Hi Kate1015 –
The Jerome Biblical Commentary says this:
“The bearing of children in pain is presented as punishment in Gen. 3:16. Paul sees it here as a means of salvation. He probably has in mind the false teachers, who forbade marriage (1 Tim. 4:3)”
You will find that the Catholic Church has beautiful teachings about suffering and contributing to our own salvation through works. Some scriptural references:
What does if profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. (Continue reading through verse 26) "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, the Church.
1 Corinthians 1:5
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort, too.
You might want to do a thread search on “redemptive suffering” – there have already been a lot of great things shared on this subject.
Welcome to the family!