Running and Childbirth

doula in Edmonton

So this post may come off as super random, but I had the coolest thoughts tonight that I just needed to get out there! (Afterall, that’s what blogging is for right?) So as an Edmonton Doula dedicated to being efficient at the physical aspects of my job, I partake in a number of activities to keep me in tip top shape for those long, sleepless nights. Running has been a part of my life for a long time, long before I became a doula in Edmonton and even before having children. It had been a while since I went running but tonight felt right, so off I went with my music blaring and my shoes hitting the pavement.

As I started to hit the difficult part in my jog I found myself falling into this habit of coaching myself through in almost the exact way that I would if I were with a client as their doula in Edmonton. Once I finished up and I thought more and more about this I realized something: running and childbirth are sisters! Ok so maybe running is like childbirth’s baby sister, but you get the point. Going for a run is like a mini version of childbirth – it takes far less time to complete and a fraction of the intensity, but the stages and layers are so there! Let me elaborate on this a bit more.

So you start your run, and at first you’re excited. You’re thinking “weee here we go! This is gonna be great! I’m going to feel so good afterwards and everything is going to be smooth sailing!”. You’ve got a real bounce in your step, you feel cool and fit and maybe even a bit like showing off by picking up the pace (k maybe that’s just me haha). Then you hit this point where things start to kinda hurt. Breathing is getting more difficult, maybe you’re getting a rib cramp or your legs are starting to ache… for whatever reason you’re thinking about stopping to walk for a bit. You’re hesitant because you know if you start to walk, it gets increasingly harder to start back up the jogging pace again. You don’t want to break your stride but on the other hand you look into the future and think “how the hell am I going to finish this whole route if I’m already needing to walk? I can’t do this!” So then this amazing thing happens. You say to yourself “well, I’ll just run up to this corner here and then I’ll take a walk break”, and as soon as you say that to yourself, all of the sudden you get what I like to call your “second wind”. All of these things that were scaring you completely disappeared and you started feeling great again. Amazing! THIS my friends, this is your beautiful endorphins doing their job. That moment when you see hope right in front of you, whether that be a break or the finish line or you get into your zone, you’re allowing your body to take over and fight that painful sensation for you. You’re letting go of whatever is causing you to believe that you are in danger, and by releasing this stress you are opening yourself up to the laws of Mother Nature. You’re putting full trust that you.will.be.ok.

This moment happens quite often in a jog. Well for me anyway. It’s really what carries me to the end of my route – in fact when I can visually see my house when I’m reaching the end, I get a blast of adrenaline and sometimes sprint! Much like the pushing phase of labour. I can’t believe I’ve never made this connection before but it’s so similar it’s feaky!

So this Edmonton doula is a runner and will now be doing a lot more running to continue to put myself in the shoes of my clients coming forward. For in no other way can you fully understand the body’s processes unless you can relate something in your life to them on a regular basis. And I’m sure you can all agree that I’m not going to keep giving birth to try to relate!

Do you run? Do you do another form of activity that you can find similarities to childbirth in? Let’s hear your experiences in the comments below!

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