I've long said that God (whatever name you use for the Divine) is with a laboring woman in an amazing, special way. Since my last pregnancy, I think it's even far more than I ever imagined, that we've only hit the tip of the iceberg with that idea.
I am beginning to see that labor is an Energy coursing through us that is so powerful and intense that we are overwhelmed by it. Our minds don't have a frame of reference for even beginning to process this sensation. So we *experience* that sensation as pain, from uncomfortable to excrutiating. I am not saying that we don't truly experience the pain, because we certainly experience whatever sensation we feel. I'm suggesting that the reason for the pain is not because the physical act of birth is inherently painful, but that every single experience - every sensation and feeling we ever feel - comes through the filter of our mind, and that our minds are ill-equipped to comprehend and process the act of birthing.
While we may consciously choose to physically relax during contractions, there is often something in our minds that is a wall, a deep block that keeps us from FULLY relaxing emotionally/psychologically because the sensation is so powerful.
I really think that God isn't simply watching over us during labor... He FILLS us. And that is so intense that we feel it as pain. Much like when Moses' face glowed after His encounter with the Lord on the mountain... it's an altering, amazing, fearful, awesome thing to directly experience the Divine! Can you imagine fully allowing yourself to experience that coursing through you?