Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dad, FDR and Labor Pain

I remember my dad quoting FDR when I was a little kid, telling me that I had "nothing to fear but fear itself." For years, I believed him (FDR, not my dad. By age two I knew my dad was full of it.)

However, it turns out both FDR and Dad were wrong. The unknown and the fear it begets are indeed scary. But, in the birthing class I attended last weekend with Mrs. Blackwell, I learned that severe pain is worse.  

In the class we learned about coping and pain management techniques for women in labor, though the "pretending you're somewhere else" approach and good, old-fashioned denial were skipped over.

Awww, Dad. You taught me all I know about BS.
We talked about how the "Fear - Tension - Pain" cycle works as child birth progresses, though that could easily have been called the "Fear - More Fear - Terror" cycle.

Epidurals took up a large part of our discussion and for good reason, they seem like a pretty smart idea. 

Descriptions of pain during child birth run the gamut from scarily descriptive to gross hyperbole. (Sorry but I will forever fail to see how delivering a baby equates to stretching one's bottom lip over their forehead, as I once heard.)

The nurse who led us through birthing class said the closest a guy will come to understanding delivering a baby is passing a kidney stone. Suffice it to say that I've now heard enough plausible analogies to know that labor is extremely, extremely painful.

What was interesting to me was when the nurse said there was "no shame" in getting an epidural. 

Shame?

I wasn't sure exactly what she meant by this but as she went on I learned that, for those ladies who choose to get an epidural, there is occasionally a stigma attached that perhaps they weren't tough enough. 

Child birth = just like Cast Away but without the volley ball.
You see guys, women aren't immune to some of the machismo baloney we fall into. In fact, some women choose the most feminine of acts (child birth) to assert their toughness. 

As the lesson wore on, we continued to learn new and disturbing facts. Pain could lead a woman in labor to say and do horrible, horrible things.

It could lead them to lose all track of time and become detached from the outside world -- kind of like living on an island. 

Of course the guys get off pretty easy in this whole deal, except of course when their lady is yelling "You did this to me!" whilst throwing a bed pan at their throat.

But according to one nurse and relayed by someone who will never deliver a child, you can - and should - have a fear of pain. But, the fear of that pain does not outweigh pain itself - unless you've got an epidural.   

Editor's Note: We here at Blackwell's Mark wholeheartedly acknowledge that Mr. Blackwell's father is an upright, ethical man and did not teach any of his sons the art of BS; his mother did. 

Adendum to Editor's Note: We here at Blackwell's Mark wholeheartedly acknowledge that while she is a fine conversationalist and an expert sales manager, Mr. Blackwell's mother did not teach any of her son's the art of BS. 

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