forget about it afterwards.
Today, I’m sharing what it felt like for me — and 10 other ladies will also share their experience of trying to describe the pain!
1. Nicky, 22
“The pain felt like I had a massive ‘air bubble’ in my belly that slowly got bigger and bigger. I felt ‘pushed’ literally from the inside out. When it came to actually giving birth, the ‘burning ring of fire’ when the head was crowning was the worst! It wasn’t so much pain as ‘stinging’. And yes, it felt like I was pushing a bowling ball out of my bowel!”
2. Samantha, 39
“It felt like my spine had been grasped by pliers, and was slowly being pulled out of my body via my arse. Thank goodness I had an epidural!”
3. Lindsey, 21
“Labour pains for me were intense, but like nothing I had ever felt before. I didn’t necessarily associate the feeling with pain but more like I really needed to go to the toilet. It felt like a poo that didn’t want to come out!”
4. Annette, 34
“It felt like someone was squeezing my abdomen from the outside until I couldn’t even move or breathe from the intense pain. It is so bad that I could only grunt, couldn’t speak at all. It was like someone was inside my stomach and stabbing me from the inside out. It radiated out from my back to the front.”
5. Cherie, 24
“Having experienced Braxton Hicks on and off since 6 months pregnant both times, I didn’t think that actual contractions were particularly painful. Yes, they are like period pain on steroids, and yes, they are extremely intense just before birth. It almost feels like you’re a jersey cow with some crazed vet, gloved to the shoulder, yanking your insides out through your arse. And just when you think you’ve reached your limit of relentless pain and discomfort, there’s the burning ring of fire as the baby’s head emerges from your vagina.
There’s a moment of reprieve before the next almighty contraction kicks in, the shoulders push their way out and the body of the baby slops out. Right then is the greatest moment of relief you will ever feel in your whole life. The clouds part, angels sing and then remind you that you aren’t done yet. The midwife has a good old dig around your stomach to encourage delivery of the placenta. But you’ll be too busy ogling your new baby to notice!”
6. Shelley, 30
“Oh labour pains! The memories that term evokes. From the early twinges in your lower abdomen and back to the wracking, body-breaking, almost-at-delivery-mega-cramps, it all felt good and bad at the same time. I find it difficult to explain possibly because I find it difficult to remember. I know I feel like I’ve been hit by a train after…With only 2.5 years between my labours, I thought I would remember the lot and be a pro at it the second time round. I had to ask a friend who had recently given birth how you knew you were in labour. Just couldn’t remember the initial pains. She said ‘oh, you’ll know’ and she was right. There’s no mistaking that lower abdomen and back pain that smacks of long-forgotten periods. Drat, it still hurts the second time round.
Having had excruciating period pain all my menstrual life, the early stage of labour is hard but bearable for me. Active labour is really, horribly hard but still bearable because of breathing and some other worldly feeling of strength that comes to me at the end of each contraction (but sometimes rapidly disappears during the next one). I somehow managed the extreme pain. It’s like your belly is exploding and squeezing at the same time. Exploding and squeezing and aching that keeps going and no one will tell you when it might end!!! But you know it will, you know the little miracle that is on its way to your tired arms.”
7. Marie, 25
“Labour lasted for three lovely days in my case. I started bleeding on a Friday, spent the entire weekend going in and out of my doctor’s office because I was not dilating, getting an infinite number of the most uncomfortable internal examinations, getting induced, undergoing an emergency C-section on Sunday midnight, and finally giving birth at dawn.
How did labour feel like? It felt like a living nightmare. I felt my pelvic bones going places they’ve never been before. I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) so I should have been used to stomach cramps, but nothing prepared me for the cramps labour came with. I couldn’t even breathe, so those exercises I practised were out of the question. Well, I still tried. On the way to the hospital, before my operation, I wanted to kick everything but my legs were too tired to do so. I just wanted the entire ordeal to be over; it was the most intense experience I’ve ever had and I remembered feeling so grateful for that shot of anaesthesia.”
8. Joanna, 25
“Labour pain? When I hear those words, I still freak out. It’s the kind of pain you really don’t want to feel again in the longest time. It gradually radiates from simple menstrual cramps to the severest pain ever.
But it’s also the most fulfilling kind of pain. Labour pain made me realise how it’s really like to be a woman. It’s inexplicable. You’ll think of it as an unbearable pain, but it’s going to be worth it. Today, I feel so proud to have gone through it because that brought out a little warrior in the world, healthy and smart.”
9. Michelle, 20
“I would describe labour as one of the most amazingly horrific experiences IN. MY. LIFE! ‘It’s just like a really bad period pain,’ I was told. Bitch – if that’s what you go through every month get that shit ripped out RIGHT NOW!! That is not normal.
Your body feels like it’s trying to contort itself to an inside out position whilst at the same time running an ultra-marathon at full sprint, in bare feet, in water with electrical power lines down all over the place. Every contraction progressively worsens, it IS like electrical wires were connected to every friggin’ single nerve cell firing at full power – all at once. You’ve been going for about 10 hours so far, your supportive partner is asleep in the armchair and you’re not quite sure if you, in actual fact, even have the amount of energy that is required to wring his pathetic selfish neck. In your mind though, it’s a done deal. The excruciating pain continues. You’ve tried pure hot water showers – hell, they didn’t even touch the sides. You have no control over your body and what is happening – you can’t stop it. There are no start overs. Then the nurse tells you – you’re going great, you’re now 4cm dilated. Pass me the flippen’ drugs – NOW!”
10. Nicole, 30
“It felt like the worst ever period pain, then felt like I needed a big poo but not out of my bum…then ripping. So much ripping!”