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The pregnant athlete

The exhaustion, the adrenaline rush, the pain and physical exertion... all of this occurs at the birth of a child. But ironically, birth is not (yet) considered an Olympic sport worthy of medals. Well, Denise Fitzsimmons, a mother of four, believes that those who carry and birth children should be considered pregnant athletes - and she is very proud of her four "gold medals."

My fourth Stanley Cup
I recently gave birth to my fourth child. While sitting in my hospital bed after the delivery, I was reading an article about Claude Lemieux. Coincidentally, as I was giving birth for the fourth time, Claude was winning his fourth Stanley Cup championship. The writer was commenting on the fact that while Lemieux has never been a standout during the regular season, he shines during the playoffs. Lemieux explained this by saying that he worked hard all season in anticipation of the playoffs, and that once there, the adrenaline carries him through. He loves the playoffs and the high that it gives him. And so he performs to the best of his ability.

Strangely enough, I found myself smiling and nodding my head in agreement. Lemieux and I are not too far apart in our athletic endeavors. I too sacrificed and worked and "trained" for nine long months to reach that final goal. I too was carried through the "finals" by that rush of adrenaline.

Pregnant athlete?
In many magazines about pregnancy, I have read articles with titles such as the "pregnant athlete." I've always thought that this phrase was somewhat redundant. Every pregnant woman is an athlete. No matter what shape you are in, it takes a true athlete to do what we women do during childbirth.

And although all labors are different (some of us are sprinters, others marathoners), we all make it through that final event with the rush of adrenaline. And who of us doesn't feel that high when we first hold our squirming little trophy for a race well run.

After even the most difficult of pregnancies, no one can deny that those nine months of "training" were well worth it once we've made it through the playoffs. And so, as Claude Lemieux slides that fourth Stanley Cup ring on his finger, I wear my fourth hospital I.D. bracelet with pride. And although I might not have been a standout during the regular season, I can proudly sat that in the playoffs, I did shine. As I sit at home now holding my fourth little "Stanley Cup," I salute all of those pregnant women out there. For they are the true athletes.

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