Friday, October 14, 2011

Stupid, Selfish, or Just Plain Silly (a Guest Post By Barry Silver)

Barry Silver's blog, A Life Well Lived Concludes With A Smile is not a Dad Blog, but he does speak about his children and family often. Instead Barry writes about a bit of everything, current events (as in the case of this post) to media and entertainment, with appreciation of life smaller moments thrown in.


Stupid, Selfish or Just Plain Silly.

My fall Sunday morning radio is usually dominated by one topic: the NFL and more specifically The Bears (please hold on to your snide comments, Monday night’s game was a season’s worth of penance). The Sunday was a bit different because the Bears were playing Monday night. In lieu of Bears talk the local sports talker provided wall to wall live coverage of the (insert sponsor’s name here) Chicago Marathon. If you’ve never heard a Marathon covered on radio it’s like listening to a magic show, except not nearly as exciting. This Marathon had something a little different, although I didn’t find out about it until Monday.

Life Is Not A Sprint, It’s A Marathon.


Amber Miller, a dedicated recreational runner finished the marathon in roughly 6 ½ hours. In itself that is a remarkable feat. I couldn’t finish a marathon in 6 ½ days. Even more astounding and dumbfounding, Ms. Miller was 39 weeks pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby hours after crossing the finish line.

Before I jump into treacherous waters, I’m not a fan of men’s opinions of pregnancies. When my wife was pregnant, my two primary sentences were “How can I help?” and “Yes, of course dear”. As eyes roll at the previous sentence, I am not being flippant. Whatever help I provided my wife during pregnancy, there is no way possible I was sharing the responsibilities of pregnancy equally. Since % of opinion is guided by % of labor pains borne, I return to “I’m not a fan of men’s opinions of pregnancies”.


When you choose to become a spouse and a parent you willingly put the needs of others ahead of your own needs. Since I am writing this post between my two kid’s bedtimes, I understand the delicate balance between the needs of family and the needs of self. So before I unsheathe my verbal stiletto, I want to point out some of the things that Amber Miller did not do wrong:

1. Amber Miller was never far from adequate medical care. In addition to the usual marathon medical accommodations the Chicago Marathon course is never more than ½ hour from a hospital. Children’s Memorial Hospital which can serve any manner of high risk pregnancy is either in close proximity or on the course.

2. Amber Miller is in great physical condition. Additionally she walked the 2nd half of the course avoiding the body’s self cannibalization during the last miles of a marathon.

So exactly what was wrong with Amber Miller running a marathon pregnant? It was an awful decision!

Q: Don’t we all make silly decisions from time to time, especially when faced with a new situation?

A: Yes we do. This was the third marathon Amber Miller had run while pregnant. She was pregnant twice before (albeit at earlier stages of pregnancy) and ran marathons.

Q: Did she have a contingency plan if she couldn’t finish the marathon?

A: She actually didn’t plan on finishing the marathon. So why start?

Q: Why register for a marathon when pregnant?

A: She didn’t know she was pregnant when she signed up for the Chicago Marathon. Obviously calendars, calculators and medical advice are in scarce supply in Ms. Miller’s home city.

Q: What did her husband think about Ms. Miller participating in a marathon?

A: He was participating with her every step of the way. Husband and wife finished the marathon together.

You Decide.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.” I’m familiar with the quote. Still, being a parent is a series of seemingly endless decisions. I’m sure there are parental decisions I’ve made that many would consider awful. But, running/walking a marathon in the final weeks of pregnancy? What’s the upside? How about the downside? I’m sorry but the decision was selfish. I can’t see it any other way.

What about you? Do you think the decision to participate in a marathon at the end of the third trimester was stupid, selfish or silly? What would you do? How would you feel about the comments that follow your decision? Do you have any examples of parents making head scratching decisions at or near a due date?


Laura L said...

Hogwash - that is what I think of your "stupid, selfish or silly" thought. I do not think that she was any of these. She is a seasoned runner who continued to do what she has always done while pregnant. Doctors recommend that you continue your same exercise regimen while pregnant unless it is uncomfortable or causes pain. She did nothing wrong and I don't understand why people think what she did is so unreal. I would have done the same thing if I was in her physical condition.

Johanna said...

Laura L I'm with you.
I read the news article on the web. She consulted with her doctor before running and was given a go ahread.
Having been through three pregnancies I can tell you she is an amazing woman to have done it and babies do have their own timetable. The running itself probabaly had nothing to do with the timing of her babies birth and the fact that she was in such great shape probably made labour and delivery easier on her and baby.
I say hooray to her for doing it, wish I could run a marathon :)

Marjorie McAtee said...

I agree with Laura and Johanna. If her doctor said it was okay, it was okay.

Barry R. Silver said...

Laura, Johanna, Marjorie:
Thank you all for reinforcing my thought that it is folly for a man to comment about a woman's pregnancy. As to your comments: Laura, Doctors recommend that you continue your normal exercise routine. A marathon is not part of anyone's normal routine. Johanna, You said her Doctor okayed it. Must be either an assumption or from another article, The Dr. quoted in the link never examined Ms. Miller. Even still, just because a doctor couldn't see any reason to not partake in the marathon, that doesn't mean Ms. Miller should participate in the marathon. Marjorie, A Doctors Okay is not a must do.
Fact: A marathon either walked or ran places a large amount of stress on the body.
Fact: Pregnancy, especially the last weeks places a large amount of stress on the body.
Ms. Miller chose to combine the two because she wanted to, which is her right. The best possible outcome occurred, which is nothing bad happened. For Ms. Miller to take on a situation where the best outcome is nothing bad happening is "stupid, selfish or silly".
Thanks to all three of you for taking time out to express your opinion. Enjoy your weekend.

Jack said...

I don't see it as a big deal. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she has been seeing her doctor all throughout her pregnancy and that they discussed this.

I don't see it as being the same thing as drinking while pregnant or "boxing" both of which we can undoubtedly are asking for trouble.

Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life said...

I think what she did is pretty amazing because when I was 39 weeks pregnant all I wanted to do was lay on the couch with my feet up and eat chocolate.

Barry R. Silver said...

Amazing? Absolutely! Prudent?
It absolutely was no big deal. It was good that it was no big deal. You're right that it's not analogous to drinking or smoking while pregnant. There is hard statistical data about drinking and smoking. Since there are probably very few to participate in a marathon at 39 weeks pregnant (which might just be a clue in itself) there is no comparison.

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