My personal “struggles” with being a Mom and a Pelvic Floor Physio AND having a daughter that loves to tumble and flip!
Where do I begin? A lot of clients I see in the clinic struggle with pelvic floor issues that are caused by “tight” or “over recruited” pelvic floors and cores. There can be many contributors to a tight pelvic floor but the ones I see often are overdoing core or ab work. The other is always sucking in or holding in your stomach. Doing this for prolonged periods (day in and day out over the course of years) can contribute to pelvic floor issues and take a toll on your body. It can lead to urinary urgency, frequency, nocturia (waking up at night to pee), painful periods, pain with sex (dyspareunia), vaginismus, and in some cases even hip and back pain.
How This Relates to Me
My daughter likes to do many sports but her absolute FAVORITES, the ones she LOVES to do are gymnastics and diving. They happen to be incredibly core heavy. I have trouble watching her at practice knowing the short and long-term effects of a comprised pelvic floor.
Why would I even put her in these sports to begin with?
We’ve put both our kids in gymnastics, swimming, and other sports very early on to increase their proprioception, balance, coordination, gross and fine motor skills, as well as social skills. Our daughter used to throw herself off any diving board or side of the pool since she learned how to walk. It was actually quite terrifying. We were channeling her energy at the time and didn’t think it was something she would continue to do. Since she was little, she really liked going. One thing led to another and here we are…
What Should I Do?
I make sure I pay attention to how she’s feeling and what habits are beginning to form:
- Is she running to the bathroom a lot? Nope.
- Is she getting up in the middle of the night to pee? Nope.
- Is she showing signs of stress/anxiety? Nope
- How is she feeling towards practice, does she fight it? She loves training and her teammates. She looks forward to going. There have been times in the past where it wasn’t the case so my husband and I took steps to help with that
At this point, I’m not intervening. It doesn’t seem to be affecting her and she is loving life all the more because of it. However, I WILL continue to monitor her as she gets older and her hormones start to change….even though she probably won’t listen to a word I say (I mean, what do I know?!?). We’ve also added some variety to what she’s doing. She plays some team sports that require different motor patterns and help add some muscular balance, and she does a little music and language. The variety is good but definitely fills up our week!
Will it Continue?
Yep! As long as she likes it and is having fun and isn’t getting hurt, we’ll continue to support her. We’ll take the good and the bad and keep assessing how things are going. In saying all this I do truly believe completive sports are great for so many reasons:
- She’s learning to time manage that will transfer into other aspects of her life. She has a schedule of what homework to do what nights. Definitely not followed all the time but she’s learning and doing her best and developing good skills
- She’s making really good friends. I know this because she takes FOREVER in the changerooms and she skips on and off the deck.
- She’s learning how to work towards a goal or a skill and learning how to deal with the success and failures of it for both herself and her for teammates.
- She’s working hard and seeing results. We are seeing great strides in her fitness and overall athleticism.
- She’s having a lot of fun and that really is the bottom line.
I know from personal experience, there is something really great about throwing yourself into a sport (or anything for that matter) and seeing just how good you can get. Both my husband and I will support our kids if they choose to do this (even if they aren’t totally in line with how I treat). That being said, it’s not worth sacrificing their body for sport and we want to make sure we always have the best interests of our kids in mind so we’ll keep an eye on things and tackle what may (or may not!) come up!