If there’s one thing that amazes me it’s how my pals who are both mum’s and pole dancers manage to fit it all in and be the fucking super heroes that they are. I mean, I haven’t got any human babies and Christ almighty fitting pole in around work, looking after my elderly dogs and various other commitments is hard enough – let alone looking after an entire miniature human! To find out just how they manage it, I caught up with some fabulous ladies Alice, Jemma, Heather, Emma, Sandra and Tammi, who are awesome mothers and polers- to talk all about motherhood, pole and everything in between!
1-How long were you poling for before having your baby?
A – I was poling for a year and a half before Livvi was born, but actually I had six months off in that time due to a broken arm incident, so I suppose a year!
J- I had been poling for 16 months before I found out I was pregnant and had to stop.
H- I’ve been poling for four years before I got pregnant.
E- This is giving away how much older I am than everybody else but I’ve been poling for nine years! As long as you don’t deduct the baby breaks.
S – I think I was pole dancing for almost three years before pregnancy – I have no clue!
T -I can’t remember exactly but I think I was polling about two and a half years before I had my little one Valentina.
2-How long a break did you take from pole overall, both when pregnant and after giving birth?
A- I had to stop going to the studio at six weeks pregnant, as I was so sweaty I just couldn’t do anything so had to tell my instructor – who informed me she doesn’t have insurance for pregnant polers so that was that! I did a few sessions on my home pole but very few (not enough to count as a workout really) and I returned to my home pole at three months postpartum so that’s around a year in total I was off!
J- Overall from pregnancy to after giving birth I was off from pole for a total of 14 months. I found out I was pregnant at two weeks and I was meant to perform in a Halloween showcase, so had to tell my instructor I was pregnant to which her insurance also didn’t cover so I had to stop straight away.
H- In total it’ll be a years break. I’ll be going back at three months postpartum.
E- with Finlay (baby number one), I stopped as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I had a miscarriage before him so I really didn’t want to take any risks. Then he got whooping cough and was in hospital for ages so I actually took about 13 months off. I was much more relaxed with Evie. I carried on poling till I was about five months pregnant, then went back when she was about three months old. I think Charlotte Robertson and Karen Gaunt helped me see it was safe to carry on as long as you are fit and healthy (and careful!).
S – My break was short I think, only nine months. I found out really late, and after three months I went back. I’m sure it was less than a year.
T – For my instructor’s insurance reasons I couldn’t continue to pole whilst pregnant and due to complications leading to an emergency c-section I couldn’t return to pole until six months after giving birth, so in total I think I was off just under a year and a half.
3- What did you find most difficult about heading back to pole after having your baby?
A – Staring from scratch for the third time. Getting the initial strength back was tough as I was a solid three stone heavier than when I became pregnant, so a lot heavier to haul about!
J- I was more scared I wouldn’t feel sexy enough to get back into pole. I was very self conscious to start with and also thought I would have no strength to even climb the pole let alone do spins/tricks.
H- I’m very worried about the amount of core strength that I’ve lost and that it will take me longer to gain the strength back, especially as I was an advanced poler before I got pregnant. Also the jelly belly! It’s so wobbly and covered in stretch marks- definitely not looking as flat as before. Oh, of course – the massive lack of control over my bladder, I’m sure they’ll be some leakage as I attempt those seated climbs! The fact that I’m breastfeeding, so it’s not at all uncommon to end up with massive wet patches of leaked breast milk on 99% of my outfits… so that’ll be interesting. Maybe I’ll avoid the direct contact moves between boob and pole! Oh, and that I probably can’t fit into any of my existing pole wear! So, due the shopping spree… with no money! Attempting to find the funds to pay for the classes – it’s not the cheapest hobby, and tying to live off SMP [which is peanuts] with all the same bills and outgoings as before is certainly a challenge! Especially when I don’t qualify for any additional help from the Government [but that’s a whole other issue!] So I’ll be lucky if I can manage to go back to one class a week, and maybe a practice session if I’m lucky!
E- For me, it’s hard to accept that my body has gone through a massive physical change. I mean, I grew two tiny humans in between my abs! However, its difficult to remember that when you left pole at a certain level, then you go back to class and your friends have overtaken you and are doing moves you can now only dream of. I’ve never been a bendy bitch, but I used to be proud of my strength. Not only that, it’s the external appearance of your body. I got away with a lot during my pregnancy with Finlay, I was all out front, no stretch marks etc. But with Evie, I carried all around and now my tummy looks like a road map! People say, be proud, they are your tiger stripes etc. but I’d still rather not have them! Especially when you get home and your husband is still as gorgeous as he ever was (maybe a bit greyer but hey, that’s so sexy on men, right?!) I have to keep myself in check sometimes and remember it’s my journey, and not to compare myself to all the babes on Insta.
