Some Thoughts

For awhile now I’ve seen this picture floating around on Facebook…

Going to stop there and make a couple BIG disclaimers:

Disclaimer #1.  In writing this I am not meaning anything against anyone who has posted this picture.  A) Everyone has a right to share whatever they wish on Facebook, so even if it was something horribly offensive (which this is not) – oh well… I’ve moved on from worse things on there before lol.   B) Because of the places/people I’ve seen this come from I feel pretty safe in guessing the spirit in which it was intended and it’s a good one.

Disclaimer #2.  This is tied into point B above… Not only do I know most people sharing this picture are meaning it in a very empowering way, but I’m pretty sure it was made with that intention as well.

Anyways… That all being said, this picture has been bothering me for awhile and I finally pinpointed why.

Or at least I figured out what was bothering me beyond the obvious.

On a personal level I had no problem figuring out what bothered me about it.  I’m here preparing for another painfree (naturally painfree) birth.  Part of this includes avoiding things that undermine that, like drama filled tv shows showing a woman screaming her bloody head off…  While not quite as bad as that (LOL) this does that to an extent too.  But as I mentioned in my disclaimer (or hinted at rather) I’m not about to tell someone not to post something they believe in, like or whatever on Facebook. Not cool.  Deep breath, find my happy place if I need to and move on.

But there was something else nagging at me beyond that… and I finally figured out what it is!

It makes it sound impossible.  The human body can only bear up to so much pain, but childbirth equals more…  Ignoring personal beliefs about pain and childbirth, and the fact that its supposed to be about how strong mothers are, to me it comes across as seeming like something we can’t do on our own or would be silly to try.    Maybe I’m just being cynical lol… but that’s the impression it gives me.  And writing that out, I guess that does tie into my first reason a bit…  expands on it maybe? I don’t know… I’m babbling at this point lol.

Feel free to disagree 😉  or give any other thoughts…  Pulling it apart and thinking about it from different angles has kinda helped me on this one.  Still not crazy about it, but at least I can look at it more objectively now.


16 thoughts on “Some Thoughts

  1. Deborah says:

    I agree. The first statement, that a body can bear only up to X amount of pain … I don’t think that’s correct, anyway. Now, maybe it’s true that the average person will pass out or something once they reach X amount of pain, but … if the human body can’t bear it, that means that the human body will die once that threshold is passed. I know that some do die during childbirth, and many more used to, but it wasn’t the pain that did it! (And I know your birth will be pain free, just acknowledging that not everyone’s is, often because they don’t expect it to be.) I’ve always thought that human beings can bear whatever they have to bear. Many of us have had situations where we’re positive we just can’t bear a certain something … and then that certain something comes, and it’s hard, and we hate it, and maybe it even leaves scars … but we survive. We bear it. We can bear anything we have to bear, until the good Lord decides that our time on Earth is done. We don’t always bear it well; that’s a combination of the severity of the situation and our choices. But we bear it. I don’t like being told what the human body can bear–especially when it’s followed up with the statement that a normal part of life is more than the human body can bear.

    I agree; people posting it don’t mean any harm. They mean to say “Look how amazing mothers are! Go, Moms!” But it isn’t correct, and it does make it seem like natural childbirth is out of reach for all but the strongest women, and that just isn’t true.

    • Mama Kalila says:

      Yeah that’s true lol.. I have heard that after a certain amount you just pass out or go… but as mentioned in another comment not everyone’s limit is the same.

      As for the pain in childbirth thing… I was trying not to get into that in my post here, but I’m not trying to say that noone will ever feel pain in childbirth. Obviously that’s not true. But I do firmly believe that we don’t have too feel pain in childbirth. Expecting it pretty much guarantees it will happen (not always of course) and most women here expect it therefor it does. And then of course, even when not expecting it there are occasions that can come up that would make it more uncomfortable than others. My second birth being a great example. I worked hard at preparing for a pain free birth. I did not expect back labour… and that hit me pretty hard. It was uncomfortable for awhile because of that. There were also a couple points that I lost focus at the end (totally normal) and had more discomfort than I would have had I not done that… I managed to control it and definitely not unhappy with how it went.. but 100$ pain free it wasn’t. Could that happen to me again this time? Sure… but I know where my areas are that I need to work on and plan to do so. *sigh* This could make a whole post on its own couldn’t it? LOL It prob will sooner or later.

      But yes when there is discomfort (or even pain) in childbirth we can bear it typically.

      • Mama Kalila says:

        Have to add that I totally misread your comment at first too. For some reason I thought you were saying women go into it thinking it will be pain free and are surprised by it and was a bit confused by that. Note to self: need time to wake up more before reading emails!

  2. deltaflute says:

    Never saw this picture before. Is it just me or is that woman laboring on her back?

    Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t putting a mother on her back make labor more painful. That’s what all those birthing videos told me.

    Yes, labor is intense especially at the end. But I don’t think it’s all that bad. You don’t pass out. It’s certainly not fun, but it doesn’t feel like you’re bones are being broken. And generally speaking the end part is the quickest even for first time laborers.

    I think people exaggerate it the pain because “modern” medicine has put women into situations (like laying down) that make it more difficult for the woman to manage her pain. You wouldn’t put a person with chronic pain in that same position. You’d actually try to alleviate their pain through physical therapy (and sometimes meds). Once a mother learns how to manage the pain childbirth is much easier to handle. So I think the message isn’t really true. We could glorify motherhood in other ways. How about a pic with a sleepless mom with a newborn? Now that’s what I call a mother’s real pain and love.

