Tori's Blog


Saturday, November 14th, 2009

index_pain Pain is such an interesting  and complex subject. For so many reasons. How it feels is entirely personal,  it has some cultural influence, and how we deal with it is greatly affected by our previous experiences, our level of exhaustion, our state of mind and what kind of support we have.

Personally, I am thinking of pain in great detail this week because I am fully in the face of it. The MRI I had on Thursday shows that I have truly “blown out” (technical medical term) my left shoulder. No surprise to me because it hurts in a way that I know only comes from something really “not right” going on.

It really wasn’t such a good week. For a variety of reasons I changed physicians, needed to do a lot of navigating of the medical system and spent most of the week with entirely poor pain management. That alone  has been really tough. Twice last week, the same physician minimized the pain I was having. At one time, saying “yes, you will need to have your shoulder repaired but it really shouldn’t hurt as much as it seems to”.  Aach.

All of this has me once again thinking about labor and birth and, of course, pain. I have enough experience with labor to assuredly say that, except for a very few times that I have seen, labor is, in fact, the most pain a woman is likely to experience in her lifetime. No matter what stage of labor a woman is in, whether it be on the early side or as the baby is being born, how she experiences her pain is what her reality is. And that needs to be honored and respected.

Always in my PillowTalk classes, I stress that being flexible with pain management strategies is really important. It is great to have a plan but it is good to leave the door open for the plan to change. I also emphasize  that husbands, partners, coaches, doulas – no one – except for the woman herself, is in a position  to make any decisions about how a laboring woman should manage her pain.  ”We” are neither pregnant,  nor are “we” laboring.

This has been a really good reminder for me about the individual nature of pain and stress and how important it is to be sensitive, respectful and empathetic to one another about it.

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