This topic, based on the “Maternity and Well-Being” discussion at the FICA Women’s Conference, has two main parts to it: women in capoeira having children, and relationships between capoeiristas in the same group.
Having been in neither situation…I don’t know how much I can really say about this. Consider that a disclaimer!
From my own observations, all of the capoeiristas with families that I’ve seen have been pretty good at sharing childcare time (taking turns training, going to different classes, etc.), and the rest of the group usually seems more than happy to help out. Actually, something I’ve noticed everywhere is that it seems like all capoeiristas are really good with children!! As someone who dreads playing/working with children even more than partner work (it would be so like me to faire une bêtise and hurt them by accident; and there is nothing more scathing than a scornful young person; and how does one relate to a 6/12/15-year old??), I’ve always wondered why/how this is?
I will say, also, that I have yet to see a capoeirista who has had a baby look like she was ever pregnant in her life! So I definitely agree with the discussion group people who said the best way for a capoeirista to get back in the game is to just keep training—if they ever stopped in the first place. I’ve seen women playing and training while at least a few or more months pregnant, so I imagine they must have gotten back into things pretty quickly after giving birth.
If a woman has a baby and her partner doesn’t do capoeira, then I think that capoeira counts as a major enough part of a capoeirista’s life that her partner should care and be considerate enough to take that into account when splitting childcare duties, at least to a certain extent and provided that the partner doesn’t have something the equivalent of capoeira in their own life. (If that’s the case, then both should compromise to give up equal times of their activity and take care of the child equally.)
And while I agree with the idea that new parents can stay involved with the academy by doing admin work, helping with events, and playing music, I think it’s also important to recognize that this in no way is a fair substitute for actual training! So while it’s a good way for the parent(s) to stay connected to the academy while they’re physically or otherwise incapable of training, people (namely partners, and friends and capoeira colleagues to a lesser extent) should help out to try and make sure they can get back to normal training as soon/much as possible.
As for relationships between capoeiristas…well, I can see several pros and cons to this.
You majorly have something in common.
You get to see them more often, and will understand each other’s crazy committment to that Brazilian martial art form nobody can even pronounce properly.
Training/playing in the roda might be more fun/interesting.
You might see them too much and have space issues.
It might be hard separating the relationship from capoeira life, kind of like people in office relationships have trouble keeping them separated from work life.
If it goes bad, capoeira or training might become a source of stress for you, and you’ll no longer be able to count on it as your standard all-purpose stress-reliever.
On the other hand, this reminds me of two things I’ve been told in capoeira. The first is that when you’re in capoeira, when you’re training or in the roda, everyone else is just another capoeirista. In the roda, the other person isn’t your mother, your friend, or your significant other; they’re a capoeirista, and moreover a capoeirista you’re currently playing inside the capoeira roda.
The second? In the all-too-immortal words of one of my capoeira teachers:
“Training solves everything! If you’re sad, you train! If you’re happy, you train! If you’re angry, you train! Love, anger, sadness, depression…training solves EEEVVVERRRYYTHING!”
Picture source: http://www.capoeirasantabarbara.com/images/cd2-kids2.jpg