Friday, May 23, 2008

The Pain of Childbirth Classes

"What's the first word that comes to mind when you think about labor and childbirth?"

This was the ice-breaker question for our childbirth classes. As ice-breakers go, I didn't think it was too bad. It wasn't too personal, but it's obviously something that was already on all of our minds! The first woman said "Pain." Ding! Ding! Ding! I felt like, if we were on the Family Feud, the survey would have said she was absolutely correct.

Her husband said it was a process, which was a bit more clinical, but still apt. I suggested "endurance" because Keith had just finished the marathon and I'd been joking about how we both had endurance events this year—the only difference being that Keith trained for months to prepare for his, and mine will probably last 5 times longer.

Most of the answers were pretty predictable; only one answer really stuck out to me because I had instantly disliked the woman who said it, and her answer reaffirmed my initial impression.

"Natural," she had shrugged when it was her turn to answer. "Childbirth is completely natural and women have been doing it for thousands of years." It just seemed like such a snide, self-righteous comment to me. Yes, we all know that we are not the first ones to do this. Or the last. But that doesn't mean that I can't/shouldn't be frightened and apprehensive about squeezing out an 8-pound baby! We're not really talking about the natural process of childbirth—this class is about ME and what can I expect in a few months and how do I prepare for it.

When class re-convened the following week, the instructor asked us to tell one thing that we had learned the week before. Most of us talked about specific parts of labor that we hadn't been aware of, or pain management techniques. Our snide classmate?

"Last week I learned that I already knew even more about childbirth than I had realized!"

So all of that information may have been news to us uneducated masses, but SHE knew better.
I suppose it's probably wrong that I wish her an incredibly long and painful labor, isn't it?


revjeremy said...

Did she mention that women have been giving birth for exactly 6000 years?

cat said...

I have a seething dislike for that woman too. We'll see who's screaming for Demerol ... ;)

M. Lubbers said...

Jeremy: She did not, actually. I should have asked her.

Cat: I can't remember exactly when she's due. I think it was a few weeks after me, though. So I'll probably never find out how her birth goes. I know how I'll be picturing it, though ...;)