Monday, January 30, 2012


The events of last week really got me thinking about the concept of pain.

Now that little monkey is moving and grooving all over the place---crawling like speed racer after the dog's bone and pulling himself up on everything--we've realized that along with all of the other amazing things babies learn about....they also must learn about pain.

We know what pain is. From headaches to cramps, stubbed toes and hangnails that get hand sanitizer in them, adults understand what pain is and have methods (pharmaceutical and not) to cope with it. It may suck and we may (or always do) complain about it. But we get "it".

When LM tips over and lands hard on his squishy diaper butt, there is that moment in his eyes where you can see him wonder what that sensation is. Often times, it isn't enough pain to warrant a reaction, and he moves on. Other times, when he lands on his side/a toy/his head/my head etc, the pain is too much and the tears start.

Oh...and that awful, gut-wrenching pain cry. That cry slices the heart like a million shards of glass. You know exactly what it is when you hear it....and it kills you too. Having to learn what pain is, especially when your world is warm, safe and build to keep you safe, must be confusing and upsetting to babies. I can't imagine what it's like to feel that sensation and not know why it hurts so bad--especially with their minimal understanding of cause/effect. They don't get that letting go of the chair leg and crashing into the table leg will hurt. They feel that pain course through their body, but do they really understand what is happening? Or does it just scare them?

At some point, you learn what pain is and how to avoid it (mostly). I don't like saying that I'm looking forward to LM getting to this point because I know how much pain he'll have to go through to get there. But, when I think about how confusing it must be to them, I realize that I'm glad it doesn't last forever (and hopefully not too long...please please experienced mamas out there!).

There's so much pain in life (physical and emotional). It's hard to imagine being a blank pain slate. How greatly the different pain experiences we go through must affect and shape all of us. I want to protect him from as much pain as possible...but I know I can't. Wouldn't it be nice if we were born with an understanding/ability to cope with pain as natural as the sucking reflex?


  1. It certainly would be nice. I have seem Bean take more tumbles then I was ever prepared for and some of her owies have made my stomach turn. I know exactly the cry you're talking about. Around here it starts in complete silence. Face scrunching up, eyes welling up, mouth opening as you wait for the wail that's working it's way out. But in the end, even with the worst of her bumps, I think I actually felt it more and for much longer then she did. She gets upset, needs some snuggles, and moves on while I sit there shaking from the adrenalin of watching it all happen. That's the only comfort that I get from it. First, that I can make it better, and second, that it doesn't last long. Hopefully it will be a relatively easy process for both of you.

  2. Maybe learning about pain is more about us learning how to deal with them in pain...hmm...


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