S – Oh my God! The fact that you have to start all over again ‘cause you’re weak, with extra weight and your abs gone (some abdominal muscles separated) is weird!
T – Two major things for me; one of which was my lack of core strength to do basic things that I’ve been battling with ever since! Trying to build your abs back up after they’ve been stretched during pregnancy and then completely sliced apart as-well is a big struggle for me physically and emotionally. The frustration at myself for not being able to do things I used to love to do as well as things I used to find easy.
The second is after having a baby I did and am still really struggling with my self confidence and body image. I’m very body conscious and I actually hate looking at myself in the mirror now. Going from being nice a slim and really happy and confident in my body and feeling sexy to how I feel and look now is a big change and it’s one I’m still not used to now over a year later. I don’t feel sexy any more and I don’t feel confident and that’s something I’m working on but it’s a slow road to loving myself again.
4-How do you find the time to pole and look after your little one? What’s the best way to find the balance?
A- Once I came back to the studio (six months postpartum as I had a C – section) I made a commitment to go once a week, my husband got to have evenings with Livvi which was nice for him. Now she is older and has longer naps I get extra sessions in when she sleeps! When she was smaller and just lay there I did some too, but that doesn’t last long! It’s best to identify your natural down time and chose to use it, rather than forcing a session.
J- I guess I’m quite lucky in that sense that I’m not with my daughters father, so he happily has her for me so I can go to my pole classes as he knows it means a lot to me.
H- I’ve not gone back to class yet as I’m pretty much in a dazed state of tired all the time now – but I love pole so much, that’ll help keep my motivation going, even if I’ve only had three hours sleep! Also luckily my husband is around in the evenings to look after Travis. I think it’ll give my mental health some good as well, as much as I love Travis, I can’t spend the next 18 years with him 24/7! I need a vice to escape.
E – Now that’s the golden question! I’m lucky enough to be on maternity leave at the moment and that Anna from Maya Dance and Fitness set up the Maya mummies class for us pole mums to attend with our kids in tow. God knows what I’m going to do when I go back to work, especially as my son starts school in September so I can’t even let him go to nanny’s for a sleepover, but I will cross that bridge and make it work because I have to! I think you just need to put it in the calendar and treat it as part of your weekly routine. We aren’t just mums that sit at home and run round after our kids after all! The housework can wait!
S – For me it’s a bit tricky ‘cause I don’t have immediate family, and my partner is working as flight attendant which means I need to be really smart in the way I plan my classes. Gabriel is an easy going baby which makes things easier too. It’s a lot of previous conversations with my partner and it’s possible to find a way, it’s hard but not impossible.
T – It’s tough before having a baby I could train when I wanted to and had all the energy I needed. I currently pole on a Monday night and a Thursday daytime and try to get one other practice session in at the weekend but that doesn’t always happen. I’m also really lucky that Zach (my partner) supports my wanting to work at getting my strength back so he looks after her on a Monday night and if I go at the weekend. On a Thursday I also go to Maya Mummy’s pole class to get extra time in without needing childcare. Although I might not get quite so much done ,(children are very distracting and never want to let you do your own thing) it’s better then not doing it at all.
I think I’ve found a good balance. Any more training and it would be too much really to ask of others for looking after her, and I would probably be too tired!
5-I think you ladies are fab role models to your kids-as you’re showing them how important it is to have your own identity and hobbies. Do you feel the same way?
A – Yes. Mamma is a strong-ass independent woman with her own life and hobby that is nothing to do with men or male (or female) validation, something unapologetically all her own. She will be raised this way!
J – I agree very much on this as it shows them we can do and be whoever we want to be as well as being a mother – that isn’t our only identity.
H- I’m excited to show Travis how badass his mummy is! Just because I’ve now become a mum, there’s no need to stop being the person I was – all the same interests and hobbies are still there, be that pole, or being plastered in tattoos and having awesomely coloured hair! I don’t need to just identity as being a mummy, even though it is amazing!
E- I am proud that I manage to do both. I can only hope that my kids will grow up to be proud of me. And if either or both of them are inspired to stick with pole or another hobby because of that, that’s the biggest mum win ever!
S – No, not at all, I didn’t think in that way. I decide to go back to pole cause I needed some “me” time, it would be the only place I would be Sandra and not the mom – but if my son see me as role model,he better do it LOL!
T – Yes I totally feel the same way, this is me and this is my hobby that brings me happiness! Everyone needs their own little vice and interests for their own sanity and my sanity and mental health definitely need pole. Yes I am a mum but no I am not just a mum and that’s not my only job and I hate when people brand mums like that. I am a mum, a fiancé, I am a small business owner and I am also a Pole Dancer and nothing/ nobody is going to say otherwise.
6-Has your little one ever seen you on the pole and if so how did they react to seeing Mummy spinning around in the air?
