Birth Trauma Bikini Blasting Winter Challenge

09th October, 2020

Gillian Castle is braving the cold water this winter to raise money for the Birth Trauma Association.

In 2011 Gillian suffered a traumatic birth that resulted in a permanent stoma and saw her diagnosed with PTSD, post natal depression and anxiety. But she has overcome this and has gone onto do many adventurous activities including sky diving, a half Ironman and sea kayaking, proving that life isn’t over after a traumatic birth.

Her latest challenge is something even the hardiest of swimmers might baulk at – winter swimming in just a bikini, hat and goggles.

“I am getting my bag out and my bikini on to raise awareness of birth injuries and stomas. I didn’t get my bag out in public until June 2020, and now I am putting up a sign on the beach telling my story to strangers, while prancing about in the icy sea”.

Gillian will swim three times a week from 1st October to 1st May in all weathers, in the sea off the Northumberland coast, rivers and even a bath in her back garden to raise money for Birth Trauma Association (BTA).

“I have benefitted enormously from open water swimming, both for my mental health and the support I have found in friendships. By baring my bag, and wearing just a bikini for all winter swims, I want to go out of my comfort zone to show other people what is possible if you just give things a go. My campaign is to show birth trauma suffers, and ostomates, that they can do anything, while raising awareness of these taboo subjects”.

Follow her progress on her website, Stoma Chameleon, which promotes the positive side of life with a stoma and aims to inspire other women who have suffered.


Justine Harvey