Our friend and Sentinel, Margarita Barrachina, tells us about the meaning of Surfing to her during her pregnancy.
Being in the water has always given me tons of positive sensations,
making me evade any negative thoughts, feeling closer to nature and just focusing on the moment I’m living.
It has been very special for me having surfed during my pregnancies. Catching a wave whilst having one of the most important people in my life inside my tummy is one of the most regarding feelings I’ve ever had. I think about the times when I'll be telling my sons when they are older, that the first waves they rode were inside “mummy’s” tummy.
Before being pregnant, I couldn’t imagine myself not surfing for almost 11 months, between pregnancy and postpartum periods, but I knew that sooner or later I would have to stop and take care of myself and the baby.
Some people might think it’s a bit risky or irresponsible to surf during a pregnancy, but I was sure that I had to listen to myself and quit surfing when I stopped feeling confident in the water. As my gynecologist said, “don´t try any new sports, just do whatever makes you feel comfortable”.
In the water I feel freer and fitter. It helped me to keep my nauseas, fears and pregnancy aches away, so it made my pregnancies easier to handle. Of course there are risks, even though you might feel confident with your surfing, there are always external factors that you have to take into account, such as rough conditions, crowded areas, people learning to surf or doing incorrect things, strange behaviour, etc. But then is when you have to take care and chose the correct days to go down the line and look for mellow waves, quiet surf areas and always keeping away from inexperienced people.
Surfing with a considerably sized belly is, of course, more demanding than doing it under “normal” conditions, but it’s so fulfilling and gratifying that it’s worth doing. I normally knee paddle in between sets, although I found it quite uncomfortable because I have knee problems and with thick wetsuits, it’s also hard for my blood circulation.
When taking a wave I prone-paddle but I put my weight in between my chest and knees, so I avoid the pressure on my belly.
At the moment I’m seven months pregnant and although my last double-surf session a month ago was really good, I thought it was about time to stop surfing and continue with my swimming and adapted training sessions to stay active and of course, something that is even more physically demanding, taking care of my very active 20 month old son, Elliott.
Maybe if I lived in a warmer area like Hawaii or Costa Rica, I would have carried on surfing a bit longer. Here in the north of Spain the water temperature drops in autumn and my wetsuits don’t fit anymore. Cold morning sessions made it easier for me to decide whether to quit or not.
It depends on how my labour goes, but I hope to be back in the water a month and a half after the baby’s birth, as I did with Elliott. There will be short sessions in between breastfeeding as then you care more about the little person you have left on the beach and not so much about the waves you can catch, but you also need time to bring yourself back to your lifestyle, a necessity to avoid losing your individuality. Time for yourself.