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.
“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?