I’m a regular guy and mill worker with strong links to my extended family. Case in point: one day last year I awoke at with a very uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, cramps and a feeling of nausea. Nevertheless, I went to work. But I felt terrible all morning.
Then I was in for another shock. At approximately , I heard the clear voice of my mother who had passed away five years earlier. She stated the name of my niece, who was pregnant and due to give birth at any time. Because of that, I got on my cell phone to check out if my niece was in labor. There was no answer. And then the pain I was feeling got even worse. I was almost incapacitated.
I decided to phone my sister who lives close to my niece, but before I could punch in her number, the pain that had been tormenting me stopped as abruptly as it had started. Somehow, deep inside, I knew that the end of my misery meant that my niece had given birth. When I told my co-workers, they just looked at me with disbelief—which isn’t really surprising since I’m six-feet, two inches, with Elvis-style sideburns, and weigh more than 240 pounds. To show I was right, I called my sister again—and sure enough, my niece had had her baby. She’d been in labor since about one in the morning, the time my own internal cramps had begun. And she had given birth at the exact time my pain had ceased.
I now have a tremendous appreciation for what women go through. I once had a three-inch gash across my forehead due to a work-related accident, but this labor pain stuff was even worse.
Unfortunately, my labor pains have started again on a daily basis. All week long, sometimes in the morning, sometimes at night, I break out in a cold sweat and feel like screaming in pain.
Now I’m worried that my new empathy is making me experience the labor pains of local moms-to-be—every one of them!
At least, those ladies eventually wind up with a beautiful child in their arms. But, when my sympathetic labor pains ease, I have nothing to show for it. What am I supposed to do—“man up” and take it?
Name withheld on request.