In honor of Mother’s Day, Iron Doll would like to recognize all of derby moms out there – those who have returned to skating after becoming a mother, and those who continue the challenging task of balancing motherhood with the sport we love, roller derby! This month’s guest blogger is Pippy Longstalker, who recently returned to skating after the birth of her son, Henry.
Giving birth is no joke. All of the derby injuries I have sustained did not prepare me for the pain of a contraction. On August 6, 2015, I gave birth to a baby boy, and just six weeks later, I got the all clear to start exercising and skating again. Unfortunately, any movement more vigorous than walking made me queasy. Finally, at 11 weeks postpartum I felt I could skate again. I had pumped enough breast milk for dad to keep the baby fed until I returned and off I went to an open skate.
The drive in was nerve wracking. Would I remember how to skate? I took my time gearing up. It was just a couple hours of skating around. No blocking, no hitting, just skating. Why was I so nervous? I stepped onto the track and took my first couple of strides. The first crossover felt marvelous. Why had I waited so long to do this? After that, I went to as many open skates and scrimmages as I could. It was ME time.
My pelvic floor muscles slowly began to gain their strength back. I started to have confidence that I wouldn’t pee myself every time I took a hit. I had to make sure to pump milk right before leaving the house, otherwise I’d be worried about leaking. Taking a shoulder to the chest was no longer something to shrug off.
Then, it was time to skate in Jantastic with the My Little Ponies! It was so wonderful to see all my friends from all over the nation. It’s so easy to lose sight of yourself when you spend all day with an infant. It was a different experience, though. Off the track, I had to make sure I was pumping constantly to keep up my supply. We had just started feeding solid foods and I felt like I was missing out on some first moments. It was hard to force myself to be present with my friends and not think about the baby.
On the track, I was completely focused. I had a better grasp of being a supportive teammate. I was just happy to be there, to be part of the team. Of course, my competitive drive wanted us to win and to win big. But, it seemed I had lost that selfishness that had always driven me. I was happy to see the team succeed without having to be part of every play or decision. I felt more grounded than I ever have competing. Who knew having a baby could make roller derby even more fulfilling? Ultimately, roller derby makes me whole, which makes me a better mother.
Pippy Longstalker aka Laura Madson, has skated since 2009 with a number of leagues, including: Dominion Derby Girls in Virginia Beach, Monterey Bay Derby Dames, Jet City Rollergirls and Antagonist Roller Derby in Everett, Washington, as well as SoCal Derby and the My Little Ponies. Pippy hopes to join the DC Rollergirls this fall.