Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pain Tolerance … What’s your Level?

Does anyone really know this answer for sure? Is there some top secret chart that shows that some people are tougher than others or can take more pain than others? Seeing that I’m about to have major surgery in the next few days to remove this little bundle and after a lengthy conversation with my hubby, I find this topic of conversation more and more funny because I really don’t think anyone is ever in a place to judge another’s ability to tolerate pain. I have even found myself judging my own mother’s tolerance for pain at times, thinking she is weaker than she REALLY IS. How do you know that my 7 wouldn’t be a 10 to you or vice-a-versa? No one ever knows, so how can you even judge yourself? Is it all about who can take a shot better than another or who can break a leg and stand on it better?

Since I was little I have always said that I have a “low” tolerance for pain, I’m not sure where I got that from or why I started to say it. But as I’ve grown older and have had my share of bumps, bruises, and LABOR, I’m beginning to think that whatever it was that made me say that was just the enemy telling me that I was a weaker person. I have found that when you inform people that you have a low tolerance for pain… they will think you do for the rest of your life. For me, it’s more of a mind game than anything else. The fear of what could happen… not so much the fear of it hurting.

I can remember back at my very first surgery when I had my breast reduction, as we were getting ready I can remember crying hysterically. No one really asked me why I was crying, they all assumed that it was because I was scared of the IV because they couldn’t get a vein and the whole healing process. If they had just asked what those tears were really about they would have discovered that it wasn’t in fear of any pain what-so-ever. It was the fact that I was losing a piece of me and a nervousness of how it would all turn out. I was more scared about the outcome and the fact that I was getting married only 4 months later and what my future husband would think. For some reason this experience really did something to me that made me really think less of myself; it made me feel weaker than what I really was. I was determined not to have anyone see me so vulnerable again.

Because I had told myself that I was weak and had a low tolerance for pain I was very worried about having people in the labor and delivery room with me when I had Jayden. Even though I wanted the most important people in my life there to witness it, I didn’t want people to judge me or think that I was a baby because of the pain or the fact I was crying through a contraction. Up until the very last moment it was just going to be my mom and Jesse. But then… it all flew out the window. If they thought I was weak… they could think I was weak! I was having a baby and it IS a painful experience, but oh-so worth it in the end.

After having three epidurals (does that make me weak?) because my back labor WAS very painful and still no progression, I had to have a C-section. Ha… I was so worried about people thinking I was weak during the labor, now they have to see me after ANOTHER surgery… fantastic! My own worst nightmare, coming back again! However, I was back on my feet the next day after having major abdominal surgery and four days later took care of a new born baby all by myself while Jesse was at a bachelor party that had been planned months in advance.
I still struggle with what people will think, even if people think I’ll even be able to take this next one. But I’m beginning to realize that no one really knows what anyone feels or what any person’s pain tolerance is. Ultimately, it’s yet another judgment that we place on ourselves and others.

Have you ever found yourself judging another person’s pain tolerance or told someone they have a low threshold for pain? My husband has admitted to me that he has done that on several occasions, which is what brought this whole topic of conversation up in the first place. Next time before you do that, think about how another will judge yours…

9 comments:

Katie said...

easier said then done, but stop worrying what you 'think' other people think! thats half the battle here, your mind. You only know yourself and the level of pain you can take. No matter what, with JC on your side, you can do anything. It's his strength that gets us all through, anyway, right?

Nathan and Whitney said...

I feel the same way you do, I don't so much "judge" another's pain tolerance and I do wonder if it's "better" than mine! So I love this. It's so true that we can't actually compare what another is feeling compared to what you are feeling and how they handle it compared to you. I agree that with the thought of labor looming a few months away for me, this thought has crossed my mind a lot. So, thanks for your thoughts! It gives me a lot to consider and to think about others as well!

Jennifer said...

my tolerance is WAY low. Perhaps that's why God chose for me to adopt!! :)

Kameron said...

After to all natural births I am pretty certain I must have a high tolerance for pain, but I never judge anyone else by that measure. I watched my mother suffer for 15 years with MS (and a ton of other issues related and not) and I know she must have had a high tolerance, at least I pray she did or else I can't imagine how she must have felt every day..

You never know what a feeling is like in someone else's shoes. I can't even imagine having 2 c-sections. That to me sounds far more painful than normal birth! You are strong and wil do wonderfully! I can't wait to see the baby!

Erin said...

I dont think I have ever judged anyone elses pain. I have always thought I handled pain well because I have gone through so much but that might be why right there. Some people never break a bone, have wisdom teeth out, a breast reduction a baby or more. So going through so many things I always thought my pain level was high but who really knows!

I never knew you had a breast reduction. Now that you have ha children do you wish you would have waited? I kind of wish I would have. I would love to have another one and I would have loved to have been able to produce more milk! Do you have issues with producing milk?

Amy Silver said...

hmm.. I think we are probably harder on ourselves than others.. just my opinion though. I don't think that moms give themselves enough credit! Pain is so different for each one of us! Having two c-sections sounds incredibly brave!

Gina said...

My mom always told me I had a low pain tolerance.

And then I went through labor and the nurses had to basically force me to get an epidural.

And then I became addicted to really, really tough workouts.

Yep. I don't think I am so weak anymore...

Great post!

Alicia said...

I think that it is human nature to judge others' reactions to pain, although it is not right. I agree that pain is different from one person to the next. I am the same as you. I worry about being a "champ" or a "wuss" during delivery. I chose to only have my mother and Ryan in the delivery for this reason. They are the two I am the most comfortable with and I feel like they will not judge me.

Good luck in a few days. I will be thinking of and praying for you!

Mindy said...

My husband really hurt me tonight. I told him that I needed to understand the reason why I felt the way that I did. I told him that I feel like he gets upset when I get sick. All the sudden he doesnt talk to me and is very cold. He told me that he distances himself from me because in the beginning (I told him my pain tolerance was fairly high) he found himself getting annoyed by all my complaining about every little pain and now thinks that my pain tollerance is lower than average. Even though I was in labor (induced and 2 minutes apart from the get go) for 8 hours without meds (had them after that), have had 2 kidney stones and have bad knees that I rarely complain about, not to mention migraines that I dont talk about or take pain meds for. He said that he has to distance himself from me so he doesn't get annoyed. But no baby, I'm not mad. Like that was supposed to make me feel better. Uhhhh

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