From Birth to Rebirth: how Nadine Botas gets back into Shape after Pregnancy

My name is Nadine Botas, I am 35 years old and I have been dedicated to waterskiing since I was 3 years old. A passion that I share with my parents, sister and husband.

Waterskiing is a little-known sport in Spain, here only “Sunday skiing” is known, which is done on the beach. But our waterskiing goes much further, we ski at a professional level. We have our own waterski center, Botaski, where we teach at all levels. Our youngest skier was only 2 years old and our oldest 87.

The highlights of my professional career are: European Champion Under 14, Third at the U21 European Championships and I got to several finals in the Open European Championships. My 2017 season ended with a new personal best and I was ranked 16th on the European Ranking List and 34th on the World Ranking List. I have a personal best of 5@11,25m.

On a personal level, after 10 years with Iván, I married him in 2015. We share the same passion for this sport and this was what united us. He got second twice at the Open European Championships and he became World Champion 35+ in 2016.

I had never thought about having children. I never had a maternal instinct and I always thought that for women with a career in sport there is never the right time for it. Either you are in the middle of the waterski season or you are preparing for the next. You lose at least one season, if not more. In my case, I start training on the water in March and competing in June. The championship season is from June to October. In November I leave the water and begin to prepare for the next season. So there is never a good time…

When I started thinking about getting pregnant, I tried to find to most suitable moment in my life. When considering the pros and cons, there were always more cons. Beside the fears and uncertainties that where striking me. Will I be able to compete at my level? Will my body recover?

Earlier, in April 2017 I had a natural abortion, something I don’t wish for any woman to have. I went on my three month visit and the gynecologist with zero apathy let me go as if nothing had happened.

It was a very big emotional shock. I never thought this could happen to me. Apart from the physical shock that an abortion brings, I had to go to the operating room the next day. And I had to go through quarantine.

I had lost my baby and I couldn’t do what I like most. It was a tough few months. In May I started my season on the water, in July I did my first tournament and in October I managed to ski another personal record. This proved to me that I was stronger than I thought and a place on the podium was still possible.

In October 2017, in the last championship of the season, I skied a personal best of 5@11,25. With a score that would have meant a podium place if it had been done in the European Championships that same year. A month later I got pregnant and I thought: Now? It just felt so good right now being on the water…

During this second pregnancy I went through with a lot of fear. I felt very bad during the first months, I couldn’t move from the sofa. When I went for my three months visit to the gynecologist (another one evidently 😀 ), I arrived there with a horrible fear. The baby was fine.

After four months of pregnancy I started to feel good again and when our summer heat arrived with six months, I decided to go in the water, just to enjoy the pleasure of being in the water. Always with consent of my gynecologist.

Water is my way of life, I have been skiing since I was 3 years old. So there was no danger at all for me to be on the water, without getting any buoys. People will read this and think I was crazy doing this but I would repeat it a thousand times again.

Waterskiing was the best thing of the day for me, not only because thanks to it, I did not get a sore back during pregnancy, but also because when you compete, you are always in “tension” mode. You have to train well, compete well, follow the correct diet, a routine… And skiing pregnant just for the pure pleasure of enjoyment made me happy, every day I left the water with a smile. Before I got pregnant, I didn’t leave the water every day happy with what I had done.

Why not do something that feels good and makes you happy? I think it is very important to be happy during pregnancy, because it is a great physical and emotional change. So all the positive input was more than welcome. You have to spoil yourself to the fullest.

I worked until the last day organizing Worlds u17 at Botaski. I felt good and I think it is important to be active in pregnancy unless, by prescription, you have to rest. I gained 20 kilos, a lot. But I had a very big baby. My gynecologist told me that I wasn’t allowed to gain more than 9 kilos, I laughed. But it was not something that worried me too much. The only thing that mattered to me was that me and my baby were fine.

Eight months later, I still have to lose 1,5 kilos but if there is something that I have learned in sport, is to be constant. If you work hard, then at the end it has his reward. I have no doubt that I will return to my normal weight. Although it is hard to see that your body has had such a physical change, it is also very important to be aware of it and accept it.

I was in labour for two days. It was a very complicated and painful delivery and I had a hard time forgetting it. But I will remember it the next time I have to compete and get nervous. I had such a bad time, even thinking that I could die, that competing now will seem “easy peasy” to me. Something positive had to come from giving birth 😀

When I got out of quarantine after Hugo was born and the gynecologist gave me the OK, I threw myself into the water. Without any purpose, I just started moving in the water for hours until the end of the season, so the beginning of the 2019 season wouldn’t be so hard.

The first day I skied, I remember perfectly the feeling of instability, the sagging, not finding my position. I was very surprised because the sensations when I was pregnant were so much better than after having given birth. I thought it would be a matter of time, but the weeks went by and I still felt very weak in my gut. To ski you need your gut and that entire area to be like a rock.

I started working out on land, did some circuit training, but when it came to the weights it was impossible and I was in despair. I could not even get out of bed with Hugo. Something is not right, I thought. And that’s when I found Mamifit, an organization here in Spain that helps women to get in shape before, during and after pregnancy.

They came to my house to do an assessment of the pelvic floor. It turned out I had Diastasis Recti, separation of the muscles along the midline of the abdomen, of 6 cm. That was the reason why I could not stand in the posture you need for skiing or even make an effort. If I wanted not only to return to my level of skiing but also to have a normal life, I had to get to work.

Since last November I have started working with Mamifit. Once a week with them and the other days I had to do the exercises they gave me. I was not allowed to do anything else. In February, I had an evaluation and the diastasis was down from 6 to 1 cm. I was allowed to go to the gym. The first day I went to the gym I cried. I couldn’t do anything. Before I got pregnant, I knew this was really hard for a woman’s body but until the moment you experience this, you have no idea what pregnancy and giving birth is doing to your body. It is really hard...

I started with 2 days at the gym doing exercises at the machines, 2 days doing Zumba and 1 day with the personal trainer at Mamifit. I started to ski on March 1st and although it felt better than in September, I am not there yet. My belly is not strong enough as it used to be, so I can’t hold and lose the position easily.

There is still a long way to go and at this moment, I don’t think I will be able to compete this year. It is really frustrating to see where you are now on the ski. But if I can’t compete, it is not the end of the world. As long as I can be in the water with Hugo and take him to ski with me this summer, it’s fine with me.

After so many years competing, I have no doubt that my greatest achievement is Hugo.

365 views0 comments