21 Moms Break It Down & Reveal The Things That Hurt Way More Than Giving Birth

Ad failed to load

If you're a fan of television and movies, it's safe to say that, according to the media's account of labor and delivery, if you're pregnant you're in for the worst experience of your damn life. Watching a childbirth play out on TV or the big screen means watching a woman sweating, screaming, swearing, flat on her back with her legs in the stirrups. The agony appears to be all too much. No wonder so many women are terrified of childbirth. But is it really that bad? Or are there things that actually hurt more than giving birth? I decided to go to the source — women who've actually been through labor and delivery — for the answer.

The first time I gave birth, my baby was a preemie and I was given demerol because I was experiencing a full-blown panic attack. While the labor pains sucked, they weren’t what I’d call unbearable. So when I was pregnant with my rainbow baby, I was pretty confident in believing that labor a second time around wouldn’t be too bad, either. Plus, I’d been reading up on Hypnotherapy and all the other crunchy intervention-free methods of birthing a baby. I had it under control. Everything was going to be fine.

I was 40 weeks and two days pregnant and the contractions began. I admit, they were freaking awful, especially toward the end. It felt like I had no control over my body anymore, and that's a pretty terrifying feeling. So, yes, childbirth was painful, but if I'm being honest, my extremely lengthy recovery was much worse. So yes, there are things that are far worse than labor and delivery, but don't just take my word for it. Here's what a few moms had to say about their experiences:

Ad failed to load

Jennifer, 40

Giphy

“I had two C-sections (the second one was super painful because of trauma, adhesions to previous scar, etc.), but having two dry sockets at once was torture. I remember trying to crawl away from the pain!”

Whitney, 43

“I think C-section (recovery) hurts way more than labor. Including my 13-hour active labor with no interventions.”

Victoria, 33

“Three kidney surgeries to remove a huge stone, a nephrostomy tube hanging out my back for two months, and a complication blockage. C-section was horrible, but nothing compared to the kidney. I was in labor before having my C-section and I didn't even feel it.”

Ad failed to load

Sa’iyda, 31

Giphy

“Having a tooth pulled. And I had vaginal, unmedicated childbirth. Regular tooth, no gas, just a crap ton of novocaine.”

Arlene, 23

“I have had two vaginal births, and one was unmedicated. A sinus headache, basically a migraine, is the worst pain I've ever had to endure. Like, my heart goes out to people that suffer on the regular.”

Alejandra, 32

Breastfeeding a newborn. The first month is just so painful. Toe-curling cringe every time they latch on.”

Ad failed to load

Ani, 32

Giphy

Migraine.”

Katie, 35

“Appendicitis. It was so painful. I had two medicated births. With the first one I tried to go without medication for about eight hours, during which time they had me push for at least a half hour before deciding that I was not in fact fully dilated and that I should stop. Twice.”

Glynis, 41

“Pinched nerve due to a slipped disc. I passed out from that pain, but not from birthing a 9.5 pound baby with no medications.”

Ad failed to load

Tabatha, 33

Giphy

“Shingles. Listeria. A broken femur. I had a failed/toxic epidural with my first and a normal epidural with my daughter — both vaginal, both episiotomies. I had three doses (of the epidural) administered within 34 hours and I went toxic from it. It was a thing. But yeah, improperly administered, repeatedly. My whole left leg was numb but I still felt all of labor.”

Allison, 28

“Dislocating my knee hurt worse. I had an epidural with labor though.”

Momma Jorje, 44

“Complications from my gallbladder removal were more painful than childbirth. I had no pain meds for childbirth. And I've birthed four children.”

Ad failed to load

Abigail, 48

Giphy

“No pain meds in a 17-hour labor that ended in an emergency C-section. My spinal fusion surgery was much worse.”

Eva, 34

“Gallbladder attack.”

Amy, 32

“I've had two drug-free births and my kidney stone was more painful, but mainly because there's nothing to look forward to at the end. With birth it's ‘pain with a purpose,’ but passing my kidney stone without drugs was simply suffering.”

Ad failed to load

Cassia, 31

Giphy

“To be honest, my period cramps hurt way worse than labor did.”

Ariel, 37

“Um, the poop after the C-section. Far worse than the surgery. So I was in the hospital for four days because my blood pressure wouldn’t go down and the doctors neglected bowel care, so I hadn’t pooped for five days when I got home. I was in so much pain. I’ve never been constipated before or after. It truly was the worst part of the recovery."

Maria, 37

“Esophageal ulcer.”

Ad failed to load

Amanda, 38

Giphy

“Not more, but having a kidney stone the size of a pencil eraser was probably on par with labor pain.”

Leona, 50

“Passing a large kidney stone and shingles. I got shingles when I was 12 and I'll never forget that pain. I have keloids that run around the right side of my trunk/high waist area from the big purple/black blisters."

Janel, 45

“I was contracting from week 14. On bed rest from week 17 to when I gave birth. Gallstones were worse.”

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}