[TRANSCRIPT OF ANSWER]
Pain Does Not Equal Suffering
I would say probably universally, the pain of labor is one of the things that every woman anticipates, and many times it flavors their choices that they’re even making for the end of labor with their anticipation of even needing pain medication. But I think if we can back out of that and change how we look at pain and understand the gift that it brings to us, we can really anticipate birth as a sacred moment where you’re making choices from preference and not from fear.
So when someone asks me if they’re going to be able to handle the pain of labor, I encourage them to think back to the times in their life when they’ve lived for days or even longer with uncomfortable sensations. Pain that you work with and build up to and work with over time is much less challenging than what you’ve been led to believe about birth. If your labor starts gradually and builds over time, your body’s going to compensate for it in amazing ways.
And one of the most amazing ways is you’re going to make endorphins, which are nature’s pain relief. They are so magical that the pharmaceutical industry used them as the blueprint for how to make pain relief medications, including morphine. And your body makes it already. So when you begin to experience the pain of labor, your body will quickly whip up this beautiful concoction of endorphins that will drench your body and cross to your baby and give your baby a really great load of protective anesthesia. So that when your baby’s head is being moved out of the birth canal and the bones and the skull are sliding together and even overlapping, your baby gets the benefit of your endorphins to help make this labor more tolerable for the baby.
Gift To Your Baby
So in a way, the challenge that you face in labor accepting the challenge of the pain and discomfort of labor, giving your body a chance to make just the most magical endorphins and pain relief that are just enough to get you through will also be this beautiful gift to your baby to help the baby tolerate labor Is labor painful? Sure. But it’s not intolerable. It is totally doable. And your body is magnificently made to answer that pain with endorphins.