“I live next to Loch Voil and I have been swimming daily for the past 18 months. I started when my son was nine months old. The doctor prescribed me anti-depressants, but I decided to try swimming for a month before taking them. I’ve never looked back (nor taken the pills) and I’ve swum almost every day since then.
For me, swimming is a sacred time. It is a place to recharge and centre, so that I can come back to my family grounded and engaged. I would love for them to join me in my love of the water when they are ready for it, but it is too blooming cold for really little ones. They can stick with getting their cold fix from Mummy’s milk when I come in from the water.
I’m now 39-and-a-half weeks pregnant with my second child and continue to swim skins (in just my swimming costume) every day! I’m a qualified counsellor and feel strongly about advocating for the mental health benefits of open water swimming. From a pregnancy perspective, there is recent research that suggests that cold water swimming has positive birth outcomes; Leo Gundle and Amelia Atkinson have published pieces to that effect.
“I’ve noticed a huge difference in my mental health this pregnancy compared to my last”
I’ve noticed a huge difference in my mental health this pregnancy compared to my last. On the whole I am coping a lot better. I started a swim group in the glen this year, and about 12 neighbours are now swimming regularly in the loch; none of them had ever swum regularly before!
As I approach the end of my pregnancy, swimming has become more powerful. I’ve been singing to the mountains around the loch before I enter the water, and I feel full to the brim with the support and strength of nature. Ready to birth this baby at home.
I have developed a ritual of howling to the hills and I can then hear my voice reverberating around each and every one of the surrounding glens. It is magical. After I’ve given birth, I hope to get back in the water as soon as I can.”
This article originally appeared in issue 101 of The Green Parent magazine. Get the whole edition delivered to your door. Click the button below