Just weeks before the caesarean birth of my second baby, I had two very important questions for my obstetrician – how long after the birth can I a) start training and b) start racing?
I realise these are probably not the most conventional questions to ask one’s obstetrician, but rather than the raised eyebrow of disapproval I was expecting, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I wouldn’t have to wait as long as I originally thought.
When I became pregnant with Scarlett at the end of 2010, I found it a massive adjustment giving up my racing and the only way of life I had known for 17 years. For the first couple of months after Scarlett was born, I was completely engulfed in the ‘baby bubble’ as I adjusted to a life that revolved around nappies, sleep and feeding schedules. It wasn’t long, however, before I realised I was missing the thrill of competition and still had that inner drive to achieve something more than a successful sleep routine for Scarlett.
However, knowing how hard it was to give up racing the first time, I consciously decided to hold back from a full-on return to racing until I knew I wouldn’t have to stop again. Having only ever planned on two children and with the second pregnancy almost over, that return is now looming closer than ever!
So with my doctor telling me I should wait weeks as opposed to months before jumping back into the driver’s seat, I have actually had to restrain myself a little from becoming overexcited. After all, my circumstances (not to mention my body!) have changed considerably over the past two years.
Previously, I wanted to make racing my career and approached life to that end. My training would take priority over any other commitments, I would drive the truck to and from race meetings and most of my spare time was spent sourcing parts, drives or sponsors.
Now, even if I still wanted to make a career out of racing, there aren’t that many drives available for a 32-year-old mother of two, so my approach to racing needs to reflect that. I’m not saying I will be racing purely “for fun”, as my competitive nature makes that impossible, but my motivation is coming from a different place.
I want to race again because when I am out on the track it is all about me, and I need to know that under all the ‘mummy stuff’ I still exist (fellow mothers will know what I’m talking about here!).
I want to race again because I want to continue flying the flag for women in motorsport and challenge the younger female talent to come and beat me. But most of all, I want to race again because I want my children to be proud of their mum and, hopefully, if they see me living my dreams they’ll be more inclined to follow their own.