A person who happens to have had a miserable time giving birth, or having surgery, or renovating her house should absolutely feel free to shut up about it unless telling the horror story can actually prevent someone else from experiencing the same thing.
I’m having oral surgery on Thursday and no fewer than 3 people have been kind enough to tell me that they nearly killed themselves from the pain, that they have nightmares even years later and that Dustin Hoffman’s dental visits in Marathon Man looked like day spa treatments compared to their ordeal.
This is why I occasionally stop pregnant total strangers in the grocery store and say “psst…it’s not that bad. Whatever you have heard, IT’S NOT THAT BAD”.
“Really?” they always say. “Because my sister/mother/mother-in-law/friends have told me that I’m going to be ripped in half, that I won’t walk again for a month, that I’ll never sleep, eat, or shower again, and that my life is going to end!”
Why do people do this? I do not know. I’m not telling anyone else about the oral surgery (well, except for the entire Internet) until it’s over and I’m enjoying a Vicodin-fueled haze.
*The title of this post is brilliant, but not original. Slight paraphrase of Ring Lardner, Jr.