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Childbirth is my extreme sport

I am beyond the age of childbearing, so let’s assume that my authority on that subject is finally complete. I know what I know. My sons were born 18 and 15 years ago, so I stand on the outer edge of motherhood, quite sure of what all that delivery-room endurance was about. For reasons of simplicity, I think we should just refer to it as extreme adventure.

I have been reading adventure books since I was a little girl. Mountaineering, climbing, surfing and sailing accounts have inspired every hair-raising trip of my life. I am a student of men in their out-of-doors glory because so few of those profiled were women.

But I know a thing or two about all this that men do not. I know that the ordeal of labor and delivery rivals any adventure in the snow or ice, any facing-down of one’s demons on the open sea or at the end of a parachute. Most women – whether they give birth or not, whether they adopt or foster, whether they have children or careers or puppies – have adventures that go unremarked or unsung. But the Birth Adventure analogy strikes me as particularly apt. For gauging your emotional grit, they are practically the same thing.

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