Happy Mother’s Day!

To all the inspirational Scottish Derby Maws (and Maws-to-be!)

So, this is my 9th Mother’s Day (as a mum, obviously – it’s my 37th one as a daughter!), and all I want from today is peace and quiet! And breakfast in bed. And maybe some chocolates.

Being a mum is awesome! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all breakfast in bed, and cards and chocolates. It’s the hardest, most challenging job I’ve ever had – but it’s also the most rewarding. 9 months of sacrificing all the fun stuff you love to do is well worth it – right? Well, I don’t know about that. My first pregnancy was fairly short – 3 months to be exact. I was 26 weeks ‘gone’ with my son before we knew I was pregnant. So during that first vital 6 months of my baby’s development I was blissfully unaware of his existance and was therefore doing all the ‘wrong’ things. Drinking, dancing, cycling, camping, eating tuna, peanuts and soft cheese (not together – boak), and just having fun. If I’d been part of a derby league at that time I would have been skating, and I wouldn’t have been cautious about it, because I had no idea I was pregnant! Pregancy number 2 was quite different. I knew straight away (at about week 5) and although I had living, breathing proof that you don’t need to wrap yourself in cotton wool during pregnancy, I was a wee bit more cautious.

This rather revealing insight into my private life brings me, tenuously, to the point of my Mother’s Day blog – skating during pregnancy! During the 2 years I’ve been involoved in roller derby, all the pregnant skaters I know stopped skating immediately. I’m of the opinion that this is the sensible thing to do – after all, derby is a contact sport and no-one wants to see a pregnant skater get injured. Roller derby is one of those wonderful all-inclusive sports, so there’s no need for pregnant skaters to disappear off the radar for 9 months. There are so many ways to stay involved off-skates that mums-to-be can remain right in the thick of things for the duration of their pregnancy. Bench, Line-Up, committees, baking – you could well wonder how you ever had time to skate pre-pregnancy!

But what about those who want the best of both worlds? It’s well documented that remaining active and fit during pregnancy is a good thing. In fact, the NHS encourages mums to be to keep up their normal physical activies and sports for as long as they’re comfortable. If skating is part of your normal physical activity, then with a bit of caution, is it necessary to stop straightaway?

I recently had a chat about this with Irn Bruzer from Nasty Nessies who is currently 17 weeks pregnant.

Nasty Nessies Chair Irn-BruzerFirst, huge congratulations on your pregnancy! How did your Nasty Nessies team-mates react to the news?

They were all over the moon for me which was great. I was mostly worried about telling Bee-Yatch and Nat-orious Red as we have all been together from the very start and was worried how they would react. They were so happy for me though so made it a happy time 🙂

Have you stopped skating?

I have not stopped skating yet, but I am not on track any more. I am confined to the middle for now. Although I do get a few careful laps in while the others kit up.

Have you done much research into skating (recreationally or derby) while pregnant? If so, has that helped influence any of your decisions regarding on skates or off?

I have spoken to a few other skaters who have become pregnant but they have all stopped straight away  The only person that I know so far who has continued to skate was an American skater. I understand why the others stopped and I understand how people will feel that I have not, but everyone is different. I do not have a time scale when to stop, I think I will know when it comes, but not yet. I’m not trying to prove anything, I just don’t feel that I need to yet. I am not doing any contact or on track, I am not putting anyone in danger and I am very aware of my surroundings. My midwife knows my plans and I was told that starting new exercise routines or sports are not reccomended but just toning down what your body is used to is fine. Well my body is used to skating, and so will my baby hehe.

I know you’re very passionate about Nasty Nessies – how will you be applying that passion to an off-skates role? And what off-skates role (if any) will that be?

For now, I am helping with our fantastic newbies and with coaching. I will take on any role off-skates that I can do in the near future, Hopefully I will bench manage our first bout sometime but time will tell 😉

Have you given any thought to when you’ll return to skates?

I hope to be back on skates as soon as possible, even if its only for five minutes 🙂 I was chatting to one of the girls last night ans we were joking about an active birth on skates! How awesome? I think the hospital may frown about that though!

Do you think you’ll still be able to commit the same time to derby as before?

I hope to be able to commit as much as I can, I mean, babies sleep a lot right? And you can do lots online and via laptop. I don’t think I can plan how much I can do, best to just take it as it comes, but I still plan to be a very familiar face within the team whatever happens.

Have you chatted to any other Scottish “derby-moms” who have recently given birth? If so, have you been given any good advice that you’d like to pass on to others?

I have spoken to a few of the girls from Dundee who have had babies, just really how they have kept committed to the team and went back when they are ready which is good. I expect there have been many pregnancies in derby where the girls have never gone back from some reason or another and I will make sure that doesn’t happen to me. Even if the worst happens and I cannot skate competitively again, I will still be involved somehow, its too much part of my life now to give up.

Do you have any Scottish “derby-mom” heroes? (Skaters with kids, that still find the time to help run a league, train, coach and bout?) What makes them so inspirational?

I think the one that seemed to do the most up until birth and now back on skates is Crown Jules from Dundee. I went to a bout in November and she was Bench Managing while heavily pregnant. Definitely someone to admire.

 I’m aware there may be mixed reactions to my interview but I feel that everyone is different and what works for you and feels right is always best. But each to their own. I would never put myself or my baby in any danger and I don’t feel that being on skates out of everyone’s way is doing that. Also I’m a clumsy oaf, I can get into more harm walking down the stairs! Also I have a very supportive partner and fantastic team! 🙂

Whatever your feelings on skating during pregnancy, there’s no denying Bruzer has really thought this through. And I think that’s the key. Life is a series of risks – some you can control, and others that you can’t. By thinking through the risks you can control and being open and discussing your plans with your league (and your midwife!), then maybe recreational skating is something of a third option. I don’t think anyone would be able to skate for 9 months of a pregnancy – just putting your skates on in the third tri-mester would represent a significant challenge, but in the early days of pregnancy, tentative laps around the track while others are kitting up might be a way to “wind down” your exercise routine.

Next time: I’m looking for skaters who are returning to the track after having a baby. If you’d like to share your story, then please get in touch.

In the meantime – Happy Mother’s Day 🙂 Enjoy the day with the weans, whether they be kids, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, chickens, fish …

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