A – Livvi likes watching me doing spins but gets upset if I invert, I think she worries for me! So at the moment I don’t really train in front of her.
J- Yes, Adaline has seen me on the pole at class and at home. She can go from being totally amazed and staring, to laughing then crawling over to join in.
H- He’s not seen me in action yet and I’m sure he’s still too little to know what I’m actually doing – but give it time and I’ll be showing him all sorts of cool moves!
E – Evie sees me every Thursday but still just sits there like a little potato! I used to have a pole at home (it’s now been sold to make way for Evie – the sacrifice!) and Finlay used to have a go and play peekaboo either side of it. It was difficult to train while he was awake though because it was in my box room and I didn’t want to decapitate him with my Pleasers!
S – Gabriel has never seen me on the pole, but I’m always doing flexibility at home, handstands… and his natural reaction is to copy mummy, this baby has some skills!
T – Yes Valentina comes to a class with me on a Thursday morning most of the time she plays with her toys and happily occupies herself but sometimes she gets upset if I’m not paying her attention. She doesn’t seem to mind it so much any more now she’s older and more mobile.
7-What exercises did you try during pregnancy or afterwards (if you had a spare two minutes!) to help ease you back into pole?
A- During pregnancy I did sweet fuck all exercise, I was too tired and grumpy! After I had given birth and when I was ready, I just went back to beginner level, basic conditioning.
J- Both during and after pregnancy I kept up my exercise routine as much as I could, as I also do Boxing and Body Building so I think that helped a lot with the strength side of getting back into pole.
H- I kept up my cardio at the gym for a while, and when I got too whale sized I switched to swimming, which I did up until I was 38 weeks pregnant. And I walked what seemed a billion steps a day to try and get him out! Since he’s been born, I’ve gone back to the gym – mainly to do cardio based stuff, but have started to build up my core with some basic exercises.
E – So I am a fitness instructor and carried on teaching my spin classes until four weeks before my due date. I also did Pilates and Pregnancy Yoga throughout my whole first pregnancy, and on the odd occasion when I had the time and wasn’t throwing up, during my second! I also found some workouts on Instagram that focused on deep breathing and sucking your core in, which also helped me engage with my core afterwards. I was really conscious of Diastasis after I had Evie so just focused on holding my core nice and strong in everything I did for a couple of weeks. It’s important not to do anything that causes your stomach to make a dome shape till you’re confident your abs have joined back together.
S – I’m now doing a long break from pole classes, so I try to save 15 to 30 minutes to workouts that would help me lose some weight and get my abs more toned and some flexibility too. There is plenty of space in the living room for both baby Gabriel and me!
T – So throughout the pregnancy although I wasn’t polling I was continuing with one personal training session once a week for the whole pregnancy up until 37 weeks, at this point my Personal Trainer said he wouldn’t train me any more. I gave birth to Valentina at 41 weeks. Due to her being an emergency c-section I couldn’t do much after for a while as I couldn’t even sit myself up in bed on my own – I had to roll out! I did my first post baby workout at ten weeks and then continued to try and do small workouts until I returned to pole.
8-Do you have any plans to send your little one to kids Pole one day?
A- If Livvi wants to go to classes then 100% she will go. Same with gymnastics etc.
J- Oh yes most definitely, if she wants to anyway which I’m sure she will as she likes to stand up and dance around my pole at home as it is. Despite her dad not approving but he approved of me doing it, after all that’s what caught his attention and thus we now have a daughter together!
H- Absolutely! We’re gonna train and run away with the circus one day!
E – I’d love them to! It’s such a fun and effective way of exercising. Obviously I won’t be sending them to a Twerk class (although my son can Twerk better than me!) but anything that gets them off kids you tube and moving their little butts is a good thing!
S – No, he can do whatever makes him feel happy, the same way pole makes me feel. Whether it is doing pole dance, playing guitar, eating boiled eggs, it doesn’t matter as long as he’s happy.
T – I will support whatever hobbies she wants to do, if it’s pole then great ! Of course and if it’s anything else then yes of course. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes and she might have the same interests as me or she might have her own.
9-How did you feel about taking a break from Pole for your pregnancy and to look after your baby?
A – Initially I was really upset to lose pole but the further the pregnancy progressed the less it mattered!
J- I was upset to start with as I was preparing for a Halloween showcase that I really wanted to perform in, and I was almost ready to move up to Intermediate class, but I was also really excited as I was previously told by medical professions that I couldn’t have children, so it was a massive surprise/shock but also dream come true to find out I was pregnant and knew pole would be waiting for me after I had the baby.
H- I was very sad to take the break. I went from poling at least three times a week, to nothing. It did take it’s toll on me a bit more than I care to admit and I ended up a bit of a hermit really. I had to make a real effort to go out and find something that I was allowed to do – which wasn’t much as the list of things you aren’t allowed to do while pregnant is endless! I could have continued to pole at home, but I didn’t want to risk it!
