Just Give Me Something for the Pain
I gave birth to two children without taking any form of pain reliever. Not even Tylenol. In my husband's eyes, still misty from the joy of new fatherhood, this accomplishment made me invincible. To him, I was Amazon Woman, the goddess Diana, imbued with some mythical force that had the painkiling equivalent of 10 epidurals.
Frankly, drug-free childbirth was a feat of pure muleheadness. I had read and absorbed the natural childbirth gospel, dug in my heels, and vowed to follow its principles.
This does not make me a hero. Just stubborn.
The notion that one should not wince or cry in the face of pain presumes that pain has meaning. Some neurologists say that the biological purpose of pain is as a sort of primordial warning cry. A painful arm might tell the caveman: Something is not right. Stop chasing the saber-toothed tiger and attend to your broken arm!
But if pain has a purpose beyond this neurological anachronism, I still wonder what it is. To me enduring childbirth or a bullet wound with John Wayne stoicism proves nothing. Childbirth was easy. There was a prize at the end. But when the inevitable sickness or injury comes, I'm going to kick and scream. And if there's a pain reliever, I'll take it.
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