I had epidurals for both of my children’s births, so I’d understand if people automatically assume I didn't feel anything when I was pushing human beings out of my body. However, and believe me, I did. In fact, I could tell you exactly what pushing during labor actually feels like. I was comfortably numb from the waist down before being in active labor, but I totally felt what was going on down there when it was time to push.
I’m not going to lie; it hurt. However, it was a nuanced pain, and one that I actually couldn’t remember very well once labor and delivery was over and the pain subsided. The magic of babies is that they have the power to erase the memory of pain. (That might also be attributed to the oxycontin that flooded my body upon the birth of my child, because science.)
It’s hard to describe what pushing during labor actually feels like. When I was pregnant, I remember other moms having a hard time painting an accurate picture of what to expect in those moments right before my baby exited my body. Having lived through it, twice, I totally understand why describing that feeling is such a challenge. However, and in my experience, labor and delivery tends to go a little smoother when you know what to expect. So, with that in mind, here's what pushing during labor might feel like for you: