Gidget Isabelle gave birth to a mini gidget a couple of months ago. And the lovely Isabelle kindly shared her experience as a pregnant Gidget and how to enjoy the water when it gets bumpy :-)
Over to Isabelle on surfing during pregnancy and post birth:
I’ve just got my surfing stoke back on after about a 7-month hiatus (kind-of). As I’ve gone through this very womanly journey of pregnancy, birth & beyond, there have been a few tips, discoveries & lessons which I would love to share with other surfing ladies…
How to keep a Gidget happy during pregnancy
As pregnancy develops, and the little bean starts to take more and more of your body space, there are a few challenges for us surfers who by definition must lie on our bellies to do our sport. And the belly is not the only one, that makes it tricky to lie on the board but hurting boobs might also pose a challenge as well as that ‘fun’ little chemical/hormone called ‘relaxin’ that makes all your ligaments get lose…Not a great combo for your favourite water activity that is surfing. And of course, it is very much an individual choice as to how far into the pregnancy to stay on the surfboard, but sooner or later there comes a time to pack the board away for a little while at least.
Luckily, there are other ways to have fun in the water:
A good set of fins will place you in a similar position in the water – out the back in the line-up where you’re used to hanging out, and let you keep catching waves until very late in your pregnancy. Even if you’re not catching waves, you can still otter (you start to feel very much like a seal or a sea-otter) about to get your fix of froth!
A hand plane
In addition to the fins, a hand plane can be a fun way to keep playing in the waves. I found it did keep me higher in the water which is kind of good to start with but after a while there was too much water pressure on the belly to keep going with the hand-plane.
It was a pleasant surprise to discover that mens wetsuits are rather generous in the belly – which suits a heavily pregnant frame decently enough (and obviously works well for beer guts too!).
Post birth – a few surprises
Once the little one was born, I realised you can’t quite pick up where you’ve left off for a few reasons…
6 more weeks
After giving birth, you are not allowed in the water for 6weeks minimum!!! Whilst there are obviously variables depending on your birth story, the basic fact is that irrespective of any ‘exit wounds’, the cervix which was closed, has now opened (wide!) and it takes a fair chunk of time for it to contract back down again.
Funny stomach muscles
The stomach muscles separate. As part of the pregnancy the abdominal muscles separate, and the smaller muscles underneath stretch to make room for the baby (this is very much a lay-mans description of this!). It is really important that these smaller muscles then rebuild, before you get too excited on strengthening up the abs again…so more reasons why we need to stay off the surfboards for a while after!!!
Finding a babysitter!
Whilst the early weeks are different for everyone, based on the above, they are not a good time for us girls to get back in the water anyway (as much as we wish we could!). But then, once we get the green light, you turn around and realise that there’s no-one else to take care of the bub whilst you surf, as dad has long gone back to work! My suggestion is to be a bit strategic about the timing of this, and try & get dad to separate his leave so that you’ve got a week with him around when you’re ready to venture back into the water. The other thing to do is to start building your network of surfing mums, so that you can surf on rotation, rather than be left frothing on the shore during the day when the line-up is empty & everyone else is at work!!!
These are some thoughts from my adventure so far and I hope it helps Gidgets enjoy the waves during this special time in their lives.
Thanks so much Bella for sharing this with us. Just as a note for Gidgets, if you are looking for hand planes and fins, check out WAW hand planes. Recycled wooden hand planes and super dooper swim fins.