When I asked my husband if he wanted to have a third child, he said no.
“Why on earth would you want another kid?” he asked. “We’re just starting to get our freedom back.”
He had a point, I guess. Our two sons are healthy, happy and, best of all, in school all day. So maybe that was it – I was lonely. Or perhaps it was too quiet.
“Or maybe you’re a just glutton for punishment.” he said. And then he reminded of the bed rests during both pregnancies, the emergency C-sections… “Let’s just be thankful for what we have.”
We aren’t getting any younger, I suppose. And running after another one could, quite possibly, drive my husband to a plunging, decapitating death as he so graphically foretold when I pressed him on the topic. But I couldn’t shake this feeling – like there’s still something messy, thankless and energy-sucking to be done in my life as a mother. So when my friend called me and asked if I wanted to participate in a half-marathon with her, I said, “I’m in.”
“You realize that it’s 13.1 miles, right?” she asked, suspicious of my enthusiasm.
“Sounds awful,” I said. “I’m in.”
And so my third pregnancy began.
I’ll admit that it was exciting at first. Just like I did after the news of my first pregnancy, I went shopping immediately for a new wardrobe. I also kept the race a secret the first three months, just in case “something happened.” Like if I keeled over from congestive heart failure one hot afternoon at the high school track. No sense in getting everyone all worked up prematurely!
But then the crippling nausea of fear set in and I had to spill the beans. Clearly, someone would talk me into my senses and tell me to abort.
“What are you thinking?” I imagined a friend saying. “You can barely run to the phone!”
But I got nothing. Unless you count, “Good for you!” Or, “I can’t wait to see the photo finish!” as good advice.
Clearly, I had only one way out.
“Honey?” I cooed to my husband one night. “If we get pregnant, I won’t have to do this race. You can be my hero. You can save me.”
He took one look at my ratty jog bra and said, “Rain check.”
So there I was, stuck between the birth of an idea and the death of my hamstrings when a curious thing happened. On my way out for a practice run, my youngest son asked me why I was always pink, panting and smelly.
“Well, mom’s training for a race – a really long one,” I explained.
“Will you get a medal?” my oldest asked.
“Definitely not,” I laughed. “I’ll be lucky just to finish it.”
And then I ran out the door. When I came back, both my kids were in the yard, waiving a palm leaf at me.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“It’s your medal,” my youngest said. “You won.”
I remember hearing about this man who won the lottery and he explained that time just stopped when he heard the news, despite the cameras and the lights. All he could hear was the wind, he said. Well, receiving that leaf was my lottery moment, I guess – my pregnant pause.
So why it’s taking me 13.1 miles of plantar fasciitis to make me appreciate what I’ve had right in front of me, I’ll never know. But I’ve got a race to run, and I’m not going to stop until I make it home.