I wanted a baby for years and it didn’t happen. Part of my coping mechanism and dealing with infertility was to pole dance. It became a bit of a sanctuary that was just for me to feel joy, to feel pain, to be sexy, to feel strong, which I had never felt before. When I finally became pregnant I made the decision to not continue poling during my pregnancy. Part of this decision was made out of fear. Fear of what would happen, because it had taken so long for this to even happen. While I still feel like it was a good decision for me, I lost my sanctuary. I traded it for taking the time to grow a child.
My identity merged with this child in many ways after I stop to pole dancing. It would be a year after my daughter was born before I actually stepped back into a pole studio and started training. I had tried a few times before, but it just never felt right in my body. Pregnancy had been hard on me. Recovery had been even harder. I very much wanted to get back to pole and had made the commitment to myself and to my husband that I would carve out some time to pole dance after becoming a mother. But getting back was still hard. My mind remembered what my body did not. And it was hard to be away from my daughter. This creature that had been so solely dependent on me for life, and I was leaving her.
So often we see images of women recovering from pregnancy quickly. They seem to have energy and the health and physical ability to pop back to their pre-pregnancy look. Yeah, that was so not me. Recovery was hard. Even now, six years later I still feel in recovery. It may sound like I’m making an excuse and even though I’m not dealing with postpartum recovery, having a child that’s so completely depends on you and having that need to be with them it makes focusing on anything else so challenging.
I realize I have been in and out of recovery postpartum for the last several years. I can’t train like I used to nor do I particularly want to My body will always look different than it did before. Recovery from a hard work out feels so different and takes so much longer than it used to. Part of this is age. Another fun conversation to have with somebody who’s been pole dancing for a very long time. But one of our studio values is Grace, having grace for yourself, having grace for your process, having grace for all of the perceived failures you may think you were experiencing. Because recovery is hard and it’s not a straight line. Bouncing back after baby really is a myth. You don’t ever go back. You find path forward.
Image featuring our instructor Dakota Wolfe with Natasha Wang.