    • Mama Kalila says:

      I’m going to come back to your’s later Deltaflute because I want to be more awake, but you hit some key points in your comment that I love.

    • Mama Kalila says:

      Or not… I’m more awake than I thought.

      It does look like she’s labouring on her back. That is a great point. And one I had not thought of lol. Of course its going to be uncomfortable (and harder!) for her. Granted I have heard of some women who actually feel the need to birth that way… It does happen. But having done both, it is much harder.

      As for exaggerating the pain… I think there are a lot of factors that play into that. And to an extent its not exaggerated (unless you’re meaning it in the sense of it being made harder than it should be), because for most women it ends up being that hard because of being put in those positions, and being treated the way they are, and scared the way “we” (as a society) try to scare them.

  3. bryttni says:

    I haven’t ever liked this photo either. virtually the same reasons. But also, the second number can’t be unanimous for all labours..? Everyone’s pain tolerance is different…idk, just seems weird. my birth wasn’t pain free, but really, it wasn’t horrific. I’ve felt many worse pains! I loved it and can’t wait to do it again (:

    • Mama Kalila says:

      Another good point… every birth is different. Not only does everyone have a diff pain tolerance, but even between births (when having multiple children) things can go differently. My first birth was extremely painful, second wasn’t. Prepped differently and did things a diff way because I knew it didn’t have to be like that. Even if I hadn’t though, each child has different challenges (I had a huge difference in size) sometimes positions of baby are different, etc.

  4. I don’t like that it limits the human body…or saying that a certain amount of pain is felt during childbirth. EACH birth is different…some are more painful than others…but we are designed TO GIVE BIRTH…so why would it be more than the body can bear…

  5. mommybabyspot says:

    @ deltaflute: that was my first impression too! “Well she’s on her back, of course it’s gonna be worse!” LOL

    As far as the 20 fractures thing goes, it’s a differnt kind of pain and can’t really be compared to regular pain because of pain things (like fracturing or breaking a bone). It’s a pain that has a purpose besides you just being clumsy and banging your baby toe in the dark. It’s a pain that is instantly over and pretty forgotten about usually, once that baby is in your arms and all those indorphines and hormones swoosh through your body!
    I get the point that the picture and caption are trying to make, but to me it kinda cheapins the process of delivering a baby to “wow look at how much pain they can handle” and what if the woman that sees this thinks “gosh I can’t even handle plucking my eyebrows very well and that’s nowhere near fracturing a bone! I’ll never be able to do this” this picture and caption is just setting her up for a failed natural birth 😦
    Thanks for bringing this picture up, I hadn’t seen it before now.

    • Mama Kalila says:

      Another good point, apples to oranges.

      And yes to the cheapening. Another thought I had, and left out because I wasn’t sure where to go with it was the “martyrdom” complex. Look we can handle more pain… Well first off like you said, even going on the premise that you do feel pain – its not going to be the same. Second… Its not about that or it shouldn’t be. One of the biggest arguments I keep hearing against having natural births is that we’re trying to be martyrs and of course the response is a big fat NO, but this kinda plays into it.

      • mommybabyspot says:

        Martyrs? really? I’ve never heard this but I’m not surprised. I have heard that I think I’m better than people because I have natural births. That’s not true, if anything I may feel better informed that some people…but some people are super informed and still opt for intervention or “help”. Martyr…pfft… LOL

  6. Michelle says:

    I think you have hit the nail on the head with this one. The surface message seems innocent enough, but the underlying message does more harm than good by planting seeds of doubt in the heads of first-time mothers (or first-time natural birthing mothers). First of all, I would never compare the pain of labor to the pain of fracturing almost three dozen bones – that’s an apples and oranges analogy. Second, who determined that the human body can only bear so much pain? Don’t different people have different levels of tolerance to pain? Doesn’t adrenalin start pumping once a certain pain level is reached, thereby making pain more tolerable?
    As well-intentioned as this photo may be, it’s full of holes.

    • Kim says:

      I was going to say but it’s kinda been said by others that everyone experiences labour differently and has different levels of pain and per pregnancy as well. I have known ppl to tell me it’s been horrific and I have known ppl to say it didn’t hurt at all and I believe them both. I have had 7 births and all 7 have had different levels of pain. I had 2 natural and the natural ones did hurt much less than the ones I had to be induced for. There are so many factors that play into each birth so I have no idea where they get this statistic and numbers from in the first place. That’s plain crazy and made up. There is no way to do document numbers like that.

      Only one of 7 labours would I have considered horrific pain and there were many factors that contributed to that. The average person isn’t going to experience that… What did happen is that I got to my pain threshold. Can’t really explain it but at a certain point you just go numb and stop feeling the pain altogether. It stopped once baby came out and lessoned back to the senstion of pain again and gradually declined. After the baby was in my arms I was still in pain. But like I said it was a freaky birth and not common. And in general natural birth hurts much much less than induced ones because the body is ready in so many more ways and is prepped for birth rather than forced to go through labour when you aren’t really ready.

      • Mama Kalila says:


        So sorry about the freaky one… and I totally believe you on the induction bit. I’ve been lucky enough to avoid that so far, but everything I’ve read agrees with you on it.

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