I mentioned an interesting pain acronym in my youtube vlogs that we learned about in our birth class the other week. Since I didn't go into details about it there, I'll go ahead and post it here for you to read up on. I'm not sure exactly who to credit for this information, so I'll just summarize it.
Purposeful: Labor pains bring about the birth of a baby. Usually pain indicates that there's a problem. For example, when we break a bone, it hurts because our body is signaling to our brain that something's wrong. In labor, nothing's wrong. The pain is there to direct our body to open up and birth the baby. The pain will direct our movements, whether to eat or drink, use the bathroom, etc. Rather than thinking of a contraction as such, it may be useful to think of it as an expansion. This is exactly what the body needs to do to safely birth a baby.
Anticipated: In my own experience with the usual type of pain (the pain that indicates something is wrong) it hurts more because I'm not expecting it and I'm fearful of the unknown. But if you're pregnant, you know you're going to experience labor pains eventually, so prepare for it! Figure out what soothes and relaxes you. Check out my previous post for ideas.
Intermittent: When I first really understood this, it totally empowered me: You're only in pain HALF the time! People say they had an 18 hour labor, and we tend to think they were in constant pain, but contractions COME AND GO! We know this, but it's still a novel idea. Our doula said she's seen people FALL ASLEEP between contractions! Even if it's just 2 minutes. It gives them the boost they need to cope with the next one. So really, an 18 hour labor may be only 9 hours of actual pain with short periods of rest in between. Eventually of course, labor gets more and more intense, especially during transition, at which point it's really important to let go of the last contraction when it ends, let it go, and allow the next one to come.
Normal: This is what I always tell myself, and if you've watched my vlogs you've heard me say it: women were made to be able to birth a baby. That is such a comforting thought to me, that my body can actually handle this. Of course, not every pregnancy goes completely smoothly with no complications, and thank heavens for the medical technology that saves the lives of moms and babies who unfortunately meet with complications. Pregnancy and birth is a NORMAL, BEAUTIFUL, NECESSARY part of life. What if Eve said after her first baby "screw this I just can't handle it! No more kids for me!" We'd all be in a pickle now wouldn't we?
Well I don't know how labor really feels, and I'm eager to experience it. I may need medical intervention. I'm open to it, but I'd really like to see what I'm capable of. I've gained such a respect for my body and what it has already done in growing my little girl. I feel like a bystander in awe just watching creation happening to me. I see nature a bit differently now. It's not around me, separate from me, it IS me.