Dear Birthing Mothers,
I’ve wanted to write this letter to you, to us, for a while. But until this moment, it’s been a thing of anger for me. I’ve read your comments, your Facebook statuses; I’ve read of your wishes and dreams and hopes and losses, and I’ve seethed with anger at your ignorance.
But right now, in this moment, I’m not so much angry with you as I am sad and hurt for those you unknowingly wound.
Like my hyster-sisters.
Like all the mothers who’ve lost their babies before they were born, or in the birthing suite, or long before they were ever unborn beauties and were only plans.
You have GOT to be kidding me. Two miles in? Already? No. NO. Too bad. This is it. I’m all in.
I’m doing this.
MILES 1 – 10.68 >> NORDIC SKI TRAIL LOOP
Saturday morning May 11, just six months after running my first ultra marathon, the Wild Duluth 50k on the Superior Hiking Trail – and swearing 27 miles into it that I would never, EVER entertain such a horrible idea ever again – I laced up my shoes for my second ultra, the Ice Age Trail 50 Mile race in the Kettle Morraine State Forest near La Grange, WI. I was poorly prepared and fairly convinced I’d DNF. Finishing under 12 hours was my only goal.
Since the WD50k, I hadn’t given my body the rest it wanted and needed. Instead, I signed up the very next day for the Ice Age 50, figuring if I could just sustain my fitness level I’d be fine. So over the course of the last six months, I overtrained and endured various ongoing injuries ranging from IT band issues in November and December, to metatarsal stress reactions in January and February, to running a half marathon on a sprained ankle in March and re-spraining it two weeks before the IA50.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had one superpower in my dreams. I don’t fly. Flying terrifies me. Even if I’m riding on a particularly strong and sure dragon, I lack the confidence to remain peaceably in the air. And more often than not, the dragon gets very angry with me because I’m clinging so tightly to its scales as to cause pain. To a dragon. But water? I can do water. When I swim in my sleep, I’m afraid for about three seconds until I realize I can breathe under water. And it’s amazing. Exhilarating. Magical.
Sounds weird, right? Nothing blooms in winter.
So last Summer, as I considered what I wanted to get for my new tattoo – the all-important, representing-my-life-and-it’s-many-woes-and-wins-since-Eli-was-born ink – I ran the gamut. Flowers? Dead flowers? A specific plant that blooms once and then dies, but in its bloom is utterly magnificent? And how to represent the family around it? Birds. Okay, birds. But what birds? What kind of bird would Paul be? And Matt? And Eli?
Well, finally, I settled and simplified and landed on a barren tree – you know, for barren me – with four little nondescript birds hanging around, one of which would be flying away (because, you know, Matt’s 15 now and about to…fly…away…).
I scheduled the appointment for the weekend after my birthday with an artist in Nashville. He’d done my Amaro-Rwot tattoo, which I love Love LOVE, so naturally I assumed this one would be equally awesome. Right?