How rock climbing is helping redefine expectations about motherhood

How rock climbing is helping redefine expectations about motherhood

Mum's Gone Climbing

Five years into motherhood, Nell Gow realised her children had little perception of who she was outside of being a mother.

Before having children, she’d always loved rock climbing as a sport, but had never shared her joy of climbing with her children. Nell decided she wanted to change that, and that it would also be good for her mental health to delve back into the rock climbing world.

So, Nell enrolled into an introductory climbing course, and soon realised that climbing was an antidote to many of the challenges she was facing in motherhood. She set out to connect with other climbing mums, and ended up creating a community of like-minded women that she is endlessly grateful for.

Nell is the founder of Mum’s Gone Climbing, a group of women who have all been empowered by the adventures of rock climbing, and the support of each other.

“When I think of our community I just have the deepest sense of gratitude,” Nell told Women’s Agenda recently.

“We have always had a strong focus on supporting and inspiring each other, and that ethos definitely runs true with our members. It’s very empowering to be surrounded by women who are strong and adventurous, who push boundaries, share their vulnerability, and are constantly lifting each other up.”

A film following members of the Mum’s Gone Climbing community is airing as part of the Women’s Adventure Film Tour, which is currently in its fifth season. This year, the film tour aims to celebrate extraordinary things women do in the name of adventure.

Nell says she can see how outsiders might perceive the women in Mum’s Gone Climbing as a “radical group of adrenalin junkies”, doing things way out of the average comfort zone. But she says it’s far from the truth.

“We are the queens of safety and risk management, and our adventures are accessible to a whole range of outdoor lovers, from beginners to seasoned climbers,” she said.

The film has been created, produced and directed by Mojo Stoke Productions, a film company founded by Nell, and Wendy Law. It was created with an aim to share the positive impact they had seen within the Mum’s Gone Climbing community, with the world, and particularly mothers.

Nell Gow from Mum’s Gone Climbing. Source: supplied.

Nell said she hopes it breaks down some of the more restrictive beliefs surrounding motherhood.

“It’s a story that helps normalise so many of the challenges that come with motherhood, from time restraints to postpartum depression. While also inspiring mums to prioritise things they are passionate about,” Nell said.

“There can often be a lot of guilt around stepping away from daily responsibilities. We hope the film breaks down those beliefs and redefines the expectations that are so often placed on motherhood.”

The film is even more special when you consider how hard women have traditionally needed to fight for their right to exist in the outdoor adventure space. It’s an area of sport that still has a long way to go when it comes to equality and representation for women.

Nell says she really appreciates the opportunity that the Women’s Adventure Film Tour has provided to celebrate female adventurers.

“We love connecting with the diverse women who come to the screenings, feeling the energy created by each story, and hearing how the films have inspired individuals. For us, being part of an event that utilises the power of storytelling to support women in outdoor adventure, it’s a true honour.”

The film Mum’s Gone Climbing is currently part of the Women’s Adventure Film Tour. You can find out more information relating to screenings and the films here. The virtual film tour premiere can be streamed at home between 11-25 September.

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