It can feel like you're walking through a haze of utter exhaustion, like there aren't enough hours in a day to eat a meal, and like your body will never move the way it used to again. While we believe America needs paid parental leave so that moms have more time to recover from birth, we salute the heroic mamas who go back to work soon after giving birth.
U.S. soccer Sydney Leroux is one of them. Leroux recently stepped in to play as a substitute in an Orlando Pride game, just three months and one day after giving birth to her daughter, Roux James.
This is a big deal, not just because she's coming back to the game so soon, but because she's coming back at all. As the Washington Post reports, for years the league "treated pregnancy as a career-ending injury and [it] didn't develop a maternity-leave policy, under pressure from players, until contentious contract talks in 1999." And even in recent years, players have had to fight to prove that they are still fit to be athletes after becoming mothers.
But much like track star Allyson Felix did this week, Leroux just showed the world that motherhood doesn't have to end an athlete's career. Mothers are strong.
When the new mom was summoned to play she stepped in, removed her substitute bib and went right into action. She didn't play for long, but her return to the sport (she hasn't played since September 2018) was met with a standing ovation, according to Pro Soccer USA.
Leroux posted about her emotional return on Instagram. "I love this game," the soccer star writes. "This past year was filled with so many ups and downs but I made a promise to myself that I would come back. No matter how hard that would be. It's been a long road but I did it. 3 months and one day after I gave birth to my baby girl."
We're amazed by this mama's inspirational return to the sport—and blown away that she was able to seamlessly step back in just three months after having a baby. Moms are total superheroesand while having a baby can seemingly knock you down in the short term, it actually makes you capable of more than you ever imagined in the long run. And if you are three months postpartum but don't feel ready to hit the soccer pitch (or even just a stroll around the block) don't worry, mama: Recovering from birth is highly individual. Different people recover differently, and it's not fair for you to compare yourself to a pro-athlete (or any other mama).
Most of us are not going to be playing sports at an elite level at three months postpartum, but Leroux's journey isn't just about sports. It's about reminding the world that motherhood does not have to sideline women, no matter what they love to do.
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