Follow Charlotte on her journey back to golf after pregnancy. This week, she asks: If men had babies, how different would the game be?

This week, I went back to the driving range! It was the first time I’d hit balls since having a baby.

I had a c-section and to be totally honest, the recovery hasn’t been as smooth sailing as I thought it would be. I blame social media for that; I’d seen so many shiny photos of women posing happily with their babies post c-section, that I really did think it would be a breeze.

Well breeze it has not been, and I’ve consciously waited until now – 12 weeks after having Albie – to even attempt to play golf again.

I’ve been walking since a few weeks after the c-section, building up to strength training and gentle cardio which I started from about six weeks.

It’s only now that I feel I have any sort of core strength (albeit still feeble) to be able to hit balls.

And, honestly, I’ve waited this long because I was anxious. I was worried that hitting balls – with twisting and the impact – would undo that hard work and it would all hurt again.

But it didn’t.

Albie’s first trip to the driving range

I managed to sneak to the driving range during Albie’s afternoon nap (that was 100% more luck than judgement). I plonked him in his pushchair, tucked him to the side of the bay and hit away.

Admittedly, I did feel like my arms didn’t belong to my body. But all in all, I didn’t hit the ball too badly. Everything went a bit shorter than usual, but I guess that’s to be expected.

The biggest change I noticed was how much I ached – especially my back and my arms – after hitting just 50 balls.

Worrying I’d overdone it already, I really started to question why there isn’t more advice and guidance on postnatal exercise. Staying active can only be good for recovery after pregnancy; physically, emotionally and mentally. And yet there’s so little support or information out there for new mums.

Postnatal exercise: Where is the support?

I lost count of how many times I was asked about my plans for contraception (erm, sorry?! How about get the hell away from me?) but there wasn’t one single mention of exercise. Not in the hospital, nor in any of my check-ups with the health visitors, midwives or GPs.

I really had to go looking for any advice at all, and even then, it was pretty vague.

I was lucky to be able to stay active all through my pregnancy, and I had every intention of staying that way post pregnancy too. But I wasn’t really sure where to start and I feel like I’ve been winging it ever since.

There seems to be a huge research gap when it comes to postnatal exercise, and I think the golf industry is missing a trick too.

Golf after pregnancy: The game needs more mums

What I’m learning most since having a baby is that golf is a great form of exercise postnatally; it’s gentle, a good mix of cardio and strength and a great way to build core muscles again. It’s fresh air and socialising. It’s doing something for yourself away from your baby.

Women around the ages of 20 – 40 are a core demographic that we’re missing in the game. So as an industry, we should be promoting the benefits of golf after pregnancy. And golf clubs should be thinking more about how to attract mums.

How about a creche onsite?

The more I think about it, the more I can’t help but wonder: If men birthed babies, how different would the game be?

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