About a year ago, I finished a marathon and I am very, very proud of that accomplishment. I still feel that my head goes a bit higher when I tell people about it, when they see my photos and when I show my medal off. Sure, my time wasn’t fast but I finished didn’t I?
This year I feel like I’m finishing another marathon, of sorts. In a few days I will, if all goes well, give birth to a little girl and these last few weeks have been like the last stretch in the marathon. You know, you start off strong and confident (but a little queasy inside), until you find your pace. Slowly you feel that you can definitely do this, it’s actually easy and you’ve already covered so much mileage. You feel yourself smiling and think “hey, I look quite good!” Everyone cheers you on.
But somewhere in the last third you start flagging again: suddenly not only your legs hurt but everything seems to. The really comfortable pace you’d set is becoming too much so you slow down. You feel heavier and heavier. The miles are going by slower and slower. You don’t look quite so good anymore. People still cheer you on but it can almost become annoying: “you’re nearly there!” they say, and you know that you’re nowhere near there, really. And you keep going.
The last mile is the longest… everything really hurts by now, even breathing. You know you can’t stop because you can’t wait to get to the finish line and get this over and done with. Your pace is all over the place by now: sometimes you slow waaaaay down; sometimes you can even come up with a burst of speed. Just to get to the finish line. People still cheer you on and this time you KNOW you are nearly there, so these shouts are encouraging. But the tiredness has made you cranky and you can find them irritating at the same time. But the real determination to get there has to come from within. You’ve come this far – what’s a few more steps? All that pain and toll on your body will be worth it in the end.
Suddenly, you hear a choir, you turn a corner and there it is – the finish line! The last few meters go by in a blur, almost too quickly and before you know it, you are finished and you have your reward… now is a time to celebrate, to rest and, of course, to recover. You did it! Sure, you won’t be able to walk for a while but your life will never be the same again.
The difference is that when I finished the marathon I thought “Never again!” which is in fact the same thing I thought when I had my first baby. I was eventually convinced to get pregnant again but this time I can guarantee that I won’t do it again, two kids is enough… but a marathon? I think I’ll do it at least once more… one can never have too many medals!