I have a lot of moles. In fact, some of my friends like to call me one big mole (or should I say 'moll'?).
After I had my third child, I spoke to the doctor about having some of them removed - the moles, not my friends (or my children, for that matter). He was keen as mustard to get the dry ice out and burn the offenders off. A little too overzealous, actually - I imagine he was sick of hearing about his patients’ itchy rectums and ingrown toenails that day and an opportunity to sear someone’s skin was substantially more interesting.
I refused. My exact words were, “No, I’m done with pain. I’ll live with them.”
I am really, really over pain. I feel that four pregnancies, births (including one emergency sunroof slicing) and their subsequent recoveries qualify as my pain quota for life. I have no interest in any more, thanks all the same. I’ve done my time on the pain train and this little black duck is getting off.
A recent trip to the beauty therapist had me leaving with an asymmetrical wax job after I called all bets off mid-rip. She was horrified to leave me with such an atrocious eyesore but I didn’t care. Hot wax tearing our hair from the root – all for beauty? Maybe pre-kids, but now I’m ready to live in my own world of unsightly hair fashion, pain-free.
I received a friendly letter from my dentist reminding me I needed to have my root canal completed. I obeyed the letter but can’t say I was skipping with joy. I knew what that friendly letter was saying. By “completing the root canal” he meant, here, lie back in this nice comfy chair, put your sunnies on and have a little re-lax while I inject your gum with the mother of all needles, so we can numb the more painful pain to follow. Oh, and don’t let the screaming noise of the drill bother you, it is just a teeny tiny little instrument that won’t hurt at all. And that smell? Suspiciously like dead tooth, don’t let that negatively impact your experience. The rubber dam we stretch over your mouth and nostrils, threatening to suffocate and gag you? Hygiene – we’re very strict about germ control standards. I could make a joke about having latex in my mouth before, but that may not qualify as G-rated.
But back to the dentist and that pain-free brink I seem to have surpassed … I cried in the chair, behind those sunnies and under the squealing of the drill. No one seemed to notice that I’d built myself into such a catastrophic climax that my body was convulsing in sobs. I pulled myself together enough by the end of the ordeal to spray some abuse at the dentist for choosing such a barbaric profession. As you can perhaps tell, I don’t deal graciously when in pain.
You would think that pushing children out your jootz with little more than a sniff of happy gas would make you some kind of commando, someone who has a high pain threshold and who can cope with extreme levels of excruciation.
Instead, I am the world’s biggest wuss. A jammed finger, a stubbed toe, a hairbrush caught in a knot in my hair, a baby tugging on a nipple – they all have me writhing about in pain. Or drama.
I’ve decided it's a return-for-investment theory. The return of a baby for the investment of pregnancy and labour is matched. I was prepared to go through the agony to get the baby at the end. But a root canal? Yay, I have a tooth with no more pain - but all that pain to get me pain-free? Just hand me a pair of pliers and I’ll rip that tooth out myself, thanks.
I realise some people live with chronic pain. It's not something anyone would ever choose, and these people probably have an incredible ability to manage pain with high levels of resistance (and low levels of whinging). But when it comes to choosing pain? I choose not.
Do you have a higher or lower pain threshold since giving birth? Have your say in the forum or comment below.