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The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport
The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport

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4 Positive impacts: is parenthood the key to success?

It’s not a secret that I have my sights on 25 (Grand Slams), and actually, I think having a baby might help. When I’m too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born.

(Williams, 2018, cited in Haskell, 2018)
Serena Williams holding her daughter on her hip.
Figure 3 Serena Williams and her daughter

While you have heard about the challenges connected with parenthood and sport, there are also several positive implications which you briefly touched on in Activity 1. These positives are alluded to in the above quote from Serena Williams (tennis), as she reflects that having a baby could help her be a more successful tennis player as she is much less anxious. This is something echoed by other athletes, both male and female:

Before I became a mother, I would have been uptight and anxious about reaching my training targets, measuring my progress, worrying a session could have gone better; but [as a mother] I didn’t have the time to dwell on it.

(Jo Pavey, athletics − Pavey, 2016)

Kids make it a lot easier than it would be without them… they help you take your mind off it (sport) they have their own needs. We're there to just give them what they want so I've got to put my difficulties aside… If they're happy, I'm happy. I try and make the most of my time with them.

(Taulupe Faletau, rugby union player − Faletau, 2020, cited in Pritchard, 2020)

What can be concluded from this is that deciding to combine a sports career with a family will carry with it several unique challenges but also several benefits.