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Why I Waited

by | May 18, 2010 |

I was already more than 19 weeks pregnant when I made the news of my happy condition public in a Mother’s Day New York Times article. Considering that I was very outspoken about my desire to get pregnant, many in the American running community probably wondered why I held back so long.

Let me tell you. I certainly did not plan to wait so long. My plan was to share the news after a first trimester screening in March confirmed that the baby was doing fine. The problem was that the screening did not confirm the baby was fine. Instead, my doctor’s measurements revealed that the baby had a 1 in 32 chance of having a chromosomal abnormality. The normal risk for first-time mothers my age is more like 1 in 1,000.

One in 32 is pretty good odds in many situations, but not this one. Adam and I were badly shaken by the result. We decided to wait on announcing my pregnancy until an amniocentesis at 15 weeks showed that the baby was normal. But when the time came, the doctor, who is a very cautious person (which I appreciate!), decided it was too risky to perform the procedure and postponed it a week. The next week she postponed it again.

At last the procedure was done at 18 weeks. Two days later my genetic counselor called to inform me the baby was developing normally. I surprised myself and her by feeling and showing little emotion on the phone. I was still cold when I passed the good word to Adam.

Only when I sat down and finally wrote a long-delayed group email announcing my pregnancy to my old high school friends did I break down crying for joy and relief. I realized this was the moment I had been waiting for—the chance to finally share my happiness with the people who support me—including you. It’s strange but telling that it wasn’t actually hearing everything was okay that let me release the fear and anxiety about the wellbeing of my child that I had endured during the preceding few weeks. It was finally being able to share with others the news that, yes, I am going to be a mother!

I am very fortunate to be part of a community that cares about me as a runner and as a person. On one level I don’t get it, because it’s me, but on another I do, because I’ve been a fan of certain other runners since I was in high school. That support matters a lot to me, so much that whenever I race, I race for more than just myself; I also race very consciously for the people who support me.

So it was hard for me to hold back the news of my pregnancy from you, and I just want to say that it was not because I didn’t respect your interest in me. Quite the opposite; I couldn’t wait to tell you, and I’m so glad it’s out there now.

I promise many timely future updates on my path into motherhood!

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