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Medicine can take away childbirth pain but not the lifetime of love

According to the Bible, after Eve ate the apple, one of the punishments handed down by God was that she, and all women after her, would feel pain during childbirth.

Thanks for that, Eve.

So after watching my daughter and daughter-in-law give birth in recent years, I have to wonder if modern medicine and the creation of the epidural is God’s way of thinking maybe women have spent enough time in “time out.”

I gave birth naturally three times. Oh sure, I got some pain medication but any woman who has received pain meds during birth can tell you it might as well have been SweetTarts.

They also say you forget the pain once you see your child’s face.

Lies.

I remember every moment of all three of my children’s entrances into this world. I remember the fear that something would go wrong. I remember the apprehension that there was no turning back and I would soon be caring for something that depended on me for everything. I remember their cries after entering the world and counting each finger and toe as they lay on my chest.

But yes, I remember the pain. All the good stuff that comes after it doesn’t dull the memory – you just learn how very worth it is.

When my daughter went into labor for the first time, I knew the pain she would feel and even though I knew she would also think it was all worth it, I pitied her and hoped it wouldn’t be more than she could bear.

I walked into her room after she was all hooked up and sitting in bed. She was watching television. She looked calm. “She must have gotten some pain medication,” I thought to myself.

She smiled at me a bit and said the doctor had just told her she was about 6 centimeters dilated.

Excuse me? Why wasn’t she screaming and threatening to sue the hospital if they didn’t “take it out now” like I did almost 30 years ago?

Apparently, they had also just finished putting in her epidural. She felt nothing. Not a thing.

Wash, rinse and repeat for her next two children and my daughter-in-law’s two children over the next six years. It was amazing for me to see them being able to actually enjoy their labor and focus on having a calm delivery and not being too exhausted to hold their newborns and immediately start sharing photos on Facebook.

I tease them now and then that they don’t know what it’s really like to become a mother and they just tell me I’m jealous, and that’s partly true, I admit.

This past Mother’s Day I got to enjoy the day with my grandchildren; however, their mothers did not. Both of them were working for a good chunk of the day.

They do know exactly what it means to be a mother. It means sacrifice. It means hard work. It means sleepless nights and worry lines. It means so many smiles your face hurts. It means love, unconditional. And yes, sometimes there is pain that no medicine can take away.

But in the end, it really is all worth it.

Alyssa Schnugg is Senior Writer at the Oxford Eagle. Email her at alyssa.schnugg@oxfordeagle.com.