Along with worrying about if you'll have enough money, soul-searching about whether you're spiritually and emotionally ready to care for another human being, and a host of other questions that run constantly through your mental "Should I Have Kids Or Not" pros and cons list, the nitty-gritty question of how painful childbirth is will definitely come up!
Sure, you may have been forced to watch a childbirth video in sixth grade health class, or even seen your own mom, sister, or BFF give birth. But even watching someone go through it (painful as it looks and sounds) doesn't compare to what it really feels like.
Thankfully, a recent Reddit thread called “[Serious] Women of Reddit, what does giving birth actually feel like?” provided real information on the agony of childbirth.
One mom wrote candidly about her natural birth, done without anesthesia because there was no time.
"The best way I can explain is, if you’ve ever had gastrointestinal cramps, it is slightly similar to that,” she wrote. “But the cramps start more intense, and get progressively harder and stronger until it feels like someone is ripping your insides out, from the inside.”
This same mom also had to undergo an episiotomy (a procedure where the doctor cuts the skin from the vagina to the anus to make it easier for the baby to come out), and described that pain as "far better" than the pain of contractions.
Another mom gave us this visual, and it's safe to say we're a liiittle bit afraid of both childbirth and bowling balls now:
"Each contraction felt as if a bowling ball landed full force on my spine (near the lower rib area) and then…the bowling ball would roll down my spine (like it was crushing it the whole way) and THEN land in my pelvic area with DOUBLE the initial force."
Another mom described her difficult childbirth as the most traumatic experience of her life, and gave a helpful comparison to a pain-level that those who haven't given birth can relate to.
“They say the closest thing to the pain is passing a large kidney stone,” she wrote. “I had severe back pains, like someone was stabbing me with a knife viciously.”
To not totally scare you away from childbirth, we'll end on a lighter note. Remember that mom from the beginning, who described her birthing experience as being ripped from the inside out? She left concerned commenters with this lovely bit of hope for all of us wondering if it's really worth it:
"It was worth it," she wrote. "[My daughter is] amazing. 20 years old now, beautiful, smart and full of fire. I also have an amazing 22 yr old son. They're both worth all the pain 100 times over. I certainly respect those who choose to be childless, but don't let the pain scare you away."
And there you have it! Who's ready to pop out a kid?