Marathon V Childbirth

It struck me today, seven days before I’m due to run the London marathon, or more specifically, seven days before I’m due to run my first ever marathon, just how similar the emotions, feelings and physical traits are, to becoming a parent!

It may sound overly dramatic and just a little self indulgent but I’m serious when I say, the feelings I’ve had the last couple of days are exactly how I felt before B was born. Bar the whole, hand in the vagina for a sweep bit, even the preparation is the same.

I’ve made lists. God, I’ve made lists.

I’ve packed a bag to unpack it and pack it again.

I’ve felt a very real need to cleanse body, soul, home and mind.(You should see how clean my skirting boards are!)

I’m taking body selfies to see just how much my body as changed.

bump runner

I’ve phoned my doctor because I’m eating chalk.

I’ve tried to change my diet, take vitamins (because of the whole eating chalk malarkey) and listen to experts about the do’s and dont’s.

I’ve muttered the words ‘This time next week I’ll…’ three hundred times, much like I did for a whole month before B came along.

I’ve run (boom boom) every worst case scenario through my head and some, I’ve pictured finishing, I’ve pictured how I’ll feel after, what I’ll feel after, I wonder whether I’ll have enough energy to ever have sex again, whether I’ll be me after I finish? Whether I’ll want to do it again?

I’ve thought I can’t do it.

I’ve thought I’ll be epic at it.

I’ve over thought it to the point I feel like I know absolutely everything and nothing at all.

I’m excited and frightened and one minute very ready and the next not at all.

I think about why I’m doing this, what I wanted and want from it, how it will change nothing but everything and then I feel ridiculously proud.

Four years ago there was no B and definitely no run intended (see what I did there?) and now there’s both, a beautiful little girl, a reasonably good book, a run intended and thousands of miles, literally, thousands of miles, behind me, so whatever happens on April 24th 2016, whether I’ll be the same person I was pre marathon, whether I have sex straight away or three months later, whether or not I cleanse myself thoroughly before I get on the Megabus heading to Victoria, I am allowing myself to feel a little bit smug and a little bit relaxed.

Just like I did before I went into labour.

After all, the hard work has been done, sort of; I’ve grown into a marathon runner, like I grew B.

I know the actual race will be long, tiring, amazing and I’ll be bloody starving after.

I hope I don’t shit myself or hurt myself or fall short at the last hurdle and need pain relief to get over the line but I also can’t wait to show myself, the world, B, just exactly what I’m capable of.

And yes, I will bring that medal home and look after it and treasure it and show it off exactly how I brought B home and treasured her and took her to town so people could muse over her beauty!

I will be that woman and do you know what?

I can’t wait!!!!!

 

 

 

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The gift of Hindsight and breasts

Hindsight; I’m a big fan of hindsight, I spend a lot, and I mean A LOT, of time thinking about it. If you look it up in the dictionary you’ll find the explanation;

Recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation, event, decision etc., after its occurrence.

Hindsight

How brilliant is that?

I also like breastfeeding. In fact, breastfeeding has become my absolute favourite topic in the whole wide world despite the fact I have desperately tried not to become one of the breast is best brigade, I just can’t help myself.

So, when the opportunity arose for me to speak at a parent craft class about breastfeeding, naturally I jumped at the chance quickly forgetting that I can be socially awkward, possibly come across that I need some sort of medication and I’d like to think quirky but in reality its probably just plain old weird.

Anyway here’s a list of things I said and with the gift of hindsight what I probably should have said.

In relation to breast milk supply I said:

‘I once squirted all over my nieces face, it was mortifying.’

What I should have said was:

‘Trust your body, you will always have ample supply for you babies needs.’

With regards to how in tune your body is to your baby, I said:

‘Sometimes, when the dog cried my boobs would leak.’

What I should have said was:

‘Again, trust your body it will know exactly what and when to fulfil your babies needs.’

When the topic arose of the sensitivity of your nipples, I said:

‘I don’t have a weird sex life, I’m not sure about you but my bad boys had never had that type of exposure before let alone been sucked on for twenty four hours at a time.’

