What does labour FEEL like?
Knives and spears?
Intense and powerful?
Unbelievable focus and love?
Not surprisingly, the one question I KNOW I'll be asked by first time Mums is 'What does labour actually feel like'? That's because we're conditioned to expect labour = pain, so it's the pretty much the first thing we look for when we're trying to work out whether labour has started.
The thing is, pain is a complex thing. It's not as simple as nerve endings sending pain messages to your brain. Our nervous system is just telling our brain that something is happening, and THEN we interpret that. Our experience of pain is complicated by what is happening around us (do we feel scared or confident?), by how other people react (do they look worried or relaxed?), and what our expectations of the situation are (is this broken leg going to need to be sawn off?....I'm kidding).
So what happens to that pain for women who have positive birth experiences? They're able to shift their expectations so that pain isn't everything. They are able to interpret the physical messages to reflect the process. They don't feel fearful of the sensations. They have techniques to hand. And they use gas&air, pethidine, epidurals too, sometimes, just like everyone. Remember - the point isn't to avoid one thing, or guarantee another, it's to ensure you do not suffer.
Women are overwhelmed with negative stories about birth, and how painful it is. So I'd love to pay some of our positive birth stories forward. So hit me up with 3 words that describe your labour....