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Study says a study about labor pain is the douchiest dumbest thing ever

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What if I said a study says that a man getting his balls chopped off isn’t as painful as men claim?


That’s preposterous! I can’t even imagine. I mean, that would be terribly painful. Well. Now don’t get me wrong. It hurts. But ask the man 2 months later and he’ll say maybe he’ll have forgotten the pain.

Or, let’s say he pushed out the Hope diamond from his urethra and didn’t get any pain meds and he might say that it hurt like a mother fucker, but later he forgot the pain once it healed.

Where am I going with this?

Yesterday I read a ridiculous article with the headline, “Study says child birth pain not as painful as women claim.” I’m only linking to the article so you can see how shit it really is. And maybe it’s not the article so much as the study itself that is complete shit.

frugie blog and the study childbirth not as painful as women claim

Let’s look at that shall we?

Child birth pain, not as painful as women claim.


Who the fuck says that?

Women claim? Claim? That seems to suggest doubt. We ‘claim’ to have pain. I mean, maybe just a smidgen. I claim to have seen Bigfoot, but did I really see Bigfoot? I might claim to have once been able to do a back hand spring on the balance beam when I was 15. I might claim I can sing the entire Grease soundtrack by heart.

These CLAIMS may or may not be 100% true. But I’m not ‘claiming’ I had pain during childbirth. I’m shouting it from the mother freaking mountain tops that it hurt like a beast. A mother fucking Johnny Cash Ring of Fire beast.

When you look up the definition of claim it reads:

“an assertion of the truth of something, typically one that is disputed or in doubt.”

Further in the article it reads that the purpose of the study was to see if epidurals were helpful for moms.

See, this is what pisses me off.

Why are we always having to bang down the door for our own worth? We have to fight for birth control, for pain control, for equal pay. I am sick and tired of it.

Like Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister, we’re not gonna take it anymore.

Let’s hear from my panel of experts:

“Everyone always says that childbirth for a woman is like the pain of passing a kidney stone for a man. I have passed two kidney stones and two babies. The gigantic bloody howling bowling balls passing out of my body were way worse. Just sayin’.” – Ellen from Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms (who is a retired DOCTOR by the way.)

“Illinois woman claims that childbirth felt like a flailing rhino was ripping through her body wearing her vagina as a party hat.” Kerry from HouseTalkN who birthed 4 – 10 pound babies! (Not all at once, we won’t give her that much credit.)

“I thought my uterus was going to explode from the pain. It became one giant contraction. Labor had stalled and I didn’t know if I would pass out from the pain, need a c-section, or if it was possible to actually die from pain. The baby’s heart rate was hovering at a danger zone. When they gave me the epidural, I immediately felt warm and relaxed and within 40 minutes I went from 3 cm to 10 cm and delivered my baby girl.” – Me.

Pain is a personal experience. It’s subjective. You would never tell a combat veteran how his pain ‘claims’ to be measured. Pain needs to be honored and respected. It scars us. My painful experience of labor was etched in my cortex for months and months. It brought me to dark places when I was left quietly nursing my daughter, or suffering from a sleepless night. It caused layers of underlying fears and thoughts of inadequacy that haunted me months after my initial post-partum recovery.

I’ve worked through migraines and broken limbs, endometriosis and back injuries throughout my daily life. I’ve never relied on narcotics for these. Does that make them not painful? Less painful? No. It is how I process the pain. It is how I perceive the pain. It doesn’t make it less real.

Pain is not quantifiable. Sure we ask someone to rate their pain on a 1 to 10 scale. It gives us something to measure it in order to treat what they are experiencing. But what a 4 is to one person, could be a 9 to someone else. It’s based on subjective factors like experience and emotion, mental state, fear, lack of fear. Whatever.

Studies like this don’t help women. It doesn’t help our cause for men in lab coats to  try to determine how painful we ‘claim’ child birth is.

I don’t know what it’s like to get kicked in the balls, but I believe a man when he says it’s his worst pain. Is it worse than childbirth? I kind of doubt that. But it’s a severe horrible pain.

Professional soccer players get kicked in the goody sack several times in their career, it doesn’t stop them from playing. Nor does it require 6 weeks postpartum recovery, maxipads the size of Volkswagen Beetles and perineum bottles of warm water every time they use the bathroom.

“The researchers … called the moms twice, two days after birth and again two months later, to see if they used the same pain scale and provide an overall evaluation of her labor pain. The results show the women rated the process less painful two days after their delivery than they did when the researchers asked them again two months later.” (shit study from stupid researchers)

Well gee golly whiz. We actually forget our pain. Yes, this is true. It’s our body’s coping mechanism. It’s why you need a few years between each kid for the amnesia to set in. What happens when a woman is 6 weeks post partum or 12 weeks post partum and finds out she’s pregnant? She cries. That’s what. Because it is no fucking fun.

