A number of years ago, when I was young and foolish, I got into a discussion with my wife about the pain of childbirth. She was fairly convinced that if men had to endure the level of pain that accompanies giving birth, the world would have never been populated. I did a little research and discovered that the closest pain comparison that men endure is passing kidney stones. From a purely physical perspective, having kidney stones and giving birth are two events that are fairly close on the pain chart. Knowing that men pass kidney stones quite often, I thought it best to bring this evidence to my wife so that she could have the appropriate level of appreciation for the pain tolerance of the male half of the species.
She considered the evidence, pointed out that the study was done by a man who had never been in labor for ten-plus hours and had never given birth. But then she made a great point. “There is a big difference in choosing pain versus having no choice.” Meaning that women are tougher because they consciously choose to endure pain, whereas no man has ever chosen to pass a kidney stone. “I’m excited to pass a kidney stone,” said no man ever.
I didn’t admit it to my wife, but I thought she made a great point. Choosing to go through pain is a different level of toughness than being forced to go through pain. The question is: Why would a woman choose to go through pain? It’s because she knows that the pain has a purpose.
She is willing to endure the pain because she is more focused on what the pain will produce. In fact, after going through the excruciating pain of childbirth, a woman might say, “That was so rewarding. I hope God blesses me with another pregnancy.” But no man who has ever passed a kidney stone would say anything like that.