In November, I was registered to run a half marathon in Philadelphia. I was so fatigued and weak during my first trimester that I was unable to run. That day, I was depressed and felt for the first time that my life would never be the same. Training for marathons and half marathons is my passion and my therapy. I love getting out there each day and seeing how far I can run. I love seeing how far I can push my body. In the last four years, I have run 2 full marathons, three half marathons, and a ten-miler. Each one took time, commitment, sacrifice, and stamina. Each one came with a great reward and each required a recovery period. For a few of them, I got to a point in the race when every inch of my body hurt and I was not sure I could continue. Still, with the finish line in mind, I pushed myself despite the pain and I finished. Twice, I hurt so much after the race that I could not move for at least a day or so. Yet I still registered for another race. It was worth it every time.
I’m supposed to be scared of labor. People have tried everything to break me. When I say that I am doing it drug free, they roll their eyes, say things like “good luck,” and say I am silly and naïve. The thing is that I am honestly not scared. A good friend of mine who has done an all-natural birth said to think of this time as my training and the labor and birth as my marathon. Like a marathon, a birth can be easier if one properly prepares for it. When I decided to approach this like a marathon, I no longer had fear about it. Like a marathon, it is mostly in your head. I have my friend and doula who will be there to cheer me on and support me when I think I can’t go another step. I am carefully picking out each song for my perfect motivational playlist. I am stretching, doing yoga, and doing exercises to prepare my body. I am reading everything I can about the science behind birth so I know exactly what is going on in my body and what will go on in my body when I start going into labor. I have interviewed dozens of women to hear their birth stories and get advice. I am eating all the right foods, herbs, and vitamins in the same way I strategically carb up for a race. I WANT to feel the labor and the birth and I want to do this. My head is ready and so am I.
So if you are going to tell me your horrible painful birth story, stop right there. I don’t want to hear it. You are only negative energy and I am bringing my daughter into this world in a positive light. If you are going to tell me I am silly, crazy, or that I don’t know what I am doing, walk away from me. You obviously don’t know me that well. I have approached this like a marathon and a thesis all wrapped in one. I have consulted the experts and experienced “runners” and I know what I am getting myself into. Also, I am not a “young buck” or a little girl. I am a 35 year old woman who has completed a Master’s degree on my own, trained to run multiple races on my own, and traveled the world and gone to places you will probably never go in your lifetime. Have you walked into a Guatemalan prison and been surrounded by more than 100 dangerous tattoo-covered gang members from some of the most dangerous gangs in the world? Yeah, I didn’t think so! And if you are going to say, “Just wait and see,” I say right back at you, “you wait and see!” I weighed 210 lbs. when I started running for the first time in my life and my first run was a half-marathon. I did it despite the fact that people said I couldn’t and I lost 60lbs in the process. I went on to complete two full marathons and I shocked myself and other people each time I crossed the finish line. I am me. I am not you.
If you want to tell me I can do this and you recognize that millions and millions of women around the world and through time have done it and done it med-free, give me a call, pat me on the back, welcome to my friend circle. You are the people I want in my life right now. Why anyone thinks it is helpful or kind to criticize or be a naysayer to a pregnant woman is beyond me. None of us need that and it is not a supportive or loving approach. Shame on you! If you want to be supportive, just wait at the finish line for me. I’ll be the one sweaty, tired, and weak, but still going. I’ll be the one carrying a beautiful baby as the trophy for all my hard work.