What Running a 5K Taught Me About Birthmothers

What Running a 5K Taught Me About Birthmothers
Rob Nelms/A Better World Running

I hate running.

At least, that’s what I’ve told myself for most of my adult life. I used to play soccer, and running after a ball was OK, but running to train and running just for the sake of it feels horrible.

On Sunday, I ran in my first 5K event. Although I trained for about four weeks beforehand, I didn’t run the full distance until the race. It was the first time I’d run that far since I played competitive soccer 10 years ago.

What I discovered while training and at the 5K itself is that the first mile or so sucks. My breathing becomes rapid and strained. My back and shoulders won’t align properly and begin to ache (I have terrible form, it seems). The crooks of my arms and my fingers start sweating uncomfortably. I just want to stop.

I hate running.

For a while after I started running again, I let myself stop. I would run for ten minutes and call it good.

But as the race approached, I knew I couldn’t keep letting myself off the hook. I had to overcome my hatred and resistance to running.

(Why I signed up for the race in the first place is simply a reflection of my optimism, by the way.)

Pushing myself past the one mile mark, I found something incredible. Running felt easier.

My breathing, steps and swinging ponytail settled into a rhythm. The shock of transitioning from stillness to movement wore off. I felt OK.

I think discomfort in general is most apparent in the beginning. After a while, the mind and body adjust to a new normal. Adaptation can be necessary for survival.

This has been true of my adoption journey. As many birthmothers have told me, it “gets easier” after the first year.

Being a birthmother is never easy, of course. But I think what these birthmothers meant is that after the first year or so, our lives settle into a new normal. A rhythm, if you will.

The rhythm may not be optimal or desirable, and certainly not easy or comfortable. But moving through the most difficult time ā€” pregnancy, the decision not to parent and the shocking consequences ā€” eventually yields the merits of that effort.

Some days, I hate being a birthmother. It sucks.

But I’ve learned to keep moving forward through the pain until I find my rhythm.


How do you deal with pain? Do you find that it gets easier after a while? Leave a reply in the comment box below; please be familiar with the comment policy.

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