“No one understands me.”
It’s a phrase nearly all of us have uttered or thought at one time or another. Perhaps we shouted it in our teenage years as we grappled with hormones and schoolwork and parents who just didn’t get it. Or maybe we exclaimed it as students, when we received a grade lower than we thought we’d earned on an essay. It could even be in our adulthood, in seasons where we’ve felt just so other that we saw ourselves marooned on an island, misunderstood, marginalized, maligned, unsure why we couldn’t ever quite fit in.
Feeling alone is . . . lonely.
Six years ago, heavily pregnant with our firstborn, I’d said no epidural, written it into my birth plan like a gladiator headed into battle. Clearly, I shouldn’t have been trusted with such a weighty decision when I’d never experienced labor before. My crunchy-granola birthing books had called contractions “pressure waves” — more like tsunamis of torment.
In the throes of labor transition, that point between seven and ten centimeters where the physical intensity of labor can quickly become overwhelming, I began thrashing around the birthing suite, desperate for relief. A tiny little nurse approached, kindly but timidly offering suggestions to help me cope with the pain.
“YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING!” I told her in no uncertain terms. No one in the room understood the agony that gripped my belly as contractions threatened to rip me apart. The nurse had made the mistake of telling me earlier — back when I was only a few centimeters dilated and still in a joking mood — she’d never had a baby. “I’ve helped deliver quite a few of them though!” she’d chirped. “You’re in good hands!”
I now doubted that very much.
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