Five incredible sports star mums
Meeting family and work commitments is a delicate balancing act for all working mums, but being a mother who is also an elite sports star comes with a very unique set of challenges.
Mother's Day is upon us so we decided to celebrate the hundreds of Australian elite women athletes who have made successful sporting comebacks after becoming mums. Here are five Pickstar-listed superstar female athletes who are dominating their sport with their number one fans by their side.
Melissa Barbieri takes the term ‘soccer mum’ to a whole new level. Melissa gave birth to her daughter Holly in 2013 but was far from finished with her professional sports career. It took guts and a relentless work ethic, and soon Melissa made her comeback with Adelaide United. But she wasn't finished there. Melissa then went on to be named W-League goalkeeper of the year and was selected for her fourth World Cup in 2015. Today, the 39-year-old plays for Melbourne City FC and is proudly supported by 6-year-old Holly.
Erin Phillips isn't just a double champ on the sporting field. In 2016 the two-time WNBA champion and two-time AFLW premiership winner became a mum to twins Brooklyn and Blake. Erin’s wife, Tracy Brahan, gave birth to the twins while in Dallas, and the young family has become a driving motivator for Erin’s successful career in the AFLW. In February this year, Erin announced her pregnancy with her third child, before going on to win a second premiership with the Adelaide Crows’ in March.
Dana Hooker is another AFLW superstar who juggles football and motherhood. Dana has always been a footballer at heart, previously playing with Coastal Titans in the West Australian Women’s Football League before giving birth to her daughter Alice in 2016. While Dana openly discusses the challenges of balancing life between her two loves (her daughter and footy), she has been very successful so far with the support of her family. She continues to be an inspiring role model for Alice, especially after winning Fremantle’s best and fairest in 2017. Today, she has been recruited by West Coast and enjoys spending every free moment with Alice.
Hockeyroos legend Jodie Kenny is living proof elite athletes can compete at international levels AND be top mums. Since 2011, Jodie has been a valued member of the Hockeyroos and was the top scorer in 2014-15. However, following the 2016 Rio Olympics, she temporarily parted ways with field hockey to start a family and welcomed son Harrison into the world. Just months after his birth, Jodie began preparing for a return to international competition. Proving that anything is possible, she was not only selected to play in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and World Cup but was also awarded Hockeyroo of the Year for the third time.
Off the field Harrison has inspired Jodie to encourage kids to become involved in sports; Jodie is currently studying to become a primary HPE teacher!
Unlike many women athletes, Shantelle Thompson’s astounding sports career actually took off after her children were born. After twins Jaida and Soane arrived in 2011, Shantelle was diagnosed with severe postnatal depression and sought out Brazilian jiu-jitsu for physical therapy. The sport soon became a passion for Shantelle, and she went on to win three Jiu-Jitsu world titles, two national wrestling titles, and make bids for the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2018 Commonwealth Games in freestyle wrestling.
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We'd also like to shout out to all the mothers out there and hope they enjoy their special Mother's Day!