We’ve noticed something, and perhaps you’ve noticed it too… Upon becoming a mother, people’s expectations and perceptions of your ability to go hard athletically in the mountains seems to shift. People don’t expect you to crush, send, or shred the gnar. They don’t expect you to show-up, let alone perform. And it’s weird, you don’t realize how dignifying it is for the world to expect great things from you… until they don’t anymore.

If that alone is not tough enough, often there’s overt push-back that accompanies mamas aiming to pursue committing mountain endeavors. The archaic notion that a mother’s place is in the home (minus the occasional yoga class or girls-night-out) is pervasive even today. It’s considered to be nearly blasphemous in some circles if you don’t get your fill of adventure via baby-wearing nature walks. Don’t get us wrong, we effing love baby-wearing nature walks! It’s just that, for some of us, that is not what satiates our primal adventurous desires.

For the passionate outdoor woman turned mama, this is a recipe for a post-partum emotional disaster. Research suggests that up to 80% of women experience some sentiment of ‘baby blues’ shortly after giving birth and up to 20% of women go on to struggle with Postpartum Depression. And yet, it’s a shrouded topic where honesty is not encouraged and society’s treatment plan consists of self-care via a hot shower and clean clothes… not 8 hours in the mountains, a summit beer, and bathing in an alpine lake.

Here at Adventure Mamas, we aim to change that–all of that. We believe motherhood is not an excuse or limitation, it is an opportunity to be our most dynamic and vigorous selves. We want to facilitate honest discussions about the experience of motherhood. We want to invite mamas to consider themselves athletes who are capable of accomplishing incredible and challenging feats. We want to encourage women to find a personalized form of self-care that’s uniquely fulfilling. WE ARE REDEFINING MOTHERHOOD.

And to celebrate, below we present the first installment of mountain-mama athletes who serve as beautiful demonstrations of how badass motherhood can really be. An athlete isn’t defined by being insta-famous, sponsored, or professional– it’s about pursuing your passion and craft wholeheartedly.

If you’re as stoked about this mission as we are, take a minute before you read-on to proclaim it with a big HELL YAS by donating to our non-profit startup fundraising campaign here.

Masha Gordon (@GritAndRock)

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Basics:
43 year old Alpinist based out of London, UK and Chamonix, France; Married + Mama of 2

General Accomplishment Tick-list:
2 Guinness World Records for the 7 Summits Challenge and Explorers Grand Slam (female)

Overall Greatest Achievement:
Having a foot in the three worlds: alpinism, motherhood, and professional board career

Current Projects:
Climbs of 8458m Makalu and 8500m Lhotse in one season (May 2017) – a feat  accomplished only once in history by a woman.

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Future Aspirations:
First ascents of unclimbed peaks in India and Tibet

Word that best describes you as an athlete:
DEDICATED AMATEUR

What would you say to a woman who considered herself too old / too late / too busy to pursue adventure?
I started adventuring in my late thirties and by the age of 42 I was a holder of two Guinness records. More importantly, my world broadened dramatically as to what the second part of my life my be about. My range of friends expanded to early 20s to late 70s. I am richer as a result of it. That said, to get to this point, I did put in requisite 10,000 hours, all fueled by this new passion.

What does it mean to redefine motherhood?
The weight of social expectations is enormous. The hardest thing in achieving my two Guinness records was not climbing Everest in just 3 weeks or battling -40F temperatures on the way to North Pole, it was getting to the starting line being a mom of two and a woman in her early 40s. I cherish an opportunity to shake and reframe social norms as to what a mother can and should be doing. In addition to being an athlete, I am a professional and can responsibly manage my life as well as create meaningful quality time with my kids. Both of my kids climb and ski. They are present in nature vs being absorbed by technology. The courage and bravery that is required in high-altitude mountaineering forms a part of my family’s value system that, I believe, will help my kids achieve their full potential.

Tara Warren (@RunWithTara)

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Basics:
43, mountain runner based out of Utah; Married + Mama of 2

General Accomplishment Tick-list:
Completed 11 ultras, climbed over 650k in 2016, raising 3 boys and an ultra runner hubby

Overall Greatest Achievement:
Having kids and being a mom

Current Projects:
2017 training for the Bighorn 100, Ouray 50, and Bear 100.

