Six weeks after Sara Niblock had her baby, her doctor gave her the go-ahead to return to playing hockey.
“She said, ‘You’re good.’ I realize she meant, ‘It’s been six weeks and the stitches won’t rip out,’” she said.
However, with her experience as a kinesiologist, Niblock knew the work she still had to put in before her body was truly ready to return to sport. And then she started to notice other new moms around her struggling with post-partum injuries as they returned prematurely to their own mountain activities.
“[I realized] how the information was lacking for other moms,” she said.
To that end, she launched Mountain Mom Strong, a coaching program to help mothers regain core, pelvic floor, and body strength after giving birth.
“Especially in the Sea to Sky, moms are very active. Then when they try to get back to their activity and haven’t done the legwork, they can get away with it [at first] because they’re strong. But pregnancy brings out any dysfunction you had before with your hips or back. It can be really hard when you want to get back to your activity but you can’t. People get more injuries,” Niblock said.
After launching Mountain Mom Strong, she learned just how many different resources existed for moms in the Sea to Sky—and she got an idea. With June designated as ParticipACTION’s Community Better Challenge month, Niblock applied for a grant from the national non-profit that promotes physical activity. After securing it, she decided to bring many of those resources together and host Active Mammas Pregnancy Postpartum Summit (AMPP), a free, online three-day event that addresses mental and physical health, as well as social challenges moms face after giving birth.
“I really wanted to do it to bring awareness to pregnancy and post-partum and keeping active,” Niblock said. “It’s so important to everybody in this community. I want everyone to have a positive experience … There is a lack of knowledge of resources.”
The virtual session lineup—with 11 in total—ranges from Pregnancy Training Considerations with Katrina Strand, a postpartum corrective exercise specialist, to Postpartum: The Seen and Unseen Season of our Motherhood Journey with clinical counsellor Candace Postal, and Return to High Impact Activities with Niblock, to name a few.
“I have a connection with a bunch of the speakers,” Niblock said. “I know where their speciality areas are. I looked at a lot of the questions and struggles I’m getting from moms in the Sea to Sky.”
With the corridor in the midst of a baby boom, the summit could be coming at just the right time.
“We have 80 women signed up so far,” she said. “Each session will have 20 to 30 people in them. Different sessions speak to different people. Maybe some are dealing with stress, anxiety, mental health. There are three or four sessions there to help with that. If you’re pregnant, you can learn about pregnancy training considerations, yoga, and pelvic floor. Even if you’ve given birth once, there’s a return to high-impact session if you want to learn more.”
The AMPP Summit is set for June 10 to 12. Registration for the free sessions is open now at mountainmomstrong.com/ampp-summit.
For more information on other free post-partum and new parent support in Whistler, visit mywcss.org/services.