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One of the first things that crosses the minds of women who want to have kids one day is how much childbirth really hurts. We’ve seen it depicted in movies and TV shows, and maybe we’ve heard a few stories from friends or acquaintances who have gone through pregnancy and beyond, but we still wonder if we’re getting the full truth. If there’s any place where you could go to find some real answers, though, it’s Reddit.

There’s a Reddit thread called “[Serious] Women of Reddit, what does giving birth actually feel like?” The “[Serious]” part matters, because that means all the jokes and offensive comments are filtered out, leaving you with only the honest answers.

One mother responded candidly about her birth experience, which was done naturally because there was no time for anesthesia.

“Labor pains are invasive and spread through nearly your entire body, from hip to hip, back to front, chest to knees,” she continued. She said the contractions were so painful that when the doctor performed the episiotomy — the incision made between the anus and vagina to make room for the baby to come through — it felt “less invasive and seemingly less painful.”

To try to put it into perspective, another mother offered a comparison some people might be familiar with.

“They say the closest thing to the pain is passing a large kidney stone,” she says. “I had severe back pains, like someone was stabbing me with a knife viciously.” She admitted that giving birth was the most traumatic experience of her life.

“Imagine someone scraping away at your insides with a hot butter knife while your lower back is pricked by a thousand dull needles. That is labor,” yet another mom describes it.

“It’s like trying to shit out a bowling ball while your entire abdomen is having a seizure. For several hours,” someone else says.

However, there was one Reddit user who brought it home when she reminded us that the pain of labor and delivery is only part of the story. “Labor and delivery hurt. But the most intense emotion I’ve ever felt is when my son was actually born,” she said. “I felt him become his own person and it was unadulterated, transcendent joy. I still cry happy tears if I really stop and remember that moment.”

That says it all.