katherine heigl, knocked up, pregnant, in labour, in pain, pain threshold

No one feels your pain

Here’s something that won’t come as a surprise: The world doesn’t believe you feel pain, really. Or, at least, the world doesn’t believe that women suffer as much as men. Doctors don’t prescribe painkillers to women as readily as they do to men and they all think we should just cope. Because of Eve, or something.

A recent article in Broadly reported that according to a study in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, “Doctors often incorrectly believe that women have a ‘natural capacity to endure pain‘ and possess more coping mechanisms thanks to the stresses of childbirth.” So because we are *apparently* built for it, just because we are good at coping with it (“I’m FINE”), it means we can (and should) handle it.

Worse still, if you do complain, “women are taken less seriously more often than men when it comes to pain,” says Dr. Jennifer Wider, spokeswoman for the Society for Women’s Health Research. “Studies show that doctors, regardless of gender, tend to undertreat female patients and take longer to administer medication to women.”

This has to stop. Yes, we know that if we have a toothache we just eat on the other side (I am currently sucking my medium temperature food through a straw), because who has time to go to the dentist? We never get man flu, and we rarely take time off work (even if we are hit by a car or fall off a bunk bed and break our arm – true stories).

But maybe it’s time to reclaim the pain. To get the care we deserve. To say, “Listen to me when I tell you this.” Yes, it stings to be vulnerable but enough with the stoicism. It’s too tiring.

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