“Why I want to inspire Mums everywhere.” Ocean Sheroe Purusha Gordon on her motivation for rowing 2,700 milesPublished on
After several days of suffering severe seasickness, Purusha Gordon has found her sea legs and is well and truly back in the race.
Trying to keep food down, and minimise the number of times she vomited, while lying in a tiny cabin aboard a 28ft by 5ft ocean rowing boat, has been no mean feat.
Together with her three Ocean Sheroes teammates – Bella Collins, Lily Lower and Mary Sutherland – she’s currently rowing 2,700 miles from San Francisco to Hawaii as part of the Great Ocean Race.
Raising 60K for the Seabin Project to reduce ocean plastic, they are also attempting to finish the race in 40 – 45 days, breaking the current female-four World Record of 50 days, 8 hours and 14 minutes.
Purusha, a mother of two boys, is new to rowing but is tackling the challenge using the positive mindset she’s gained after overcoming postnatal depression.
She hopes her participation will inspire other mums to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.
Riding the waves
Pura had the chance to chat to Purusha (known as P) before the race began. She admitted, then, that one of her biggest concerns was seasickness.
“I've been working with a hypnotherapist because part of what’s happening is in the primitive part of your brain. The motion of the sea can make you sick, but it's your brain’s reaction to that. So it’s about rewiring your brain to say, ‘It's okay. This is just your body's way of trying to get used to the new environment and it will go away.”
P also outlined that the Ocean Sheroes endeavour is about so much more than simply rowing an ocean. The team wants to “inspire change through positive mindset”.
“All of us have struggled with self-confidence at some point,” explains P, who founded her own events company and is also a health and wellbeing coach for businesses and individuals.
“I had postnatal depression after my children and for three or four years, I really lacked confidence.
“When I was going through it, I felt like I had to put on a front, a show, that said to everyone else ‘It's alright, I know what I'm doing with these babies - I'm an amazing mum’. But then I’d get home, close the door, and everything crumbled. You just feel awful, it really knocks your self-esteem.
“I remember going back into my business six months after having Harry, my eldest, and being absolutely terrified about speaking to clients in case they asked me a question that I just couldn't answer.
“One of my big reasons for doing this is to say to any mums out there, that whatever you want to do in life, you are worthy of doing it. It’s hard to sometimes find that inner belief or allow yourself the time to do it.
“It's not that everybody has to think, okay, I can go and row the Pacific or I have to take on a massive challenge to prove something. It's about people thinking about one thing they’ve always wanted to do and going for it!”
While she’s at sea, P’s sons and husband are following her journey avidly. They can communicate only by satellite phone, as there’s not enough signal for video calls.
While her pursuits will earn her an undisputed cool mum status, P says that missing her family will be the main obstacle she’ll have to overcome during the race.
“I know that that it is going to be really hard,” she said. “Especially when you're sleep deprived, you're not feeling great and it still feels like there's a really long way to go! But speaking to my family will give me a boost.”
As well as her busy schedule of physical and mental preparation for the race, P also put in hours of careful planning to ensure that her family enjoyed a hassle-free time while she was away.
This included videoing herself reading bedtime stories for her children so that they had a library of stories to pick from, while she was competing in the race, and leaving little notes and surprise gifts for her boys to open at different stages of the journey.
P also set up weekly food shops, organised pick-ups and drop offs from school and arranged playdates to last the duration of her trip.
“I just thought, if the practical stuff is done, my husband can really make sure that he's enjoying quality time with the boys. If they are upset with me being away or missing me at any point, he's got the time to nurture them, scoop them up and give them love and encouragement, rather than thinking about a food shop to sort out!
“It's the peril of being an event planner. You spend your life organising everything and making sure everything's taken care of!”
Saving the sea
As the time this blog was posted, the Ocean Sheroes have raised almost £12,000 of their £60,000 target for the Seabin Project, which reduces global ocean plastic pollution with innovative “rubbish bin” solutions. Each Seabin installed in the ocean can intercept floating debris and micro plastics in the water.
Her sons’ school is also helping to raise money through various events, and P is proud that the campaign can be used as an education piece in schools and communities, encouraging less plastic and waste in our seas and waterways.
Pura for all
Helping the Ocean Sheroes to protect their skin and the ocean during the race, Pura donated 4,000 of our 100% plastic-free, biodegradable, Water UK certified Fine to Flush baby wipes for the crew to ration throughout the race. P is delighted to be working with us.
“We were all so thrilled to find Pura,” says P. “There’s so much greenwashing out there and we really wanted to dig deeper to find a brand of wipe which genuinely biodegrades in sea water and isn’t harmful to the environment.”
The fact that we’re a platform for parents is another bonus for P.
“I feel really passionate about helping other Mums, she said. “I’d like to say to anyone who is struggling, that when you’re in the thick of it, when they’re tiny and you’ve lost your confidence - you do come out of it.
“I've been there, I've had the postnatal depression, I had this complete imposter syndrome where I felt like I was a rubbish mum and I was rubbish at my work. It's only when you start to believe in yourself a bit, that life can get better and feel better.
“There is nothing more important than nurturing another human being in this world. It’s the most important job and yet it’s the most undervalued. We should be celebrating the people who are nurturing the next generation, and encouraging them.”
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