The Rant: PSA: Flu is Worse than Childbirth

Filed under:It's My Life,Rants — posted by Anwyn on February 22, 2007 @ 12:19 pm

A comparison between childbirth (which I’ve successfully navigated), stomach flu (which I had last spring) and regular flu (which I have now):

Yes, labor contractions are painful. They are also relatively short and separated by periods of blissful relief. Stomach flu, by contrast, keeps you at a medium-level nausea for as much as an hour at a time, and the violent retching required to reach the “relief” stage is dreaded almost as much as the relief is anticipated. After which the long spell of nausea returns. Haha, sucker.

As for regular flu, try nine hours of high fever, chills, bone-rattling aches,* and again with the nausea, far more prolonged because the illness isn’t actually in your stomach but just causes collateral damage in the stomach due to respiratory drainage, resolved at some point by the violent retching aforementioned, but could easily return. Labor is long, but remittent. And unlike violent retching, the actual act of birthing is, compared to labor, hardly painful at all. It’s a relief to start doing the work that leads to the reward. And let’s not forget the three days or so of lassitude that go with both flus, the respiratory congestion that goes with regular flu, that leave you eating nothing and drinking little more, in bed and, when not in discomfort, pretty bored. All hail the bedside laptop. But I digress: the reward.

Oh yeah, the reward. At the end of childbirth, you have someone to show for it. At the end of either flu, all you have are weak muscles, shaky limbs, dirty house, cabin-fever child. If the flu could behave like labor for a couple days and then vanish, I’d hardly complain at all. So cheer up, ladies: If you contemplate having a child but fear what’s involved, trust me: if you’ve had either type of flu, childbirth ought to be a piece of cake.

*No, I didn’t take a fever reducer like acetaminophen or ibuprofen (the latter would almost certainly have come back up anyway). I suspect, possibly erroneously but with some observational justification, that as long as the fever is at a manageable temperature, the overall illness will be shorter if it’s allowed to run its course. I didn’t take painkillers during childbirth, either. Fair comparison.


  1. Sounds like you had the same thing I did a couple weeks ago. The aches were like nothing I’d ever experienced from a bug before, and the fever made me delirious. The Ibuprofen worked wonders.

    Can’t comment on the comparison to labor, for obvious reasons…

    Comment by LagunaDave — February 22, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

  2. Ditto on the ibuprofen. 600 mgs every 4 to 6 hours. I know you have a kid to take care of otherwise I would recommend Jameson’s Irish whiskey, 2 to 4 ounces every hour, until passed out. Get well soon.

    Comment by nk — February 22, 2007 @ 4:07 pm

  3. Thanks, guys. :) Maybe I’m just stubborn, but regardless, the fever part is long gone, thank God. Only the lack of appetite–but need of food–and congestion and drainage and vague aches and general zombie-ish ness.

    Comment by Anwyn — February 22, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

  4. *HONK*

    ‘Scuse me. Anwyn tried to teach me how to blow my nose quietly once upon a time, but it didn’t take. I hope we’ll both be feeling better soon.

    *rummages for sinus medication*

    Comment by Anwyn's sister — February 22, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

  5. Crikey!

    Comment by Daddyman — February 23, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

  6. Birds of a feather … take bird flu together.

    Comment by Anwyn — February 23, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

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