How to explain childbirth to your football-mad partner.

“But what did it really ‘feel’ like?” asked my husband, innocently enough, not long after we had decided our family was perfectly complete.

So I launched into the whole pushing a watermelon out a tiny hole scenario and watched as his eyes glazed over and he slowly picked the remote control up.

Perhaps this is what I should have said…

It began with the intense desire to focus on our own game plan. Our decision to try to become parents. According to the baby books, we really needed to go hard at the ball. Visualise it; own it…imagine ourselves at the final siren with our baby in our arms. But for us, the beginning of the season was inconsistent. We were still familiarising ourselves with new strategies and we were unfortunately not effective with our disposals. It’s not that we didn’t play well; it’s just that we didn’t execute. For a few short stretches however, it seemed that finals really could be a possibility in our first season, but we were getting ahead of ourselves.  Sadly, we were forced to watch on as other teams pushed past us to victory.

But finally….BAAAALLLLL!!!!

The following season saw us hit the field with a positive result and we were eyeing those finals with a hefty degree of both excitement and fear. I accepted my role as Most Valuable Player at this point, and milked my moment in the spotlight. As I focused intently on the Premiership Medal, I also ensured that I was taking it all one week at a time. This game was full of risk and injury and the terrifying element of the unknown. Where would we be standing at the final siren? As the season progressed, I began to build depth and my team mate was able to step up when needed. At times I was sluggish and off my game, and was guilty of flying under the radar. It was proving to be a long season.

As we progressed to the business end, I began to feel a huge pressure in the midfield. Grand Final time was suddenly upon us. The day we had been dreaming about for so long was here, and I was beginning to feel that I was not worthy of a spot. I was happy to sit this one out on the bench and roll with the Ref’s decision as to how to proceed. But time kept ticking past, and as the pressure intensified all I wanted to do was HANDBALL, HANDBALL, HANDBALL! Our season was on the line. It was a must win game. I pulled my socks up and went hard at the ball. It seems I had turned up to play that day. After an agonising, physically draining attack, I was centimetre perfect. With the siren only moments away, I was down a point and just needed to push through like I had never pushed before. The crowd got behind us and begged us to kick straight. I had no choice but to put my chin down and fight for that victory like I had never fought before. 

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GOAL!!!!!!!

The siren sounded. It was a beautiful, loud wail.

It was the most incredible day of my life. 

We grasped our trophy in our arms and sobbed tears of joy and exhaustion. We wrapped our arms around each other, and knew that no other being could ever know this intense feeling of kinship and belonging. We would celebrate this day for years to come. We would wear the battle scars with pride and tell the stories to our children. Before long, we would be putting that season behind us with claims that we were only as good as our last win, and have another go at the premiership; another shining trophy.

What a big few years it has been. 

Our decision to retire was solid, but it was definitely the right time. We are incredibly lucky to have experienced such achievements and I have reached such incredible heights that I never imagined possible. I will cherish these moments with every ounce of my being. But for now, it is time for us to hang up our boots.

Wait up...did I just see...hang on...was that perhaps a little tear in the eye there, Husband?

So lucky to have you on my team.

Watch MM Confessions: The things we aren't told about giving birth.

Images via iStock.

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