I was thinking more about your point re: enduring psychic and physical pain because of the expectations of others (menstruation, abuse, etc.) I think it valuable to be able to manage pain (of whatever sort) when absolutely necessary, not when a better alternative is at hand, such as leaving an abusive situation.
I can’’t speak to childbirth, but I’m not sure you would have had “the same experience” with an epidural. If it is harmful to the baby (I have no knowledge of that), then you might have endured a different sort of pain — that of wondering if you made the wrong choice for your child. It’s possible the physical pain was, in that sense, better for you both.