Hello to all my fellow poling parents! Mothers, Fathers and everyone inbetween.
My name is Abby and I’m here today to talk about life in the pole world after Mr.Stork has paid a visit. Between nappy changes, heel classes, sleepless nights, routine prep, baby yoga, pole conditioning and express feeding there’s really not much more to life for the post-baby poler.
Or is there?
So about me..I’m a Midlands girl born and bred but now reside in the tranquility of the rural North East. I’ve been a pole dancer on and off since 2012 and I’ve been a Mommy to one beautiful boy since December 2015.
Both pole and motherhood have had HUGE effects on me, as a person.
Here’s my story.
PREGNANCY AND POLE
I honestly believe pole lead me to becoming a mother. It gave me the confidence I lost all those years ago. Pre-pole I could barely look after myself let alone anyone else. Pole taught me so many life lessons in self-confidence and self-love that come early 2015 when I found out I was pregnant I was able to say “Yeah I got this!” without a shadow of doubt.
Thankfully my pregnancy was pretty straightforward, the only problem I had was that I was advised to “go on maternity leave” from pole after a dicey lesson 12 weeks into the pregnancy. This broke my heart. Pole was pretty much my life and suddenly something else had taken the number 1 top spot. Yes I was being selfish and for a second I resented the bean growing inside me. I’m not ashamed to admit that now.
Anyway, months passed and I attended plenty of pole shows with pole friends and enjoyed other people’s achievements and ventures (bump in tow), but the burning desire inside to touch the chrome never subsided and I found myself counting down the days to my due date. Excited not only to see my son, but also to continue on my pole adventure.
BABY BLUES AND PERPETUAL SELF DOUBT
I know I suffered from Postnatal Depression. I can say that to myself now, at the time I was in denial. One of the biggest battles for me as a new parent was self image. Sometimes I would find myself awake at 4am amidst the night feeds scrolling through Facebook, ogling pole pictures and videos until I felt sick inside. At that moment I felt like I’d never pole again and that the community had forgotten all about me.
She has a baby now, pole isn’t important to her anymore.
That’s what I kept telling myself, I was convinced that this is what people were saying about me. It became a very unhealthy way of thinking. Baring in mind, at this time I may have only given birth a few weeks prior. I was already setting myself ridiculous goals. I was itching to train, especially given that I had a competition planned for 6 months post-baby.
“I’ll never get my Ayesha back!”
“My abdominals will never be the same!”
“What about my stretch marks?”
“Everyone will notice my mum-tum!”
These thoughts circled through my mind every single day. To this day I have no idea how my other half put up with me in those weeks leading up to postnatal check up.
GETTING BACK ON THE CHROME HORSE
I feel the pole world is a very inclusive and accepting community but at times it’s easy as a mother to feel “a little out the loop” when you see your #polefam arranging weekends away for a ‘pole jam’ or booking onto endless workshops without hesitation. I don’t blame them – that was me pre-baby! Oh, how things have changed!
Unfortunately as a parent, so much more has to be taken into consideration. Although I never resent my child, it’s in no way his fault. Sometimes I wish I could have the best of both worlds.
And then I have to think again: Maybe I do have the best of both worlds? I’m enjoying my life as a pole dancer and as a mother. What more could I possibly ask for?
(A world title maybe..World Peace?)
I can’t pinpoint exactly when my attitude changed.
Maybe it was stalking Cleo, Lux ATL and other post natal polers on Instagram or just simply opening my eyes to real world.
I have a child who is healthy and happy. I have my health. I have a hobby that I adore!
Pole is part of who I am and that will never leave me. Pole will ALWAYS be there. I’m a kick-ass Mother too. A kick-ass Mother who loves 8 inch heels and life upside down.
And I realised I wasn’t the only one.