It’s beautiful, it’s amazing and I love my babies, but it hurts. And that’s not a claim. That’s a fact.

Am I making myself clear?


And just for laughs- let’s watch this video and remember how funny it was to laugh at these guys thinking women exaggerated everything.

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  1. Rebecca, you took that rant right out of my soul and delivered it to me with expletive-laced perfection. I didn’t know it was possible to love you more but I was so so SO wrong. Every sentence in this post had me yelling, “Amen, sista!” with the odd “hallelujah” thrown in for good measure. You win the internet today.

  2. CRACKING up at Ellen’s, Kerry’s and your descriptions of delivery. But it’s a totally fucking serious thing that these folks seem to have taken very lightly. You’re 100000% correct, one person’s 4 is another person’s 9. Pain IS subjective and who are THESE people to trivialize the thoughts, feelings and pain of others??

  3. The pain of childbirth is not comparable to anything. It is a mystery to those who haven’t done it and indescribably by those who have. We can do it because we get a baby at the end that we really want, which dulls the pain for some. Totally a bullshit article.

  4. That’s outrageous and makes me want to pul someone’s bottom lip over the top of his head.

    Maybe they should be in the labor and delivery room telling those moms-to-be that their findings show things aren’t as painful as they may seem and see how THAT goes over.

  5. This. Is. Perfect.

    It’s funny that you also picked up on the one word in all of that stupid ass, dumb as fuck article that sent me over the edge: claim. Because women “claim” it’s painful. Claim???? Do men with prostate problems “claim” that it’s hard to pee?

    I’m so glad you wrote this … perfect amounts of anger, snark, and humor. “Maxipads the size of Volkswagen Beetles” was a real gem!

  6. Ok, I’m game. 🙂

    I didn’t think the study was that dumb. It’s interesting that, while we would expect mothers to discount the pain over time, they actually remember it as MORE painful a couple of months after the birth than they remembered it at the time. What’s going on there, and is it leading to greater expectations of pain and a greater push for epidurals (and other interventions) than would otherwise be necessary? How does this affect the health of women and children?

    Now don’t get me wrong. Some birth experiences are very very very painful and I would deny nobody the right to request their epidural. Bring it on! We love modern medicine and patient autonomy around here, and I have seen some of my toughest friends floored with the pain of childbirth.

    But I think we need to listen equally to the *full range* of birth experiences so everyone (staff too) can sort of keep an open mind going in to each delivery. My experience is that mothers get “rewarded” for outdoing each other on birth horror stories and I suspect this is behind the increasing memories of pain. I’m not sure that’s ideal.

    I’ve found there’s no place in the conversation for mothers like me who were just lucky enough to have births which weren’t painful (the only stories we hear from that side are from the “natural” birth evangelists). At least one woman I know of was so put off by the endless and unbroken horror stories that she had her epidural up front, followed by a high-intervention induced birth. Is this what we call “informed consent”?

    Incorrect assumptions about expected levels of pain based on a skewed common narrative affects staff actions and damages informed consent. It’s worth noting that mothers will report more pain on two month followup than they did at the time of birth, and this should be taken into account when listening to birth horror stories.

  7. Markus Green says:

    The problem looks to be with the headline writer of the article about the study. Nothing in the article suggested that anyone involved with the study doubted that childbirth is as painful as it is. I like what you wrote and agree with your points especially regarding why women have to justify their very real experience of pain. (In the hospital where my wife administers anesthesia the epidural rate is disgustingly low, because the mostly male doctors don’t want to work “babysitting” epidurals and don’t allow mostly female nurse anesthetists to administer them because the CRNAs are paid by the hour and epidurals are reimbursed at a procedure rate. Hospital medical administrators–golly gee, male doctors–somehow don’t view this as an issue). If it seems as if a patriarchy is telling you that childbirth pain is somehow less bad than other pain because squeezing a 9 pound object through a 4 pound opening is a privilege and honor and that women should be more grateful for the pain, well, that’s because it is. I don’t see evidence that the study made the claim that the pain of childbirth is either not real or exaggerated. The Israeli study appears to be concerned with the memory of pain and the effectiveness of epidurals vs. no epidural on pain memory. How would a researcher even design a study to attempt to prove a hypothesis like “women’s subjective experience of pain is not as real as the actual experience of pain by people who are really hurting”? I don’t know why the headline writer wrote the headline that way. Maybe to get clicks? Good post though.

  8. I love all the figurative language you used in this post. And clarifying the word “claim” is key to your argument. Frugie, it’s official – you’re brilliant!