Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's Just Like Having a Baby

Sometimes I think exercise, particularly running, is like going through childbirth without the benefit of pain meds or epidurals. Which by the way is how I delivered all of my babies--without so much as an aspirin. I had been talked into this the first time I was pregnant. It was the 80s and the thing then was natural childbirth. The lady in the birthing class told us that labor wasn't really painful, it was just a little pressure. What a crock. When I was dilated to nine centimeters and moaning with my eyes rolled back, I wanted to find that lady and put some pressure right around her scrawny little neck.

After having Paige

Knowing the truth the next time I went into labor, I decided I would go for as long as I could take it and then ask for "something" to take the edge off. Well, this didn't happen. I always arrived at the hospital in the advance stages of labor and it was too late to give me an epidural or even a stick of gum. I mistakenly thought that with each baby, it should get easier. It doesn't. But it does go quicker. Thus, the stories of delivering babies in the car. 

My mother said that you forget the pain after you have a baby. She lied. I didn't forget the pain. It quickly came back to me each time I had my next baby. But I'd do it all over again without hesitation (and which I actually did--three more times). If we had been independently wealthy, I would have gone onto having ten more. I loved having babies that much. Of course, having teenagers later is a great form of birth control.

Running is a lot like having a baby. I never forget the pain before I start running or working out. It's hard. But isn't anything that's worthwhile in life hard work?  Delivering a baby, getting through college, getting up in the morning to go to work, having a good marriage.  The easy way out is to be a slug. Sit on the couch, munching on chips and salsa and watching Netflix. But then what are you left with? Indigestion and regret.

Besides reliving the childbirth experience, I have a few other strategies to keep me going when I want to stop during my run. I pretend that I'm running from terrorists. And if I quit they'll push me down and pull out all my fingernails. I also do a lot of self talk. I tell myself to make it to the next telephone pole then I'll quit. When I make it that far, I say I can't quit until I count to 100. Sometimes I quit anyway and when I do, I tell myself to knock it off and quit being a baby. Jacci, you can do this. Finish it.  And I do.

I can say I never regret the run (or working out) when I'm done--no matter how hard it was. Even if I don't forget the pain, it's worth looking and feeling better, fitting into a size 6, having energy, and being able to sleep at night.
Childbirth was worth this. Amber's college graduation, 2011.
P.S. In the 90s the thinking changed about going through childbirth without pain relief intervention. My friends say that as soon as they got the epidural they didn't feel a thing except for just a little pressure. Darn that birthing instructor.


  1. I remember the conversation with your mom! She probably thought if she told us the truth, we would never have babies!

  2. Bev, now that you said that I do remember that you were there when she said that. Ha, ha!