In The Business Of Being Born, one of the interviewees invokes the classical rock and hard place to describe that horrible, endless moment in labor we all* know and cry about after our husbands fall asleep beside us. The laboring woman gets to a point where she either has to deliberately head straight into the unfathomable pain of pushing the baby out, or remain forever in the terrible pain she's already suffering. That's a bad place. Twice I thought I would die there, for real. And truly believing you're about to die is a totally rad life experience. lol j/k! Kinda!
What labors teaches you is that you actually can do things you think there is seriously no bleeping way you can possibly do. One intended meaning, many applications. ;)
*less a few birthin' machines like my sister.