A Comparison: Ironman and Natural Childbirth

Ok, so based on the title of this blog, I’m sure that I already have some women ready to give me a piece of their mind. Obviously, I have never, and will never, experience child birth first hand. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying that I could even do it…but just hear me out on the similarities. By the way, I have discussed this with my wife on several occasions and she agrees with me (for the most part).
I’ve had the privilege of witnessing my awesome wife deliver our two beautiful children. I was right by her side from the moment the contractions started until we were holding our newborns. I went to every single Obstetrician appointment with both children (I even call her our OB). I didn’t miss a single Bradley Method class before our first child was born and coached her through both labors. I’ve witnessed it all…up close and personal. 
I’ve also completed an Ironman triathlon. I trained for 8+ months and completed a 2.4 mile open-water swim, 112 mile bike ride and then ran a full 26.2 mile marathon…all in 12 hours.
All three of theses events (birth of my two children and Ironman) were life-changing experiences for my wife and I. Both required a great amount of physical and mental strength. It’s really hard to put into words what it takes to get through labor without pain medication or to complete an Ironman. You can’t adequately describe it to anyone that hasn’t done it themselves and you aren’t even sure if you can do it yourself…until you do. Once you do it, you love to talk about it and to hear other people’s stories about how they did it.
Some other similarities between natural childbirth and Ironman :
  • You train/plan for 8-9 months for both
  • The anticipation build-up is almost too much to handle
  • Learning to control your breathing and muscle tension is critical to success
  • Somewhere along the way, you will question yourself and your preperation
  • You are going to have to go to the bathroom at some point. It will most likely be at an inconvenient time.
  • It’s a long journey…somewhere between 10 and 16 hours are typical for both.
  • Support from friends/family is essential
  • Both have “transitions”. Ironman transitions are much easier!
  • The worst part is right before the finish, but you know that you are almost there, so you push through the pain
  • Whatever pain you had to endure is quickly forgotten once you see the end is in sight
  • The experience makes you amazed at what the human body is capable of
  • Both are accomplishments that you can brag about for the rest of your life
  • Within a few days, you forget about how hard it was and are ready to do it again
  • You will probably walk and little funny for a few days afterward
  • Nursing injuries will be required for a few weeks once it’s over
Feel free to add any other similarities that you can think of.
One HUGE difference is the prize that you get at the end. All I have for Ironman is a hat, shirt and a medal. My wife got real, live babies!

One Response to “A Comparison: Ironman and Natural Childbirth”

  1. Matthew Smith November 9, 2011 at 10:44 PM #

    Man, that was GREAT! I think the parallels are very obvious and well stated. Although I really want a hat, shirt and medal, I’d love to have real, live babies too!

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