Getting Your Groove Back
“As athletes, we are accustomed to being able to control how our bodies perform and how our bodies look; pregnancy is the one time where we need to let go of this control.”
Danelle Kabush never doubted that she would return to some level of training after her pregnancy, but was not sure if, and when, she would be motivated to resume competing. This changed when she was offered a contract with the Luna Pro Team a month after giving birth and was soon back in racing shape.
“I viewed the sponsorship with Luna as an amazing opportunity to resume training and competing as quickly as I could but within reason. I follow the philosophy that if I stop being motivated, if I’m not having fun competing, and if it is not working for my family, then it is time to stop,” she explains. Although Kabush’s story may not apply to most women, it speaks to the notion that getting back into training and racing postpartum is not just a matter of physical readiness, it is also about motivation and finding out what works for her and her family.
For Tara Norton, making it work means sitting down with her husband every week and planning her workouts around her child’s activities and her husband’s work commitments. For Belinda Bain, who manages to train at least 10 hours a week on top of working full-time as a lawyer and raising two kids, it means focusing on the things that matter most ( like spending time together as a family after her morning workouts), and letting go of some of the more mundane activities. “When people ask how we manage to
accomplish household chores on top of my training, we say that one third gets done by my husband, one third gets done by me and the last third just does not get done,” Bain jokes. Chisholm, who needs to be creative when trying to log a high volume of training ( both she and her husband are firefighters and work shifts), finds ways to involve her family in her training.
Kabush also acknowledges the value of an understanding coach and an amazing support network (comprised of her husband, parents, in- laws and babysitters) that enables her to perform her workouts during the day while allowing for family time in the evenings.
Underlying a woman’s ability to resume training, however, is the assumption that she has patiently waited until her body is ready to withstand the stresses of training on a regular basis again. The body continues to experience physical and hormonal changes in the weeks and months after giving birth, including a weak pelvic f loor, abdominal muscles or pelvic instability, which often get overlooked and over time can lead to greater problems down the road. These can often be prevented by having a thorough head- to- toe assessment by a qualified sports therapist. Similarly, an osteopath can help to release physical strain, restore normal body mechanics and re- establish balance among the body’s systems.