Every pregnant woman, every woman who plans on having children, and even every man has at some point questioned what childbirth really feels like. When one mama-to-be couldn't seem to get a straight answer beyond that "it hurts" from people she had asked, she took to the internet and asked Reddit users what it actually feels like to give birth.
She made it clear in her post that it was not meant to be a joke; she was due to have her first baby in 3 months and wanted to know exactly what she was in for. Well, let's just say that she might regret having asked the internet such a heavy question at such a vulnerable time. Perhaps there is a reason that women do not go into depth about their labor experiences when asked, as they are often traumatizing and humiliating events.
I know there are certain aspects of my deliveries that I've never revisited and it's an unspoken and sacred law that no one else shall ever bring them up either. Somethings are better left unsaid. But no, this expectant detective was on a mission to scare the crap out of herself three months early, along with every other pregnant woman who has googled the same question and stumbled upon her post. But she wanted to know and boy did she find out.
Protected by the internet's shield of anonymity, the women of Reddit did not hold back when it came time to deliver their answers. We have to give them credit for keeping it real... And graphic. And horrifying. But really, really real, nonetheless.
These 25 moms bared it all and gave this curious preggo exactly what she asked for, along with a massive anxiety attack.
"Like two knives impaled.""For me it felt like really bad period cramps. It was an acute sharp pain; very localized though; almost like I had 2 knives impaled in each side of my pelvis." -lailah92
"It felt like she was stabbing me in the vagina."
"When I was pushing I yelled at the midwife that it felt like she was stabbing me in the vagina with a knife." -cupcakeandzombie
"Ripped in half would be my description."
"One of my children was med free and not by choice. I was actually fine until I had to push. Ripped in half would be my description. I was screaming so loud I lost my voice." -duckinatruck
"Like running a marathon without the option to stop.""Sort of like running a marathon without the option to stop. It's that same kind of sharp, localized muscle ache, the feeling of "What the fuck have I gotten myself into?!" Yeah, it hurts, but at the same time the pain is weirdly doable and something you can work through because you know it's going to end. To me it was nothing like an injury pain. I'd say that my gallbladder attack was much more painful, and I still cry a little when I step on a lego because that shit just plain hurts." -cordial_carbonara
Like a "ring of fire."
"I was a flower opening and my muscles were on fire."
"I didn't have an epidural. The pain was bearable until transition, then I felt like I just couldn't do it anymore. It was like I was a flower opening, and my muscles were on fire. It felt like very very intense weight lifting/running but you can't stop your body keeps going and it keeps hurting more and more. Then the pushing started and the pain was even worse, but I think that was a good thing for me. I was very motivated to get the baby out, no matter how exhausted I was! That was all I could focus on "I can't do this" and "get the baby out now and make this stop!" -TinanotDina
"Holy shit that was in me?!"
"For me, labor started out like strong menstrual cramps, and progressed to just feeling like... I don't know. A giant band or weight on my back just squeezing the shit out of me.
"Gutting me with a dull knife from top to bottom."
"I have only had the one child. I was in labor for 14 hours.
"The worst ever diarrhea cramps anyone has ever experienced."
"My contractions felt like the worst ever diarrhea cramps anyone has ever experienced. I had a few throughout the day after my doc appt and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn't get that rolling waves sensation at all... hum. All I know is I'm almost 12 months out and I still remember like it was yesterday! Very painful." -froggerlost
"Fuck. That. Shit.""31 hours of Pitocin induced, unmedicated labor. Fuck. That. Shit. I also had nothing to hold on to while pushing, no bed railings, nothing. That was probably the worst part. I had to grab my husband. He complained about his back hurting after our son was born and I gave him the glare of death while they stitched me up." - Anonymous
Like being "masturbated by a glowing hot poker."
"Well, take a normal muscle cramp, and times that by about a 1000. The good news it comes in waves and builds (slowly if you go easy on the Pitocin). I personally felt as if I was being masturbated by a glowing hot poker, and being strapped to a bed on my back made it worse. Fetal position helped me a lot. The awesome news it as soon as the little one is out, the overwhelming pain is over and quickly forgotten. I call it momnesia. Don't be scared, a million women before you accomplished this very feat. Just about the time you can't take anymore it's over." -Delicatefukinflower
"Mercy, kill me."