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Future Aspirations:
Helping my boys to grow into men, staying healthy to continue running, and adventuring for years to come

One word that best describes you as an athlete:
DETERMINED

How do you define someone as an athlete?
At various stages in my life, athlete gets defined in different ways.  I think anyone who changes up a routine with an attempt to try something new physically, can be considered an athlete.  It’s the “try” that is involved which defines it.  We’re all just out there “trying” everyday.  Whether it is a new yoga class or pose, new trail or terrain, new way to walk to school with the kiddos or the same route. Each of us just wants to feel like we are getting something accomplished during the day.  So, for me, I would almost replace the word athlete with the word, ACTIVE.

Rachel Sapp (@Map.In.Hand)

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Basics:
27, Alpine & Trad Climber + All Around Mountain Enthusiast based out of Golden, Colorado. Mama of twin girls

Current Projects:
Starting Diploma of Mountain Medicine track

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Future Aspirations:
AMGA Alpine Guide, Physician Assistant with Global/Humanitarian Health and Austere Medicine Fellowship

One Word That Best Describes You as an Athlete:
TENACIOUS

What Does it Mean to You to Redefine Motherhood:
“Redefining motherhood” is about drawing outside the lines, acknowledging parenting isn’t always a cakewalk, and showing others that community has no bounds. It’s important to love and understand your whole self and know that the fabric of what makes you (your passions, your light) is what helps you be the best parent you can be.

Audrey Hills (@SurfStokedMoms)

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Basics:
33. Surfing. Californian living in Sydney, Australia. Married with one daughter

General Accomplishment Tick-list:
Surfing at a competitive level post-baby.  Surfing for Queenscliff Boardriders and Surfing Mums at various local and interstate competitions. Traveling around the world and surfing famous spots such as Uluwatu (Indonesia), Keramas (Indonesia), Shipwrecks (Baja, Mexico), Pavonnes (Costa Rica), Scorpion Bay (Baja, Mexico), Snapper Rocks (Australia), Bells Beach (Australia), and Ocean Beach (Northern California)

Overall Greatest Achievement:
Rebounding to surf better, train harder, and be more committed in challenging conditions after having my daughter

Current Projects:
2017 Queenscliff Boardriders’ Series, Currently in 1st Place; Training to surf in the Telos Islands, remote Indonesia where barrels and big waves are expected; 2017 Sailor Jerry Surf Tag; Preparing for winter surf – bigger waves.

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Future Aspirations:
Win Queenscliff Boardriders & Compete at high level in Surf Tag; Surf bigger waves and more technical spots; Get a big barrel; Surf into old age

One Word That Best Describes You as an Athlete:
STOKED!

Why Should Women Prioritize Personal Adventure?
I know you see a thousand social media posts a day that say, “your vibe affects your tribe,” but it is so true.  Nurturing yourself and practicing self-care in whatever form fuels your soul is an absolutely essential part of “being a good mom,” your long term health, and mental well-being.  A mom that finds time to do the things she loves like surf, hike, bike, kayak or even curl up with a good book BY HERSELF will be better prepared to help her children tackle today’s tantrums, tomorrow’s school bullies, or the next decade’s school exams.  A happier mom equals happier kids.

Plus, you and your adventures serve as an example to your children of how a woman is supposed to act and redefines their view of predetermined roles for women. ‘My mom rips at surfing.  My mom goes camping. My mom is climbs mountains.  My mom may or not keep the house immaculately clean, but it’s not important, we’re too busy having fun.’

What Thoughts Do You Have for New or Expecting Moms?
Don’t lose your wild!  Don’t let anyone tell you that motherhood means losing your passions or yourself. When I was pregnant a lot of people told me that I wouldn’t be able to do the things I loved anymore.  “You’ll have to stop surfing soon,” “you won’t be traveling a lot after the baby,” they said.  The icing on the cake was when my boss at the time caught me looking at bikinis on the internet at work when I was pregnant and said, “you won’t be wearing one of those for a long time…” But I didn’t listen.  I surfed up until I was 7 months pregnant, traveled to Indonesia when my daughter was 5 months old, and I wore a bikini three days after I gave birth.

