The pain is momentary but the love lasts forever

COMMENT: Whenever she arrives, we’ll give her a big welcome

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There was a woman in Yorkshire last week who gave birth to her second child after being in labour for eight minutes. Eight minutes! The baby even came a week early.

So taken by surprise was she that she gave birth in her bathroom after what she thought was to be a quick trip to the toilet.

Her partner, who luckily was with her at the time ended up standing in as midwife, providing a whole new take on the modern day man – the guy who can do the cooking, iron his own shirts and deliver your baby for you.

I know they say the second child comes out quicker but that’s just silly and anyone who has endured a labour will no doubt be feeling a tad envious of this woman, even if it probably was the scariest eight minutes of her life.

No matter how long or exceptionally short it was, most mums just love telling the story of their labour, especially if it was particularly difficult or gory and even more so if it’s to an audience of horrified non-mums.

We’ve all sat round with fellow mums comparing our experience with mixed undertones of pride and disbelief at our ability to get through such an ordeal; stories of 30-hour labours, stirrups, a ventouse and epidurals gone wrong – well that’s my story anyway, see, we can’t help ourselves.

It annoyed me when I was pregnant that mums couldn’t tell me what the pain was like during labour. They would give irritatingly vague answers like ‘the pain didn’t matter once the baby arrived’ or even worse, say they couldn’t really remember.

Rubbish! I wanted hard facts – what kind of frequency were my screams going to reach, did the windows need reinforcing and most importantly what kind of drugs would I need to get through it?

I had more luck getting answers from the birthing partner (‘all that screaming gave me a terrible headache’).

I started thinking it couldn’t be all that bad, otherwise why would anyone choose to go through it two or three times, or even more?

But pain is just momentary – just eight short moments if you’re the lucky lady from Yorkshire. Like a Monday morning, you know it’s going to happen and you know it’s going to be painful, but you also know that a time will pass and it will be over and Friday once again – though God forbid anyone’s labour lasts that long!

While I’m not sure I believe that all pain is in the mind, the mind certainly has a clever way of erasing the memory of how much something hurt.

Plus, once your baby actually does arrive you have so much else to think about. It seems like all of a sudden, no matter how long your labour endured, this incredibly tiny wrinkly version or you is out from the confines of your protruding belly and lying snuggly in your arms. It is a surreal moment, a truly crazy and extraordinary feeling – and that is the feeling that stays with you afterwards.

So if you want me tell you all the gory details of my labour I would love to.

But the pain? Well, I can’t really remember.