With help from my Instructors at the Heart and Soul Pole Fitness Academy and also the lovely Kara Owen with her amazing post-natal workout programme I was back on the chrome. [Sally-Ann Giles Heart and Soul Pole Fitness Academy] [Opal Dance Studios Wigan]
And yes I competed! In June 2016 I competed in the Authentics Pole Competition in the Semi-Pro category and had an absolute whale of a time!! I didn’t place but I didn’t punish myself for not doing so. I had come so far and at 6 months postpartum I was hella proud of myself and at the risk of sounding incredibly cliche’ – as long as you’re having fun that’s all that really matters, right? Here’s to the Authentics 2017 and many more Yummy Mummy adventures.
So, to wrap things up, here are my helpful tips for all those soon-to-be mums, pregnant polers, and baby mommas.
MY TOP TIPS FOR THE POST NATAL POLER:
- Set realistic goals. Yeah, you may have been doing a rainbow marchenko pre-baby but that isn’t going to happen as soon as you’ve popped the little one out. It takes 9 months to grow a baby – It may take another 9 months for your body to bounce back. I basically started from beginners level and built myself back up! (I’m still not 100% back to where I was pre-baby and Dex is now 14 months old!)
- Embrace SELF LOVE. Love your post natal body. Easier said than done but in time you will learn to love every mark, scar, bump and lump. You are a MILF! Follow the @bodyposipanda on Instagram for some amazing body posi posts.
- Don’t rush into anything. You have to take it easy and enjoy motherhood. Especially the early days. My biggest regret is spending all that time worrying about getting back to pole when really I should have been focusing on relaxing between the moments of baby madness – Also you DO NOT want to risk injury. A lot of precautions come with poling after having a baby.
- Talk to someone. Whether it be your partner, parent or even your pole instructor! (Mine was super supportive) Tell them your thoughts, your worries. You’ve just had a baby! People aren’t going to expect the world of you. Don’t let the thoughts in your head get the better of you. For more help and advice on Postnatal Depression visit: mind.org.uk
- Do your research. Google baby friendly pole classes in your area. So many schools offer “Parents who Pole” classes where you can take your little one to class with you. You’ll make new friends and have so much in common with the other students. Most are breastfeeding friendly too! Also take time to look into post natal exercises to help strengthen your core. Remember you must get signed off by your doctor before engaging in any forms of ‘exercise’ – especially after a C section. Kara Owen offers a great class at her school in Wigan (linked above!).
- MOST IMPORTANTLY – Remember: You’re not alone! And don’t ever allow yourself to feel that way. Social media can be damaging sometimes but it can also be very insightful. You’d be suprised at just how many pole mommas are out there who were all in the same boat. Check out [Pole Mamas, mini-me’s & bump to be’s (pole mommies)] on Facebook- Why don’t you share your story too?
Thanks for reading! Stay classy. (or just downright filthy!)
Share and you could help another post natal poler 💖
Abby is 27 and currently lives in Alnwick, Northumberland. A black country bird at heart, she began poling back in 2012 (not a heel in sight). She claims pole to be her ‘savior’ during her battle with severe depression. Since then she has gone on to teach beginners pole with the help of her tutor Sally-ann Giles. “Teaching is definitely my life purpose, I’ll happily compete and perform but I know teaching will always be my true passion. Inspiring others through teaching.. That’s what I want to do. Pole saved me and I know it can save others.”
Abby is also the proud owner of a title. That title being ‘Pole2pole Amateur Champion 2013’ “It’s my only title at the moment but one I am extremely proud of. I worked my arse off for that trophy.” She plans to compete more in the near future including the Authentics 2017 competition and the LucyPole Cup.
Abby is a proud self harm survivor and is happy to fly the flag for mental health awareness. “I want to help end the stigma. Mental health awareness is so important to me. I’m not scared to talk about my battles anymore. Pole saved me when I was at rock bottom and becoming a Mother made me the person I am today. I really am stronger than ever! In more ways than one.”
When in her hometown of Wolverhampton, Abby trains with her tutor Sally-ann at Heart and Soul Pole fitness academy.
She also enjoys listening to audiobooks in her spare time.
Facebook: Bee-Lou Belle Pole