How Roller Derby Prepares You For Motherhood (The Crossover)

Dear Pregnant Derby Girl:

Much like roller derby, you probably approached motherhood as something you’d seen before, mostly on TV or the movies, and you felt like you’d be pretty good at it. It does look like fun.

But then you went and did it and just like during your first week of roller derby, you’re thinking, “WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME IT WOULD BE LIKE THIS? IT IS HARD AND THERE’S ALL THIS PAIN. LOOK WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY BODY OH MY GOD ARE THERE DRUGS I CAN TAKE?”

The good news is that because of roller derby, you’re already used to thinking of your body as something other than just your “self.” You know what it’s like to have donated your entire life to a higher calling, a greater good. This prepares you well for both pregnancy and delivery, and eventually for motherhood itself.

You are already used to people – sometimes strangers – poking you, pushing you, touching your boobs and your butt. You don’t even blink when someone puts a hand between your legs and moves you to the side. Weird bruises don’t faze you, neither does blood coming from parts of you that don’t normally bleed like that. You go to the doctor more often than most people. You know it’s just a matter of time before you rip open something important. But this time, girl, that thing you’re ripping open will be your taint.

Roller derby has prepared you for long, exhausting sessions that require your entire brain, body and focus. You will have to contort your body into weird positions. You’ll buy all kinds of products people swear will make this easier or hurt less and then you’ll be so pissed off when you wasted all that cash on something you could have used to buy yourself a massage instead. Speaking of public nudity, because of roller derby, you’re used to doing all kinds of things with your pants off now, and you really don’t care who sees you naked. Perhaps that wasn’t a problem for you before roller derby. I mean, something got you pregnant, right?

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but roller derby has a lot of girls in it who have a lot of opinions and feelings and they often want to tell you all about those opinions. Those girls want to tell you how you should be doing something instead of how you’re actually doing it, or what you should be doing instead of what you’re doing. They want to give you advice and help and sometimes you’re in the middle of a drill and we’re all tired so maybe that advice comes out as, “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

The point is, everybody’s trying to be helpful and now you’re well-versed in how bitches be advicin’. Just replace “t-stops” with “breastfeeding” and you’ll mentally skate past all those advice-givers. (This is not advice I’m giving right now. This is a tribute. It’s different.)

Being a derby girl means you’re used to pushing yourself harder than you ever have before, and while you’re doing that there are all these people watching you, silently judging you, often holding clipboards. And they consult each other and sometimes never tell you what they’ve decided. (What’s up with that, anyway?)

You’re used to thinking of yourself as a weapon, a tool, a protector. You know how to stay on your feet when there’s chaos all around, and how to stay focused on that one little person who needs you to help him or her through. You always have that baby’s back, and he or she will know it. Derby taught you that. Derby taught you how to get up when you get knocked down, but it also taught you to look back, to make sure everybody’s okay, and how to trust yourself that you got this, even if everybody around you is doubting you. Roller derby taught you how to say, “Fuck you, I’m stronger than you’ll ever know.”

And here’s the most amazing thing, the one probably nothing can prepare you for: From now on you are not just this one, weird person who contains all of your organs. You are two people, forever.

Forever there’s another person out there with your blood and your eyes and your tendency to maybe ask the wrong questions or sing songs when you’re frustrated or eat only the edges of sandwiches and not the whole thing. All of your quirks will funnel into this future human, and you will be staring at a version of you but with the knobs all turned to a slightly different setting and you will be like, “I think I get it why people sometimes ask me to stop doing that.”

There’s two of you now, and you’re already a team. You’re all set, waiting for your first jam. You’re both up on that track, you in the pack, your little jammer crouched on that line, and everybody’s waiting for the whistle.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, much like roller derby, it seems like all of this would go much better and be a whole lot more fun if you could drink like crazy while you’re doing it, and much like derby, it’s so fucking unfair that you can’t.

Happy motherhood, derby girl. You got this.

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  1. Robyn Jamison

    I have never wished I could be a derby girl more.

    (Do they have managers on the teams? … Lol)

    I’ve got the mommy thing down (i can juggle twin 7 year olds and no husband GREAT by now all while being sick!!) but sure wish I had the confidence, etc.

    Thanks for this!! You’ve brought a huge smile to my face today and I’m giving myself the title of honorary derby girl for today cuz I feel that car accident gave me a little street cred. Lol

    Love you Pamie! As always! Miss you sis and hug mom for me!! Hope she hasn’t made you cuckoo for cocoa puffs yet.

    xo – Robyn

  2. bre

    AMEN! Im finally back from my *9mo injury* and its s huge adjustment, but I really like your perspective! :)

  3. Ouching Tiger

    Also, motherhood will prepare you for roller derby. After a day of dealing with an irrational little person and his bodily fluids, you’ll be totally ready to hip check the nearest consenting adult.

  4. Alexandra

    So good.

  5. Shawn

    I am still sad that I never got the chance to see you on skates. :)

    (I am still plugging away at derby, back in Fresh Meat at the moment rehabbing after a broken ankle and becoming bionic last August. Sending my best wishes to you and your family.)