E – Second time was harder for me because I had just started to compete in smaller competitions (semi successfully!) In fact, I was pregnant for Evie when I came second in the English Riviera Pole Championships (unbeknown to me I might add!) but I always knew I was going to have a second so it was going to happen at some point. I would’ve just maybe liked to have done a competition that didn’t result in me losing all my grip while I still had some strength! Now I have to try and build that back up on an average of four hours of sleep a night.
S – Taking a break felt like a punishment to me – for real! But taking care of Gabriel is the most delicious experience ever.
T – It was tough to stop. It felt like some part of me was missing, obviously it was an exciting time of my life and sometimes pole does need to take a back seat for a period of time for important life events . It was there for me when I got back to it. I do feel like my mental health did take a big knock from not polling if I’m honest. I did struggle. I’m not always 100% even now as motherhood has been the single most hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
10-Lastly, what’s the best thing about being a Mummy and a pole dancer?
A- I love shocking people that you can be both, love keeping my identity and sense of femininity and generally being a bad ass!
J- The best thing about being a mother and a pole dancer is that I’ve proven to myself that I can still have my own identity and also show my daughter that she to can be whoever she wants to be when she grows up, there are no limits to our identities. And just being a badass mumma that’s super strong, sexy and confident in my own body will teach her to be the same within her own body. There are no limitations.
H- I love that I can be a mummy – which includes the cheesy singing of nursery rhymes, lying on the playmate in the living room chatting away with Travis, just staring at him as he’s the bloody cutest. But at the same time, when I’m back in the studio I can be the same person, but roll round the floor in 8inch heels and eventually busting out an Ayesha again!
E- I think the best thing about being a mum and a pole dancer, is knowing that you could kick the asses of anybody who gave your babies shit! Not to mention, lifting a 3 stone toddler out of the car every day does help you get your guns back.
S – I have been away (from pole) for many months now, so I’m not sure if I’m still a poler, so I’ll leave the best thing as mother… knowing that you’re capable of everything!
T –The best thing is that now my life is complete! I have my lovely little family and we have the best time. I wouldn’t change it for the world! Valentina brightens up my days, but of course you do get shit ones too. But for the most part I love being mum and I am amazed at how she is growing into a proper little person. And the best part is I can still pole – I have the best of both worlds now.
Bonus question- How are you finding motherhood?
A – I adore being a mum, Livvi is the coolest kid and she brings me so much joy every day. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done but its also been the easiest. It’s brought my husband and I closer and has completed us as a family!
J- Motherhood is hard, being a baby is hard, being human is hard. We aren’t perfect, no one is, but to our children we are perfect. No matter how much of a bad day your having, a smile, a laugh, a touch from your child can make all the badness of your day go away, even for just a moment. But in that moment is the most precious time and why we keep on going. Becoming a mother is the best thing I have ever done in my entire life. But oh god I forgot about the breastfeeding! I leak quite a lot so wear breast pads constantly and have to adjust them during a Pole class and hold my boobs a lot cause they hurt and I’ve had my breast pad fall out whilst doing a cross knee release in class and leaked a fair few times too.
I hope it influences other mums to take up pole or anything they’ve been wanting to try as I feel people think when they become a mum that’s it, that’s their only identity and their being selfish if they want to spend time away from their kids.
H- Without a doubt this is the toughest time of my life, but then I look at his smile and it was 100% worth it. And I love that I can spend my days hanging out with this tiny little human that I created and grew, and eventually see him turn into this badass little boy!
E – I love being a mum. I have always been quite maternal and if it weren’t for my husband getting in the way, I’d have two more! Yes, I feel like running away and hiding sometimes, but I’d only last two minutes before wanting to run home and tickle those little tummies again. They are worth the stretch marks!
S – I think I’m still learning how to deal with it. Taking care was and is so easy to me that have been trying to give 100% on everything and I forgot about myself. I realise I was with depression so I just didn’t care about myself. I think it was the way I got pregnant and the way I found out I didn’t have time to process a pregnancy and all the as it should, so on my back I had this pressure (created by myself) that I have to give everything and more to this kid, forgetting that I need to look after me too. I think the worst about pregnancy and motherhood is the unsolicited opinions about everything! About our bodies, the way we eat, the way we don’t eat, the way we take of our kids and so many other things that everybody as to say, for me that was the hardest. Not having family here is another thing. Overall motherhood is not all pink and flowers, you’ll have horrible poo explosions, you’ll nights with a baby crying cause teething, crying just because he has something up that you can’t identify, you’ll smell of milk for while. It’s hard, I’m not gonna lie, if you think you’re are an adult try to become a parent. But it is rewarding at Christmas when you have chocolates and you can say to your kid, “You can’t eat that, it has coffee and alcohol, not for your age”, see it’s not that bad!