I promise this won’t be a soap box moment—I try to avoid those, since this is the internet and there’s nothing but soap boxes out here—but I’d like to take a moment to say that women are amazing beings.
Yes. I’m biased. I’m a woman. I am well aware of this fact. I’m not saying women are amazing to the exclusion of men also being amazing. Men are likewise amazing. There is a long list of amazing things that only men can do. But a few events that have been brought to my attention over the past year have given me a deeper appreciation for the superpowers of women.
I’m thinking specifically about our tolerance for pain. Pain is old hat for women. We become acquainted with the reality of persistent physical pain somewhere around the age of twelve. This deep, sometimes debilitating pain recurs with regularly and cyclically until we’re about 45, when different kinds of age-related pain set in. And if we don’t experience this cyclical pain, it’s probably a symptom of some kind of ailment that will give us even greater pain.
Then there’s childbearing. Admittedly, I know nothing about this other than what other women have told me. One of my dearest childhood friends had a baby yesterday. I’ve watched her growing rounder and rounder over the last nine months. From what they tell me, pregnant women endure nausea on top of the growing list of physical discomforts, including the shifting moods caused by uncontrollably wonky hormones.
Then, after nine months of all of that, women muster the strength and endurance to give birth. Research reports that the pain of childbirth is the equivalent of breaking half of your bones all at the same time. Other reports say that labor pain shatters the scale of human pain tolerance and should be sufficient to kill someone. I include a link to this video as a case in point. But women have endured this incredible pain—and survived it—for centuries.
I visited my friend in the hospital to see her and her adorable son. My friend had endured over 12 hours of labor. She received an epidural in the middle of a contraction (I hear the mothers of the world cringing as they read this). She underwent a C-section. She tasted every kind of pain this process could have produced, and yet I found her sitting up in the bed, calmly relating her adventures while only complaining of “a little soreness.”
And for reasons unexplained by human reasoning, women hold their precious ones in their arms and think, “My little one is so lovely. I’d do this all again.” They forget about the pain because all that matters, really, is the baby.
I’m astounded. I can’t fathom it. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been there. But the female ability to take all that pain and willingly endure it over and over again will never cease to amaze me.
That said, I’m adopting.