Some time ago I wrote several posts about pain in labor, one of which addressed needing more words for pain. In the book Birthwork, there is an interesting list of possible perceptions of pain in labor:
—‘Satisfying pain‘—enjoyable labour
–‘Positive pain’–it is birthing the baby
—‘Constructive pain’–it is doing a good job
—‘Functional pain’–acceptance of the process
—‘Okay pain’–it hurts but everything is on track
—‘Intense pain’–it is a lot!
–‘Abnormal pain’–something is not right
—‘Overwhelming pain’–unable to manage alone (exacerbated by isolation, fear, exhaustion, and tension).
—‘Off the wall pain’–utterly unbearable (usually associated with intense nerve or spinal pressure).
Even though these aren’t new words for pain, I think they add to our vocabulary for describing what is going on with our birthings. Additionally, keep in mind that you can transform the language and perception of the sensations of labor even further, by not using the word pain or contractions at all–you can refer to “sensations” or “tightenings” or “pressure” or “waves” or “surges” or “intensity” and so forth.