The You, the Me, and the We: Interview with Caroline George

“Oh, we’ve just had an explosion!” said Caroline George.

North face of the Eiger. One day ascent with hubby/daddy Adam George in Spring 2011, right before getting pregnant. Photo by Jon Griffith.

Mom to three-and-a-half-month-old, Olivia, Caroline was Skyping (sans video) with me from Chamonix and breastfeeding at the same time. Cool as a cucumber, she didn’t seem too fazed by the eruption. Considering her portfolio of incredible ascents and expeditions, I have a feeling it takes a lot more than spit-up (or poop) to upset this IFMGA/UIAGM-certified guide and professional alpinist.

What brought this outdoor adventurer to parenthood? As I was exploring the possibilities forΒ TheΒ Adventures in Parenthood Project, I came across a blog post that Caroline wrote for Into the Mountains, the guiding company she runs with her husband Adam, who is also a guide.

In Next summit: Motherhood, Caroline wrote about her “prolific year” of 2011 that included climbing trips in Antarctica, Thailand and Jordan, ski guiding all over the Alps and a one-day ascent of the North Face of the Eiger. But in May of that year, she “hit a wall,” literally. In her article, she describes how she and Adam were climbing the Grand Capuchin when she realized she didn’t want to be there that day. When she reached the anchor, she looked at him, tears in her eyes, and told him she “just wanted to be home and make babies.” And so they did. Well, they made one.

Photo by Dylan Taylor. A month into motherhood…

Caroline is a fascinating and inspiring woman in the way she has found balance as an outdoor adventurer amidst her experience with pregnancy and entering parenthood. While her opportunities to be outdoors have been altered somewhat – sometimes she is only able to take short excursions out – she has not sacrificed or compromised something she knows she needs.

Motherly love. Photo taken by Caroline’s mother.

Caroline also didn’t compromise on her need to be active while she was pregnant, ski touring on the very day she gave birth. But her choice to continue skiing created some debate. In January, SCARPA posted a photo of Caroline on Facebook. The caption read: “We love this: Caroline is 38 weeks pregnant and still out enjoying powder turns in her SCARPA Gea AT boots.” The photo incited a variety of responses, from harsh criticism to “two thumbs up!”

As Caroline pointed out, the negative reactions came from male respondents, some who were concerned that she was endangering a baby who “can’t speak for itself,” with positive reactions coming from both men and women. We wondered why that is, and speculated that perhaps some men reacted negatively because they had more difficulty gauging how a woman might be feeling, not being able to know what it feels like to be in her body during pregnancy. What do you think? Review the photoΒ and please Leave a (friendly) Reply below with your perspective.

After our hour on Skype (with way more content than I can possibly squeeze here), I asked Caroline if she had any final words. To conclude, she described how important it is for each person in a family unit to keep their sense of identity:

“[Becoming a parent] has enabled me to re-assert my passions and how important it is to have a passion outside of your family. I think in a family there is the you, the me, the we, the kid and everyone has to have a strong identity in order to be a good member of that team. And I think a lot of people forget that the me, the you, and all that need to be really strong in order to have a strong whole.”

Thanks, Caroline for an insightful conversation. Up next, I’ve got interviews with Mark and Brooke of Adventure Parents and Tanya Koob of Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies.

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9 responses to “The You, the Me, and the We: Interview with Caroline George

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  7. Caroline and the photo of her ski touring is very inspiring! Just when I was starting to question how my winter will look this year (currently 18 weeks pregnant), this gave me a little pick me up. Thanks for the post!

    • Thanks for the comment, Kat! First of all, your photography is amazing! Looks like you’re an adventurous spirit, so I can completely relate to your questions around what your upcoming season will look like. I was pregnant all last winter and learned a lot about my body and how to just let it ‘be’. There was no way I was ski touring at 38 weeks like Caroline, and I had to find that out on my own. I tried to remain as active as I could, mainly walking, doing yoga and even working out in a gym. But it’s such an individual thing. Your body may ‘hold up’ a bit better, like Caroline’s, and permit it. I have written a number of articles about pregnancy, if you search back under that Category (you can see those in the footer here). This is one of my personal favs: https://adventurousparents.com/2012/12/10/learning-to-just-be-with-pregnancy/

      All the best with your pregnancy!

      • Thanks Meghan!

        I read the post, and I am definitely starting to relate with what you are saying there. It’s a definitely a huge mental challenge to not be physically able to do what I’m used to. Hopefully I’ll be able to ‘just be’ soon too. In any event, it makes me appreciate the things I have done in the past just that much more!!

        Thank you for sharing your experiences! I look forward to reading more πŸ™‚

        Kat

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