On August 15, 2022 I gave birth to my beautiful son, Jack. By September 30th I was back on the curling ice for the first time, although it had a very different feeling compared to stepping onto the ice in previous years. I anticipated there being challenges due to the physical changes in my body and decrease in fitness level. However, the mental preparation and thorough planning required at each event was more challenging than I had thought it would be. Having to balance my pre-game routine with changing diapers or feeding Jack was challenging at the beginning. It took a few events before I was used to this new routine and it would have taken much longer without the support of my family.
The mental preparation required to get back into competing was more challenging than any physical challenges that presented. From thoughts of whether or not I would be able to compete at the same level again to the guilt I felt when I was curling because I was doing something for myself, rather than for Jack. This constantly weighed on me at competitions and I found myself constantly looking to the stands for reassurance that he was okay. Whenever I was on the ice, Jack was with his father so inherently I knew he was okay but it was incredibly difficult to focus on the curling rather than on Jack.
As a first time Mom, balancing my responsibilities for my family with my desire to still compete at a high level creates its own challenges. I am grateful to have such an amazing partner and family that stand behind me and offer all the support I need to be able to not only continue to compete but also allow me to gear my focus toward curling when I am at competitions. For all the new moms who are worried about getting back into sport, it has its challenges but I think its important that you find time to do something for yourself as so much of your time is focused on looking after others.
- Chelsea Brandwood
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