Ten days after giving birth, professional wrestler Ronda Rousey admitted she felt like she lost ‘a lifetime of muscle.’ Most women feel similarly about their postpartum bodies, hardly recognizing them as their own after growing life for 9 months and delivering a newborn. For professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, who is a mother of three, this was certainly the case, and is still and ongoing journey. “It’s a wild journey that’s so beautiful, yet so challenging,” she told HollywoodLife.com in an EXCLUSIVE interview. “Now, having three children, my third only seven months ago, I’ve learned to be more patient and slow with myself and ‘getting after it’ and I’m okay with that. I’m accepting myself as I am.”
The Hawaiian native who famously survived a 2003 shark attack that resulted in the loss of her left arm, revealed that she has returned to surfing since welcoming her son, Micah, in February 2021. “It definitely has started to feel better in the last three months. Just inching along, trying to slowly regain a bit more strength but I still have a ways to go,” Bethany said of getting back on her board. “I’m not putting too much pressure on myself and just focusing on getting good nutrition and sleep. Then, when I can find a little window to surf or cross-train, I’m extra, extra stoked.”
Bethany admitted that her first time back in the ocean after giving birth to Micah was tough. “I was so out of shape paddling, so I was missing so many waves, and just standing up on the board, I felt extra slow and like I could barely do it,” she revealed. “But, I was just so happy to be in the ocean and feel the sunshine.”
The Soul Surfer star added, “I had the expectation that it’s going to take time and I’m not going to feel like my super self the first month or two of surfing, so I just kind of embraced it as it was and knew that it would take time and just was patient with myself and my body.”
Bethany, who prefers the term ‘adaptive athlete’ instead of ‘disabled athlete,’ partnered with Degree Deodorant to challenge fitness companies like Peloton, Soul Cycle, and more to hire more individuals from the adaptive communities. The brand launched a full-page ad in the New York Times that took the form of an open letter to the fitness industry to make them aware of the issue at hand, launched a website featuring an educational toolkit with resources for fitness companies and a database of trainers with disabilities available for hire, and placed mobile billboards in front of major fitness institution’s corporate offices that underscored the lack of representation in the industry.
“I’ve experienced judgment and maybe a little bit of discrimination firsthand against my ability as an athlete. I’m thrilled to partner with Degree and cheer on healthy change in the fitness industry and to increase representation of the adaptive community. Movement is for everyone, regardless of our differences,” Bethany said of her collaboration with Degree for this campaign.
This campaign comes on the heels of the Degree Inclusive, the world’s first deodorant designed for people with visual impairment and upper limb disabilities.