A Mother's Perspective: A Conversation with Emily Hickey-Baird
This year in celebration of Mother’s Day, we’re using our voice to celebrate mothers worldwide. We openly and proudly support all mothers - this includes present, past, stepmothers and of course, mums to be.
We caught up with Emily, a new mother, marathoner and member of our Freetrain Family in support of the day. Emily’s love for running has remained prevalent post-birth, but equally, she recognises that women should not be pressured to ‘get back into shape’ immediately. See what Emily had to say below.
1. We would love to know how you found the motivation to keep fit with all the responsibilities of a newborn. Is there anything in particular that helped you?
Finding the motivation is less hard than finding the time. It’s no secret that babies are time-suckers which can be exhausting. My motivation comes from reminding myself of how good exercise makes me feel and how much of my identity it made up before my little one came along. I spend a lot of time outside walking with the pram which doesn’t take any motivation for me - it’s more the pelvic floor exercises and pilates that require a bit more oomph to get going!
2. How did you keep active during pregnancy?
I did a lot of hiking, gentle runs in my second trimester and swam up until the day before I went into labour. I’d say the best thing to do during pregnancy is keep active up until the very last moment as it will help you get back far quicker. However, ensure it’s in an enjoyable and sustainable way for you.
3. What advice would you give to mothers who are looking to get back on their feet?
Take your time and release your expectations. You are not the same as you were before and your body is different too. Start small and take your time. I’d also highly recommend getting a women’s health physio to do a full postnatal check and work with you to create a timeline that’s safe, realistic and gives you something to work towards.
4. Did you face any challenges once you returned to exercise?
Working with a women’s health physio was hugely beneficial for me as previously I wasn’t sure what state my body was in post-birth and I didn’t know what I needed to do to return safely. I was expecting to be back running sooner than is on my physio plan so holding back and managing my exercise timeline has been mentally tough.
5. Do you have any personal goals you’re hoping to achieve over the next year?
I’ve signed up for the Richmond Marathon in September. It might seem ambitious but with the help and support from my physio, we’ve set up a plan that should help me get there. I will set myself small goals in the lead up to this which not only will hopefully make sure I get to the marathon start line, but also that I have smaller running triumphs along the way to build my confidence back.
6. Lastly, what’s your number one tip for finding yourself again?
Ensure that you have people around you to help with baby care. Whether that’s explaining to a friend what you need from them, asking for family help or having a sit down with your partner to work out how you can have your ‘me’ time, find a way to find time for you. Even just a half an hour walk to get a coffee on my own brings me back to myself and re-centres me.
It’s also important to remember that you’re not the same person you were before and that’s totally fine. Don’t search for the old you, but ensure you work out how to find the new you by allowing yourself time alone and doing what you love.
This Mother’s Day, remember to take care of you and do whatever makes you feel best. Don’t compare yourself to others or overexert yourself physically because it’s what you think you should do. Instead, prioritise your mindset and your body in a way that’s right for you.
Join the Freetrain Family this Mother's Day and follow us over at @freetrainwomen.