For about the last eight-and-a-half months, Shauna’s Instagram has been awash with videos and photos of her bouldering with a bump. The accompanying message has been a reinforcement of the fact that risks can be mitigated, activities are adaptable and that no one knows your body better than you. In short, motherhood doesn’t necessarily mean giving up what you love.
Scroll through the comments on her feed and you’ll find a positive chorus of praise for her calculated and careful approach to keeping up the sport that she has spent almost her entire life doing, throughout her pregnancy.
But, since her social media presence shifted from explosive, acrobatic movement and dynamic dismounts to controlled down-climbing and bump-friendly boulders, the transition hasn’t been without critique. Amongst the iterations of awe and inspiration, a handful have been quick to question Shauna’s judgement and undeniably expert opinion, albeit from behind their keyboard.
‘I knew it was coming,’ Shauna tells me. ‘I’ve been on social media a long time and know that anything you share is subject to judgement. I always try to share an honest insight into my life and that’s what I have continued to do through pregnancy. The negativity has been loud but it’s such a small percentage of the comments. I actually haven’t had any negativity in real life at all, which I find pretty interesting.’
In portraying an active pregnancy and early motherhood, of course Shauna is in fantastic company. In 2019, champion fell runner Jasmin Paris famously expressed breastmilk for her baby daughter at checkpoints along the 268-mile long Montane Spine Race, and in Patagonia film Lessons From Jeju, professional freediver Kimi Werner explores the ocean’s depths with the fisherwomen of a South Korean island, at seven months pregnant. Yet in Western society today, there is still a degree of scrutiny attributed to women who remain active and adventurous during pregnancy and motherhood.
‘It seems that there are gender disparities in the way that parents are regarded and the roles that they are expected to take in all areas, so it is inevitable that the outdoors is no different,’ says Shauna. ‘The outdoors was traditionally a male-dominated space. The role of child care was traditionally a female-dominated space. Although there are barriers being shattered and huge changes happening this history runs deep and it seems there’s still a long way to go before we are in a space where there’s no prejudice.’