"On a scale of 1-mercy kill me, definitely, mercy kill me. In my agony, I actually was legitimately wondering why they hadn't put me out of my misery yet. I was given an epidural, but I was not ordered a top up. I ended up giving birth naturally (actually, I had my son ripped from my body with large metal salad tongs that I could feel and hear grinding against my pelvic bones.) I ripped from hole to hole. I was in labor for 24 hours. He was 10lbs 10oz because he was 11 days overdue. He wouldn't budge so they induced me. 100 years ago, I'm sure I would have died in childbirth. People wonder why I refuse to have any more children. I can still remember what it felt like and a panic washes over me and my son is 4 years old now." -Zozo-Binx
"Like pain that comes from physical work."
"The only pain it's like (talking analogy, not actually feeling or intensity) is pain that comes from physical work. It's called labor because it's pain with intention. It has a purpose, it's not anything like injury pain. I experienced my labor like climbing a steep hill while running. It was more and more and more until I hit the crest and it was okay because that hill was behind me. The hills get higher, steeper and closer together but you only ever do one at a time. The race is long, but it will not last forever." -TakverToo
"Like you're being split open and there is no way it will work but it does."
"I had all 3 of my children at home with no more than some gas and air (which is very nice but fairly useless for the last bit) the pain builds slowly and feels sort of more like work then pain, just something to get through. Then at the final pushing part, you feel like you're being split open and there is no way it will work but it does. And then you have a baby. And then the afterbirth." -Wrattie
"You must tear apart your genitals by sheer abdominal strength."
"You know when you've eaten a lot of something that isn't sitting well in your lower intestines? And you get those terrible cramping aches right before you're about to have explosive diarrhea? Imagine having to endure that for 36 hours. And you can't sleep because of the pain. You can only lay in one position. You can't have anything to drink. Then when your body is finally ready to evacuate the cause of the pain, you must now intentionally tear apart your genitals by sheer abdominal strength. Except it's not diarrhea. It's a fucking baby and shit's about to get much more difficult." -Serasha
"It's what I image hell is like."
"The contractions are worse than I can describe. It starts as you feel your uterus starting to tighten, and you're dreading it because you know how bad it's going to hurt, but there's nothing you can to do stop it. It continues to get tighter until your whole abdomen is as hard as concrete. Your hands have an involuntary death grip on anything within reach. Your feet clench, flexing and contorting as your body tries to find some way to deal with this immense pain.
People in the room with you can either be your best friend or the person you choose to scream at, based on the moment. And your reaction to those people can change minute to minute. You have to pee, but can't imagine trying to walk to the bathroom, so you get to pee in a bedpan in front of people. But by then, you don't care. As your uterus starts to relax, you start to think that maybe it wasn't that bad. You can definitely handle the next one without turning into a scene from the exorcist.
But then, about 3 minutes later, it all starts again. It's what I imagine hell is like... Then, if you're like me, you BEG for an epidural. And you don't forget the pain, you never do. And you swear you'll never do it again. But you do...
And then you don't sleep for the next 3 years." - Anonymous
"Like getting kicked in the stomach."
"I didn't have a natural birth, didn't even have contractions on my own, so they induced me with Pitocin. I had the full amount of Pitocin allowed and my contractions started coming in. It felt like getting kicked in the stomach, literally. I wouldn't call it cramping or even similar to my period. No chills. Just a physical pain of getting kicked in the stomach. I soon after got an epidural and c-section, which numbed me right up." -futuremamabear
"Painful and nasty."
"It is painful and nasty. Amniotic fluid everywhere, it squirts out in gushes not all at once. An epidural is a MUST! 2 kids, contractions hurt bad like the worst stomach cramps you have ever had xs 10. Then when you are ready for an epidural, the majority of the pain stops.
The epidural was like a shot, 2 seconds of pain. Then when you go to push you feel pain again but it's almost over at that point and every cell in your body is telling you to bear down and get that baby out of you.
Then the baby is here, you deliver after birth, get sewn up and wait 30 min/hr to stand and 99% of the pain is already gone. You will be sore and prob have hemorrhoid a for a few weeks but the female body is amazing and heals quickly. Breastfeeding is also painful at first, being a mom is tough work..." -urple_lassy