Pregnancy is an amazing time and fortunately in todays world we're seeing more and more empowerment of Pregnant women.
Prenatal women are being encouraged to love their bodies and celebrate it's incredible strength and natural ability during the trimesters. Staying active during this time is being embraced, with many women approaching labour feeling confident and strong. However, as much as being pregnant certainly does NOT mean being powerless, it's important to remember that when it comes to being a target of assault, a pregnant woman could still be considered 'vulnerable'.
StrongLikeMum teamed up with the incredible Eve Torres-Gracie, Head Instructor at Gracie Women Empowered self-defense program, 3x WWE Divas Champion, actress, wife and mother!
Currently pregnant with her second child Eve has been helping to inspire women to defend themselves and their children during the pre and postnatal periods.
Check out the short clip above for some examples of self defence during pregnancy ( turn volume on)!
PLUS Eve answers your top questions below!
EVE ANSWERS ALL
Your top questions on self-defence during pregnancy
1. Does your body language / self awareness have an impact on making you more or less of a target?
Eve "While no woman can 'prevent' an attack against her (ultimately, the responsibility of an assault lies solely within the attacker), there are behaviors that can make us less of an "ideal" target. Body language and self-awareness are certainly two components that can help deter a potential assailant. First, let's consider what is ideal for a potential predator in an assault scenario - someone who they can approach quickly without resistance, and someone who will not cause a loud scene after the engagement has been made. Once we know that, we can do our best to portray the opposite of this. This means making assertive eye contact with anyone suspicious, letting them know they are "on our radar," and walking with confident body posture that says, I know what I am worth, and I will fight off anyone who tries to hurt me".
2. How else can you attempt to prevent an attack in the first place?
Eve "We cannot be 100% vigilant of our surroundings at all times. Sometimes we need to engage with our children, or answer an email, or chat with a friend - and we should be able to do that! The key is knowing that more important than who the target is or what she is doing, is whether there is an opportunity to carry out an assault without being detected or a bystander intervening. This could mean either there are no bystanders around, you are in a large crowd where bystanders may not be aware of foul play, or that they can isolate you to a nearby location clear of bystanders. During these prime opportunities for the assailant are the times where our vigilance must be the highest. The most important self-defense advice we can offer anyone is to trust your instincts when you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. By listening to our instincts, we will know exactly when we need to make that assertive eye contact with others, or verbally address someone who is making you feel threatened".
3. Is practicing self defence safe during pregnancy?
Eve "Like any physical activity, it is always safest if your body is used to the practice while not pregnant before you engage in the activity during pregnancy. For me, I continued to train and teach self-defense well into my 7th month of pregnancy, with my body comfort as my guide to what I could or could not do. While I do not practice some techniques because of discomfort, I know that I could execute any one of them if the time came where I needed them, even while pregnant. There are definitely principles of self-defense that can be learned and practiced regardless of what your physical condition is, and I suggest practicing these at all times. These include confident boundary setting, distance management, and self-awareness".
4. What are the best ways to defend yourself whilst pregnant?
Eve "Of course, our first line of defense is always keeping distance from any potential threats, asserting yourself verbally when needed, and keeping your heightened awareness when the opportunity for bystander intervention is low. Beyond this, there are many options to defend yourself when pregnant, many of which you can find at our online learning website, GracieUniversity.com. The most important thing to consider is that our first protective instinct may actually put us in more danger. The natural tendency is to protect our belly, or our child. While if there is a direct threat to our belly this may be necessary, if not, by protecting our belly we are making our self more vulnerable by not using our hands and arms to protect ourselves. If we cannot protect ourselves, we cannot protect our children".
5. What will you teach your children to do if you are attacked whilst they are with you?
Eve "It is always a great idea to discuss safety plans with your children - one for your house, and one for the public. Their age will change the details of the plan, but as soon as they are old enough, they should learn that if ever their mom is in danger in public, they should run away from the danger, and seek anyone who can help, even if it is a stranger. Again, your instinct will be to hold your child, but if they are not the direct focus of the attack, then you should prioritize your safety so that you can, in turn, keep your child safe".
7. How long have you been practicing self defence and have you ever had to use it in a real life situation?
Eve "I have been practicing self-defense, and specifically Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for 10 years. For me, self-defense is a mindset, and I use that mindset every day of my life. My confidence to assert boundaries with others and prioritize my safety comes from my dedication to empowering myself physically. But yes, I may have choked a coworker unconscious who was trying to cross the line with me"!
8. Why do you feel it’s important to encourage more women ( especially pregnant women and mothers) to learn self defence?
Eve "Beyond the prioritisation of our personal safety, I encourage women to learn self-defense because it is a way of tapping into a sense of power that many women have not yet experienced. They may be succeeding in their career, in their family life, their health, or in their relationships, but almost every woman in the world has experienced the kind of vulnerability that can affect you for the rest of your life, either subtly or dramatically. A strong foundation of self-defense offers you confidence that transcends all areas of your life, and the tools to set boundaries with others and exude assertiveness when it is most important. It is my firm belief that the reason I learn self-defense is so that I will lower my chances of ever needing it. For free introductory self-defense lessons, visit GracieWomenEmpowered.com".
StrongLikeMum's quick tips
5 things to consider when it comes to self defence.
Don't wait until pregnancy to explore your options. Self defence is something all women should be aware of prior to, during and after the prenatal period.
Self defence does not only refer to physical strength. Its also in your ability to stay calm, composed and aware enough to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.
Pay attention to where you are going and avoid 'known' dangerous areas.
Plan your travel ahead of time and where possible stick to a group or with a partner.
If your parking for the day, consider the journey to and from your car, along with where and when you pay for parking. Make sure you are always comfortable with your arrangements. Seek out Parent and child parking bays if possible.