As I have read many natural childbirth books and views on how to work through labor there is sometimes this idea that childbirth is not supposed to hurt. I find it interesting as I have watched many women who have given birth naturally and spoken with many others. I've asked myself that same question without really coming to an answer except that I think it is really different for every woman.
I will say one thing though...I rarely see a natural childbirth how they depict it in the movies. With the woman screaming and thrashing. The women that I see who have the hardest times are usually the ones that don't want to be in pain in the first place or who have become so overwhelmed by the process that they no longer feel in control. But even these women are not quite so dramatic as the movies:)
Most natural births I've seen are a combination of the seeming appearance of no pain and a feeling of being out of control. In my own births I have felt an excruciating pain and just a feeling of exhaustion but no pain. Just from my own labors I have come to belief that it is possible to appreciate the pain. Even with my first and hardest one I absolutely feel like that experience was life changing and I wouldn't have done it differently.
From what I've seen the most pain comes when we feel out of control and when we are exhausted and tired or afraid. For these reasons I really to think that if we can work on providing care in these areas for women we can do a lot to help women birth without medical means of pain control. These are hard things to work on. And in many cases depends on where a woman is at physically and psychologically in her own life but we could do better.
I think it is also important to realize that you may still experience some sort of pain. Even if you follow the book or the rules perfectly. But that doesn't mean that that pain isn't meaningless. It also doesn't mean that you can't do it. Any woman can birth naturally it's a matter of if she really wants to...that to me is more of the question.