What I should have said was:

‘Keep in mind that your nipples will be sensitive in the early days, gather a stock of appropriate cream, compress’s and even cabbage to cool and soothe.’

And talking of appropriate cream;

‘It’s also really good for your hands…and your piles!’

However, what I should have said was:

‘Ask the pharmacist.’

In terms of how challenging breastfeeding can be, I spurted;

‘It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I thought Maths GCSE the second time around, no, the third time, was tough!’

What I should have said was;

‘It’s very challenging but extremely rewarding.’

When the session was wrapping up it was mentioned about relevant support via the internet and I said;

‘I don’t Google anything anymore, Google was the reason I didn’t use saucepans whilst I was pregnant and the reason I very nearly jet washed the baby when she was three weeks old.’

What I should have said was:

‘If using the internet, definitely use trusted sights.’

Hindsight, ey?

I think we should all just stop warning.

I recently read the beautifully written They Should Have Warned Me blog and being reasonably fresh into this journey that is motherhood I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was beautiful, it was spot on it made me cry; not that that’s difficult postpartum. I copied and pasted the link and sent it to my very pregnant friend; who also cried.

A few days later I then read the response to this blog; I’m Glad Someone Told Me and was equally as moved. Another spot on article that recognised that motherhood isn’t always as seamless as it’s perceived to be and it’s OK to have a bad time of it. I quickly copied and pasted that article to my same very pregnant friend, typing; this one is good too, because it’s important she has a broad spectrum of what could be’s, right?

But it bothered me. I’d sent her two articles, two beautifully written, hitting-the-nail-on-the-head observations; both making valid points, both warning/advising that this is what motherhood could be like? And either way it was OK.  I imagined my hormonal, tired friend reading both pieces, a baffled expression on her face and an even more baffled perspective forming.

And then it hit me. Why was I trying to ‘warn’ her of anything? Because all I really wanted to tell her was; enjoy it, do it your way and enjoy it. Yes, some days are bad and others top of the world brilliant, just like life before pregnancy, before a baby, because that’s what life is like; up and down.

I remember being pregnant and literally drinking in blogs, websites, app information that would maybe give me a snippet into how being a mother  was going to be, what it would be like, how I would find it, and do you know what? Absolutely none if it has had any relevance to the way I’m brining my little girl up.

I’m fully behind the essence that we all need to be made aware of the mental health issues that could possibly arise after having a baby and it’s always nice to hear how truly beautiful having a baby is but it’s also OK to just get on with it…it’s totally OK to do it your way, your unique, tailored way because at the end of the day that’s the only way that should matter to you. And I would like to tell my friend that she categorically cannot get it wrong.

I emphasise the TO YOU bit again because that’s what I really want on pass onto her, to the lady in the supermarket who only has a week or so left of pregnancy, to anyone who is thinking about getting pregnant or at the very beginning of the growing a human voyage; If I got on the Tower of Terror rollercoaster I would have a completely different experience to the adrenalin junkie that took the seat next to me; completely different!  So, excuse the metaphorical pun but that’s why I think we should all stop warning or telling or anything.

We should hand hold, pat backs, offer support and frequent ‘You’re doing great.’ We should be there for the tears or the joy or the anything that our friend, sister, colleague wants to throw our way. Sometimes we’ll be able to relate, often we won’t because that’s the incredible thing about human beings we are all different, very, very different.

And becoming a mother is the only common denominator we’ll each have during this trek.

So, let’s celebrate the mutual factor us females share within pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood and rejoice in the more than common factor that every one of our journeys will be different. Let’s celebrate, learn, support and enjoy; not warn.

So, to my friend; the only advice I really have for you is enjoy it as best you can, if you can, because it doesn’t half go fast. Phone me whenever you want, to say whatever you want, ask me advice, ask for my assistance, my aid and I promise to help as best I can, but like Frank said; do it your way.

Walk your own path and leave your own footprints.

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