Really interesting interview with Tracey Neville, former coach of England’s gold-winning netball team, about negativity in pregnancy. I’m not normally a follower of BBC Sport, but she makes some good points:
Tracey, at 42, comes under the realm of a ‘geriatric’ pregnancy, i.e. ‘older than we’d like you to be’. While she’s not got a high BMI, she’s still subject to the same alarmist ‘high risk’ labelling. From her perspective as a coach, she points out how this negativity is unhelpful:
The thing that I’ve really found around this is the negativity that comes around older women having children… It creates a real fearful environment; they [the doctors] go down the route of “Well, we’re preparing you for the fail.”
I don’t prepare my team for the fail – I prepare them for the win! And if they’re not successful, we then look at other avenues, or other steps we can put in place…Tracey Neville, former England Netball Team coach
She knows the pain of miscarriage, having suffered two, including one the day after leading England to Commonwealth gold. But, as she is pregnant again, due in March 2020, she highlights the difference she sees in approach:
I’d come out of a miscarriage and another consultant was giving me these stats again.
No, tell me what can I do…
We don’t sit down [with athletes] and quote stats at them, and quote how many times we’ve lost. We sit down and look at how we can win.
If only there was just a bit more positivity around health and wellbeing.
Why is pregnancy not targeted like that, why is it not given that positivity?Tracey Neville
I probably should mention here that if the surname sounds familiar, it’s because Tracey is part of the Neville sporting family. You may have heard of her brothers Gary and Phil, who were reportedly quite good at kicking a ball around.
But she’s absolutely right – why is it in pregnancy, far more than with anything else, we have to look at the doom and gloom angle? Does negativity in pregnancy serve any useful purpose at all?