15 April 2016

Pole & Pregnancy

You might be reading this because you go to pole lessons or teach, and have recently found out that you're pregnant, and are wondering if you are allowed to continue your favourite hobby/way of life!

I had my baby boy James in July 2015 after 36 long hours of labour, weighing in at 8 lb 7 Oz, he arrived 10 days late and I ended up with 3rd degree tears (tore me a new one!) and had to go into theatre for stitches! Now that's the gory childbirth stuff over with, the part leading up to it was a surprising, beautiful and sometimes frustrating time for me, I'm not medically trained so this is not a blog to give advice or recommendations, but it is useful to have some info on a subject that is not widely written about, researched or in general talked about much. Because there will always be people that "know it all" and don't understand our obsession with the awesomeness that is pole!

I started pole in summer 2010 and was instantly hooked, I made friends that I'm still in contact with and now we run our own pole & hoop classes! But in November 2014 after almost a year of trying, me and my husband found out (on holiday in Tenerife) we were pregnant with our first child! Over the moon and celebrating with close family and a few close friends, I returned home to my new business to continue teaching my classes and started to worry about what I could (or couldn't) do, after all I had only been set up for 8 months!

I had a great bunch of girls and teaching assistants (who are now certified instructors) looking out for me and telling me to be careful and helping with moves I was unable to do, putting up poles and being my puppets for droppy/back bendy/new stuff. But hanging over my head was the worry of falling behind, losing people because of my capabilities becoming less and less advanced, having classes go quiet after all the hard work I had put in, and getting my strength back wondering how long it would take, the list goes on....

There was also this issue of other people's disapproval (including worried grandparents), and health professionals who I was completely open with (luckily I had an amazing midwife all the way through). 

I came across a very useful article by KT Coates at http://www.verticaldance.com who has written an extensive article on pole and pregnancy which I recommend you to read, but as an instructor that is self employed I couldn't follow all of the advice, so I continued to teach all of the moves that I found easy, up to 3 months I was really tired but thankfully no sickness, 3-5 months was actually better! I had a private lesson with Lorna Walker (MPD UK 2012) in flow to keep my skills and teaching fresh and safe which was refreshing and fab! But after then the weight gain from 5 months, it was more difficult to teach a lot of moves. I completely lost my handspring from 4 months which took me a long time to get (being nearly 6 feet tall is not helpful to some pole moves) and by 31 weeks I had given in to teaching classes and I let my fab girls take over. Although I came to 1 class a week to play and keep myself sane, they are after all my pole family! I could still do an Ayesha from invert at 39 weeks! On a Poleskin of course as I was at less risk of slipping and felt safe. http://www.poleamoruk.eu

So having James 10 days late made it only 12 days before my workshop I had booked with Sally Ann Giles. Lucky it was a sexy workshop with flow not too much up the pole! Amazingly I managed most of it and just left out the things I was not comfortable with, which gave me some confidence in myself. 19 days post birth I was in my first training sesh with one of my teaching assistants Claire (who is now a brilliant instructor), and had a great session! I got a Superman, Jasmine, Flatline Gemini, and handspring, yes my handspring that I lost 5 months ago HOORAH! I was so happy I posted a pic to YKYAPW and got a lot of support from fellow polers. Now I wasn't recommending that would have been right for some people, definitely not! But there's always a moaner trying to put you down and I read some instructors bitching about it! Obviously the 5 years before that gave me great muscle memory and recovery after the mega tears down below remained quick to heal, I was lucky in that respect. 

After 6 weeks I was back teaching again, 5 classes per week and training when I could. Not easy on no sleep believe me! But I did regain some sanity from pole and began my journey to building my strength back! It took about 6 months before I could do everything again. Cupid gave me the most problems in the lady parts due squeezing muscles down there I think! And now 8 months later I'm stronger and lighter than pre pregnancy, with 8 busy pole classes, 2 qualified instructors and 2 teaching assistants. I'm also newly qualified in stretch and hoop from Spin City, and getting ready for summer pole events! http://www.spincitypolefitness.com

So I guess what I'm saying is, if you decide to continue with pole,be open with your pre-natal healthcare professionals, listen to your body, create a good network of support, don't listen to your haters (after all they don't know you and have no idea what they're talking about!) and work sensibly and at your own pace to regain and develop your skills (if you want to) after pregnancy. There is light at the end of the tunnel and your body is an amazing thing! 

Scroll across the pics for pre and post pregnancy pics, and the best baby grow for a pole mama from my lovely students and instructors!