Monday, November 12, 2007

reckless mama

The medical debate surrounding Paula Radcliffe's recent win of the New York marathon, nine months after giving birth to her daughter Isla, is yet another good example of public overreaction and people dying to pass judgment on mothers for doing anything that falls outside of the "normal" parameters of socially-imposed maternal behavior.

Of course, the average mother is not going to start running immediately following childbirth. And I know from a running mama friend that you're supposed to take six weeks off. But Radcliffe had her baby in January. It's reported that she did push too hard and got a stress fracture that laid her up in early May. Tsk-tsk. But you can push too hard whether you're postpartum or not. Stress fractures are not exclusive to new mothers, nor exclusive to the base of the spine.

The "how soon is too soon?" debate irritates me because Radcliffe should only be inspiring to new mothers. She (and her stress fracture) should not serve as a warning to other new mothers. I love the mother who's interviewed for this MSNBC story, a random mother named Kristen Chase who has nothing to do with anything other than also being a "jogger" and also having given birth around the time Radcliffe did. That's like so exactly almost the same. I'm impressed they even found someone to interview who's experience is so similar. Chase is quoted saying, "New moms are extremely tired, so the prospect of getting on a treadmill or even running outside at six weeks when your children aren't sleeping through the night seems unimaginable."

Hmmmm.... I wonder if it's possible that what seems unimaginable to a jogging mother from Atlanta might not seem quite so unfathomable for a professional athlete who's previously won six marathons.

And please check out a a day in the life of Paula Radcliffe:

8.30am: Wakes, showers, feeds Isla.
9.30am: Day's longest run until 11.30am-noon, depending on training schedule.
12.30pm: Lunch.
1.30pm: Massage.
2pm: Afternoon sleep (until 4pm).
5-7pm: Training and exercises.
7pm: Shower and put Isla to bed.
10pm: Bed.

Radcliffe is on par with celebrities who lose a ton of weight very fast after having kids. We are just not like them. Can you imagine having this schedule? I'm sure it comes with a personal chef and organic meals, too. I'd like to imagine my life with tons of exercise and a massage every day, kid or not. But that's not to lessen Radcliffe's accomplishments. I think she rocks. And I think the "medical debate" is crap. That is, in my humble professional opinion.



Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'm with you; she rocks and ought to be an inspiration.

That said, it's obvious she has help around the house, which many of us don't. Still, there are ways to find even teeny bits of help; my gym offered up to 2 hours a day of free babysitting in their nursery. Believe me, some days when the kids were younger, I used all 2 hours!

Where there's a will, there's a way. Hopefully more moms will find the will -- and the way.

Krista Lyons-Gould and Brooke Warner said...

I completely agree. She obviously has help, as do the movie stars. My main point is that this woman is not your typical stay-at-home mom. Any mom who is doing something good for her body after baby is way ahead of the game in my book.


Single Mom Seeking said...

Great post Krista and Brooke! Well said.

I blogged about that amazing woman recently at BabyCenter, hoping that she might inspire some of us (I did take up yoga again!)... See: