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marathons and childbirth

November 5, 2012

Ok so thus far in NaBloPoMo I’ve tackled being a working mother and political discussion. Let’s see what other controversial topics I can dance around!

Oooh I have one…

There are many many people who have never run a marathon. I’d venture to say that the vast majority of people in the world haven’t. And that’s fine. They don’t choose to. They feel no need to. Sure, they’ll probably agree that running is potentially healthy for you, but there are other means of being healthy and they’re happy with those means.

There are others who might like to run a marathon but who, for some reason, don’t try. They’re scared, they have injuries that prevent running, or maybe they are talked out of it by well-meaning (or not) friends, family, articles, etc., who tell them they can’t. That it’s too hard. That they’ll fail. That the benefits are false.

There are still others who try to run a marathon but who never make it to that finish line. They hit the wall and don’t make it over. They tire out, get hurt on the course, cramp up or give out.

We don’t judge these people for their choices, do we? I mean, we don’t look at the 90% of the population that has no interest in running and think, “wow, they’re failures.” Why would we? I’ve personally never run a marathon. I’m solidly in the “scared to try” camp at the moment. And while it’s a personal goal of mine to *someday* run one, I don’t feel judged or put down by those who have. I don’t feel threatened by their successes. I feel lifted up and inspired by them.

So I am led to ask: does the fact that some people don’t want to, some never try, and still others don’t make it the full 26.2 mean that those who finish shouldn’t feel proud of themselves? Sounds pretty silly, right? Should those who cross the finish feel the need to hide the fact that they set out to do something big, something that many won’t even try, and that they actually made it through? That is laughable, really. Why shouldn’t they be proud!?!

This post is not about me trying to run a marathon. Stay with me.

The point of this post is to apply this metaphor to childbirth. I’ve made it through two labors and two deliveries with zero pain medication. And yet, I still feel like I have to qualify this accomplishment by saying that my labors were fairly short, or telling people how I lost my shit at the end. Do I think it’s harmful to babies to have an epidural? nah. not really. Do I think women who get them are weak or wrong or bad mothers? Not in the least. Not even a little bit.

I think that some women are not interested in med-free labor and delivery. And that is ok. I think that others are interested but talked out of it or scared off by well-intentioned (or not) family and friends and that’s not ok, but my judgement is reserved for the friends and family not being supportive than for the mother whom they fail. I think that still others try it out, but for whatever reason don’t get through. and that’s ok too, because lots of things happen in the crazy world of having babies, and you just do what you have to do to get to the finish line with a healthy mother and baby.

So why do I feel that I can’t be proud of myself for making it through that rarified finish line? I’m not saying I want a medal (I personally hate when people say “you don’t get a medal,” btw.) But I did set out to do something that I found valuable, and I made it. I’m proud of that fact. And I don’t think that being proud of myself for one thing, means I’m judging someone for a different choice, or different circumstances.

Good heavens no!! I save all my judgment for parents who give their children soda.

Just Kidding. (sortofnotreally.)

ps. While it’s fun writing posts that skirt hot topics in a non-confrontational manner for five readers, I promise that I’ll be back to rambling about nonsense soon. 🙂

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dodging Acorns permalink
    November 5, 2012 3:08 pm

    haha this was AWESOME! I was just having this conversation with some girlfriends. All that matters is that the baby and mama are safe and sound (physically and mentally) when it’s done. The how doesn’t matter at all 😉

  2. November 5, 2012 3:38 pm

    I think however you can get the baby out best is OK by me. I had to have c-sections because of complications and scar tissue from previous surgeries. Everyone is different. Who cares how someone got the baby out, what matters is that you and the baby are healthy. The fact that you did it without pain killer tells me you have a very high tolerance for pain. You did it your way, therefore you should be proud. It is an accomplishment.


  3. November 7, 2012 1:39 pm

    What an awesome post. So often we get caught up in the “mommy wars” and who did it better, but at the end of the day, a happy, healthy baby is all that matters.

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