Don’t let the naysayers get in your head.  Don’t let anyone tell you how it is going to be because only YOU can decide whether you’re going to be a bad-ass mama.  NO is a four letter word in this mama’s book.

Rae Sutherland (@WomenMTB)

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Basics:
36 year old mountain biking mama based out of Utah. Married with 2 kiddos.

General Accomplishment Tick-list:
I’ve raced a few enduros and typically do quite well. I have raced a few super Ds long ago. I started a women’s mountain biking club and social network in Utah. I am a certified coach through PMBIA (Professional Mountain Bike Instructor Association). I have given birth naturally to both my children and they are alive, so far, so good.

Overall Greatest Achievement:
I finished the Seattle to Portland double century (206 miles) on a road bike in one day. I won the Queen of the Mountain (Fastest overall downhill time for a female on the longest section) in my second ever enduro at Tiger Mountain, WA.

Current Projects:
WomenMTB is a social network for mountain biking women in Utah and we have partnered with Bingham Cyclery to offer women’s mountain biking clubs, weekly rides, and awesome events. Our mission is to empower Utah women through mountain biking by collaborating with other organizations to offer events, rides, a social network, and resources throughout the state of Utah.

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Future Aspirations:
Race more enduro, get back in shape after baby, teach my kids how to love riding. Assist in creating other WomenMTB clubs around the state.

One Word That Best Describes You as an Athlete:
FUN. (It’s all about fun)

What Does it Mean to Redefine Motherhood?
This is a hard one for me because I very much believe in the traditional role of a mother. I often struggle between doing the things I love (which take time away from my kids sometimes) and taking care of and teaching my kids. I never know how much time is too much time away.

I think redefining motherhood is more about defining it for yourself and not comparing or trying to define it for anyone else. This also means listening very closely to your mother intuition and acting on how you feel. I often justify my athletic pursuits, but feel bad about it because it takes away from my family. I make grand plans and when it comes to the time away from them, I actually get really bummed. Listen to that inner voice and make sure it is coming from your own sincere desires, not comparisons with others or some age old image you have in your head, then find that balance of adventure and mothering. They can go together quite well.

Michelle Farnsworth (@MFarnsworth1)

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Basics:
35 years old, mama to 10 year old son; loves running, climbing, snowboarding, and backpacking

General Accomplishment Tick-list:
Capitol Reef 50k, Bear Lake Brawl 70.3, 9 marathons, 13 relay races, and numerous half marathons

Overall Greatest Achievement:
The Capitol Reef 50k. Nothing has challenged me more than pushing my body to go its greatest distance to date.

Current Projects:
Training for the Tushar Trail Marathon and the Zion 55k next April. It was on my calendar for 2017 but a stress fracture sidelined me.

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Future Aspirations:
I would love to learn how to trad climb and do some epic climbing trips. I’d also love to do a weeklong backpacking trip to a new place with good friends.

One Word That Best Describes You as an Athlete:
PERSISTENT

Why Should Women Prioritize Personal Adventure?
I think women should prioritize personal adventure because it’s necessary for your well-being. It doesn’t matter what your idea of adventure is – exploring the trails near where you live, trying a new sport like climbing or anything else that feeds your soul. I think it makes us better mothers to our kids; I know when I am fulfilled personally with my passions, I want to share these experiences with my son and show him the world. Without that aspect of my life, I believe I would feel resentful later on. Time is something you can never get back and I’m all about making memories. Even now at 35, I look back fondly at the bad-ass stuff I’ve done in my lifetime – not at how clean my kitchen was or how many hours I put in at various jobs during the week. I think about that sunset atop Looking Glass Arch in southern Utah on a gorgeous October evening, not how perfect my lawn looked.

Amy Hatch (@AmesAdventures)

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Basics:
Founder of Garage Grown Gear, Endurance Athlete, Wife, Mama, and more

Thoughts for a New or Expecting Mama:
“Before I was married and had a kiddo, I structured my life around ultrarunning. I had the flexibility to spend hours on trails. When that lifestyle abruptly changed, my need for adventuring didn’t go away. It just got modified and somewhat put on hold… Experiences outside fuel me. They build my confidence and help quiet my mind… They allow me to show up as a mom and CEO, fully present… As I find more of the “me” in myself, the rest of life is unfolding much more naturally.”

Amy Hatch

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