When you are part of the BJJ community, you keep hearing and reading the same advice everywhere you turn: “train, eat, sleep and repeat.” This sentence becomes a mantra. Magic words to live by. Nothing else is important. To deny them is to deny the whole bjj lifestyle vision.
But is it really true?
No, it isn’t. Unless you are wealthy and have plenty of leisure time, you need to work in order to survive. We all have families and friends and a social life that also needs to be maintained and requires time and effort. So even given these basic considerations, practicing a demanding sport like jiu jitsu becomes a little bit harder than just following the “train and repeat” cycle to happiness and success.
And even these challenges are possible to overcome – if working/studying and your social life was the only thing you had to worry about besides training.
But then you become pregnant and a mother. Now things get complicated… Very!
You have to eat but also feed your little clone, you need to train but also change diapers, you require sleep… oh yes… when did you last manage to sleep for a full 8 hours?
BJJ is a relatively young sport, and as a woman who has practiced BJJ for more than 10 years now, I am also one of the first women trying to combine bjj with maternity. And I think I have succeded in balancing both lifestyles.
I started sharing my experience when I became pregnant for first time 7 years ago. Back then, I didn’t know any other women, practicing BJJ at competition level who had to balance early motherhood with training so I had to learn through the most challenging amd effective didactical means: my own experience. And because I knew I was not alone in my struggle , I decided to share my experiences, positive and negative, in the hopes of reaching and supporting other women in the same situation. I started a blog (www.anayagues-bjj.com) where I discussed my efforts and methods of training during the pregnancy, recovery after delivery, resuming training and nurturing a baby… I received a lot of positive feedback and felt really good about providing an example to other women and being able to inspire or help them in one or another way.
But then I got pregnant for a second time, and found that having two children, training, competing, and working at the university… was overwhelming, causing me to stop blogging. Yet now, years later, I still keep getting emails and messages from many women who knew of me, read my blog or and had questions about motherhood and maintaining a bjj lifestyle.
Recently, my life changed drastically. The details are not important, but, as a result, I ended up leaving my job as a physicist, founded a BJJ academy (which had always been my passion) and dedicated my life to this dream.
And once the bjj academy was up and running, the idea of going back to support the female BJJ community returned full force. But I didn’t want to just blog and give advice. I wanted to do something greater than that.
And then it occured to me… BJJ camps are very popular worldwide. People love to attend those camps where you get to sozialize with other people with similar interests while training bjj for countless hours. It is becoming a trend to attend one of these bjj camps around the world as a part of your vacation.
I myself attend several of them, both as a student and instructor every year. I especially love the Globettroters camps, because of their strong emphasis on socializing, and the female-only camps, because it brings the women of this sport together.
But again, as a woman with kids it was never easy. In some female camps they allowed me to bring my kids but as you can expect, it is challenging to focus on training or making new friends while your little child is around demanding food or needing your attention. In other camps, the organizers did not allow me to bring my children, stating that it would be a distraction for others or arguing that a training camp was no place for youngsters. Sometimes my children were too young to be left at home with family, sometimes even if they were old enough, there was no one who could take care for them for such a long period.
So to be able to participate in camps or seminars demanded a masterpiece of organization and multitasking. And it is also pretty expensive by the way.
And that is how BJJ Mums was born.
BJJ Mums is a project whose goal is to support and extend Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as to encourage its practice amongst women who became mums after they started training, have family plans or discover this sport after they already have a family.
This goal will be met by:
– sharing my own experience as a BJJ blackbelt mum of two kids
– providing information about how to combine BJJ with pregnancy and maternity, helpful advices and tips
– camps, seminars and workshops with babysitting services and other facilities for mums to be, mums with kids, women with family plans and women in general.
And this is but the beginning…