It’s said to be one of the most painful experiences humans can endure but billions of people have lived to tell the tale. Now, mothers are revealing exactly what it feels like to give birth.
A thread on the question-and-answer site Quora invited women to explain what the sensation of bringing a life into the world. The stories detail the pain, but also the joy, of childbirth.
The top response was by a woman called Jane Chin, which has been viewed more than 7,000 times.
“I was in so much pain I could not form a thought,” she wrote. “I couldn't stand up. I couldn't sit down. I couldn't even breathe.
After accepting an epidural to combat the pain, Chin recalls how it felt “strange” to push despite feeling numb.
“I would describe it as what it must be like to “use the force” and trust that whatever my mind was willing the muscles that I couldn't feel to ‘do’.
“Suddenly it was all over and the baby comes out and they plop it on you so you can cry at it while it cries back at you.”
One anonymous user commented that the initial stages of childbirth were like “terrible menstrual cramps”.
“Your guts hurt. Your hips ache. You may get sick to your stomach.”
But when the baby is delivered, she added, “the pain is OVER in this amazing, insane, sunshine-after-a-storm way, so much so that you barely feel the rest of what's going on with you.”
A user called Laura Thomson, wrote “The whole experience was very primal, not driven by the usual rational part of my brain that writes code and so on, but by instinct and survival."
Barbara Carleton simply wrote “yes, there is pain” but said it was “relative” and better than a kidney biopsy or riding a roller coaster.
Jane Graham added: "the pain of contractions burns like wasabi, but also like wasabi, it clears immediately. So even though it feels worse than anything you can imagine, the recovery is shockingly quick."
Elizabeth Duff, senior policy advisor at the NCT parenting charity, told The Independent. “Women have more choice than ever before around how they give birth to their baby and just as every women is different, so is every birth.
“Preparation during pregnancy can include learning about all the options, understanding any potential risks, knowing how to create an ever-flexible plan for labour and birth, and how to make decisions from information available.
“New parents should use the time during pregnancy to build networks that offer support and information that they’ll need in the early days.”
For further information about what to expect from childbirth, visit the NHS website.
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