“Like pooping a portable television” Women explain the pain of childbirth

Posted in Birth.

Parenting website Mumsnet is a melting pot of maternal story-telling. The forum users are reliably frank when it comes to telling it how it is (for them) and their latest chatter about how birthing a baby really feels was no exception.

“She asked how painful it is”

Let us just say from the get-go that some women have a breezy and pain-free experience of birth. We salute them. We truly do!

For the rest of the baby-growing mums out there however, pain is a part of of the process. Of course it’s “pain with a purpose” and the feeling of pushing through the agony for the ultimate prize – a brand new baby – is one we’re thrilled to have gone through. That said … it freaking hurts! And one woman wanted to know how much.

“[My sister-in-law] is trying for a baby,” the Mumsnet mother posted, hoping others could help because frankly, she was struggling. “She asked how painful it is. I told her there is no way to describe it. She said it must feel like something. I can’t think of anything that explains the feeling.” 

Woman in a birthing pool during labour with partner by her side.Like pooping a telly?

As you can imagine, the floodgates opened, as mums rushed in to provide an accurate description of how it feels to push a watermelon through a keyhole. It’s fair to say that there’s a gleeful camaraderie when tired ladies talk about the agony and ecstasy of birth. Perhaps it’s a sort of trauma bonding? We’ll let them explain:

“I think there is or are points when most people think they might die, aren’t there? That might sum it up neatly … ” one woman posted.

Some mums had really mixed feelings.

“It was very painful, but my body made some sort of fabulous hormonal thing that put me in a state of total bliss – it was what I imagine heroin feels like. I was desperate to get pregnant again for a year after the birth, not to have another baby, but just to experience that high again,” another woman remembered, and others chimed in to say they’d felt the same thing.

Others were significantly less keen on the whole labour and crowning business.

“Like the worst gastroenteritis ever. Or swine flu,” another suggested, while someone else summed it up as “a mixture of horrendously bad period pain, backache and trapped wind all at once.”

All worth it

Many mums were keen to point out that their births involved seemingly impossible feats, pressure and hard work – and a bearable sort of pain.

“My first was induced with an epidural – very calm and civilised, effort rather than pain,” one mum recalls.

“It felt like the worst period pain ever followed by the worst constipation ever. Unpleasant but handleable,” another confirmed.

“Like shitting a portable telly. Nowt else really describes it so well as this perfect quote from my (midwife) mate!” one mum chortled.

“There is no way to explain it other than, it’s horrible but bearable, and worth it,” a more generous woman wrote.

A birth pain spectrum

Lots of mums pointed out that a spectrum of experiences and pain levels were completely normal and that having realistic expectations was important.

“Surely the whole point is that it completely differs. It’s never going to beat a spa day but it’s awful for some and ok for others,” one mum noted.

“No one would’ve invented the epidural if it was like being licked by kittens,” a wise lady posted, while others mentioned fire, various power tools, birthing footballs, pooping THE MOON out and we won’t go into such things.

Of course, as one woman pointed out, countless women choose to go through birth time and time again, indicating that it’s painful BUT endurable, and indeed worth it all, in the end.

Taking birthing classes, watching or experiencing other births and having a flexible approach to how labour is managed all combine to ensure women go into their births prepared for the challenge ahead – and ready to meet their beautiful baby!


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