These Men Didn’t Bargain on the Costs of Labor

The joy and pain of childbirth are memories that every mother holds on to forever. Labor pain is something that can cause mamas to regale their children and grandchildren with tales of hours-long agony. As children are reminded of the happy tears and mad pain that brought them here, dads sometimes resort to being dismissive of how much it really hurt. Others share the pain in spirit. TV shows and movies sometimes stylize labor and birth to be a melodramatic event full of moans, screams, and threats, and dads who wind up getting bitten or choked. The truth is labor pain is real, though each woman’s experience is different. Two husbands decided to challenge whether women are exaggerating or men are underestimating the pain that labor induces.

Brian and Dan set off to visit Dr. Julie Masters to try out her labor simulation machine. Once connected to the abdomen, the machine is meant to send sensations of labor contractions to the body.  As they were hooked up, the men made jokes about being electrocuted for a few minutes. Yeah, that’s exactly what it felt like. Their wives were brought in to watch and support them through the experience. Early labor was introduced first, and the couples smiled and chuckled through contraction pain that was on a scale of 2-3.

Men getting connected to contractions simulator.Kensington Church
The really fun part came next as Dr. Masters kicked the machine’s ability up to “active labor”, where Brian and Dan suddenly were panting and turning red. Not only did the giggling stop, but the scene was complete with holding their wives’ hands, moans, and squinting. Brian upgraded his personal pain scale to a “7”, unaware that more intense pain awaited them. At this point the wives high-fived each other as they looked at their pitiful husbands.

Men having intense labor pain.Kensington Church
Dan continued to writhe in pain, screaming and moving from fetal position to lying on his back, and whining that he was “gonna throw up”. His buddy was way livelier. Poor Brian just couldn’t take it. He was on all fours – and then stood up, breathing heavily through his mouth while bobbing his neck up and down. There was lots of screaming, pillow hugging, and red-faced grimacing. Their wives looked on with faces that read sympathetic with a touch of smug satisfaction. By the time it was over, both men looked worn out after just a few minutes of “labor”.

How did they describe it? “That was horrible.” “The worst.” “It sucked!” When asked if it felt better than they thought it would or worse, they both agreed “Worse! A lot worse!” Brian took the opportunity to issue an apology and thanks to his mother for the pain she may have endured during his birth. Having had this experience, these men now realized that labor pain is indeed real. If they could only endure this for a few minutes, could you imagine how they would have fared after a few hours of this? Every day, strong women around the world birth humans and know that labor is demanding, rewarding work. What about you? Do you have any labor stories to share? Share with us in the comments!