It’s been a busy week! Dutch classes on Monday and Thursday evenings, pre-natal course on Tuesdays, and the weekend was fully of doing things and getting the baby room sorted. Feels nice to be a bit more effective, but tiring too.
Yesterday we did an inventory of a the clothes we have, and put stuff into drawers, we’re quite covered for the beginning, but a couple of things are still missing, so will need to get those over the next month. And of course we need to actually continue with and finish off the baby room!
This week’s pre-natal course talked a lot about pain, and it was actually really interesting, and got me thinking quite a lot. The woman explained about the components of pain; the physical pain itself which is made up of the intensity and the duration, the brain’s interpretation of that pain, and then the psychological component which contributes to how we perceive the pain. For example, if you’ve had previous traumas involving pain, then your mind is already expecting it to be unbearable… So I was thinking about what kind of pain I’ve experience and how I’ve felt about it… Overall I can’t say that I’ve been through many physically painful experiences in my life, which I’m very happy about. But even the ones that I have been through, are probably not comparable to birth.
For example…. tattoos? So the most painful one I had was the one on my thigh. Not because of any one component, but the duration (5 hours), in combination with the type of needle used (colouring – so very scratchy, rather than lining), and the location of my upper thigh which is quite sensitive. I remember thinking at the end, that if it lasted for more than another 5-10 minutes, I’d have to give up and ask him to stop. But then I was having this thought for well more than the last hour. I guess this means, that if i break the pain down into more manageable chunks (whether they are realistic or not), it helps me cope for that pre-defined time period. Now with contractions, the peak of pain is only a couple of seconds at the time, so maybe it’ll be helpful to keep that in mind, when it’s at its worse.
The other painful(ish) experience I came to think about was marathon training and running, and even all those times I’ve ran a half-marathon while being a tad unprepared. For the marathon it’s the sheer exhaustion and aching of the legs, and as for being unprepared, it’s usually my knee that starts hurting first. Whenever it’s been too painful to run it’s always been possible to push through for a little longer, or walk for a bit and finish the race anyway, and the feeling in the end makes you forget very quickly what you’ve been through. For the long term tiredness of a marathon, and keeping going for hours when you want to stop, I guess the preparation is the main thing, and again, the totally ecstatic feeling at the end. So the parallel to childbirth here I guess is that I’m preparing (by learning about it), and that the feeling in the end will make it worthwhile.
All in all some very interesting thoughts have been prompted, and although I still feel like I have no idea what to expect, and I’m in no way going to underestimate the pain, I do think that it’s going to be doable.