Saturday, January 26, 2013

Guys & Birth & Pain

There's a video circulating (somewhat like a UK one from a couple years ago), in which men are hooked up to electrical stimulation, and put through some labor 'contractions'. And make no mistake, it is pretty darn funny, because they are not expecting what they experience, at all, and they don't take it well. But is it anything like labor? Well, other than having muscles cramping tightly at intervals, not really. They don't have the mental shift that comes during labor, it is all the wrong muscle groups tightening up, and they can call a halt at any time. The most important thing missing is all the physiological chemistry that happens when a woman goes into labor. The laboring woman's body responds to the increase in oxytocin in labor by producing endorphins- which are the body's natural pain mitigators. Endorphins give us a nice fuzzy headed buzz that helps distance us from pain. Ever had a tattoo and felt lightheaded after? Endorphins. The afterglow of orgasm? Endorphins. A laboring woman who is well supported, and has a range of coping skills to instinctively draw upon, will be less likely to react to the pain of labor with fear or stress, and that will reduce the chance of triggering the fight or flight response. In FoF, our bodies actively suppress endorphins, because you don't want to be loopy if you have to either run away or kick something's butt. It also increases blood flow to the limbs... again good for running or asskicking, not so good when you have major physical work happening in the torso. FoF makes our bodies ready to respond to crisis. Unfortunately the side effect of this in labor (even if you aren't actively feeling 'afraid' or 'scared'... your body doesn't know the difference between 'omg I'm in labor!' tension and 'omg something is about to eat me!') is tension in the limbs, increased heartrate, all the signs of being really scared, which makes the pain of labor more painful, and even threatening- which increases fear, fear causes loss of endorphins which causes more pain, and so forth.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


(wow, I didn't use this blog at all in '12)

A friend of mine is dealing with some stuff re; her ex husband; and her thoughts about it made me examine some of my own feelings about my wasband, and the feelings that surround that relationship:

Anger that he got away with abandoning his children, with having no responsibilities. Pity that all those behaviors I thought were because I was doing something wrong was because of the SMS. Sadness because he has no clue what he lost, how much pain he caused. Frustration because I'll never be able to get it across to him. Fear & revulsion when the past creeps up on me in unexpected ways.

Sometimes I still get so frustrated at having lost those 10 years of my life (and in some cases it is really lost, I have lots of memory gaps from the early years.), that I spent 10 years being treated with contempt and devalued. What happened to me that I thought that was acceptable for a relationship, let alone a marriage?

Scott and I will have been together for 15 years this summer... even with the sheer amount of whatthefuckatude that gets thrown at us on a near-daily basis, we've lasted longer than my first marriage did. When he first moved in with us, I spent a lot of time telling myself how poly people 'aren't supposed to compare their partners', and that the difference wasn't as drastic as it felt. It was my inability to recognize that Scott treated me with love & respect, that he valued me as a partner and individual and my ex...didn't, my inability to make that break, that lead to several years of drama and suffering that _didn't need to happen_.

Fear, misplaced stubornness, a deeply ingrained feeling that I wasn't doing my part, wasn't doing _enough_ (I still struggle with that constant feeling of inadequacy), that my wants and needs had little to no value, that my opinions were the product of a 'damaged perspective'. Sometimes it hits me hard just how much I was ground down.

It has been a long, hard road back up- and I'll never be all the way 'recovered'. What happened then shapes who I am now. Although sometimes I wish with all my heart I could send my past self a letter, saying who and what not to do, and who and what I should do instead. Would save a lot of people a whole lot of misery.