There’s a lot of pressure on moms after they give birth. Whether it’s how quickly they get back to work or lose weight, the pressure is real. And none more so than athletes. Allyson Felix is an American sprinter who gave birth 10 months ago. The pressure was on to get back on the field, despite a difficult pregnancy. This is her incredible story.
The new mom recently competed in the World Championships. And, in the mixed 4x400m relay, she picked up her 12th World Championship gold. This means she has more gold medals than Usain Bolt – who she shared the record with for a long time! However, the most impressive thing is that she did so 10 months after giving birth.
Her pregnancy was not straightforward either. Allyson Felix had to give birth via emergency c-section just 32 weeks into her pregnancy. This is due to her developing severe preeclampsia (or toxemia). The excessively high blood pressure associated with this proved dangerous for both mother and unborn child. Her daughter Camryn weighed just 3 pounds, 7 ounces, and spent the next 29 days in NICU.
To come back after such a traumatic ordeal both emotionally and physically is incredible. But, the 33-year-old had yet more troubles. Nike didn’t want to pay her as much for her sponsorship deal because they believed the birth would impact her performances. Here is Allyson Felix’s statement:
“Despite all my victories, Nike wanted to pay me 70 percent less than before. If that’s what they think I’m worth now, I accept that.
“What I’m not willing to accept is the enduring status quo around maternity. I asked Nike to contractually guarantee that I wouldn’t be punished if I didn’t perform at my best in the months surrounding childbirth. I wanted to set a new standard. If I, one of Nike’s most widely marketed athletes, couldn’t secure these protections, who could?
“Nike declined. We’ve been at a standstill ever since.”
Eventually, she dropped the deal with Nike and found a new deal with Athleta. However, her words changed the rules for moms everywhere, and Nike implemented a new policy so that female athletes won’t be “adversely impacted financially for pregnancy” for 18 months. This is six months longer than their previous rules.
But Allyson’s performance did not suffer. She said that she “felt pressure to return to form as soon as possible”, but her incredible feat is not what should be expected of women. A recent study found that pregnancy requires the same amount of energy as an ultramarathon, so new moms deserve a break after giving birth.
However, it makes it even more impressive that Allyson Felix was able to smash Usain Bolt’s record just 10 months after giving birth. Let us know what you think of her phenomenal feat in the comments, and share with your family and friends.