On Monday night, when US soccer player Sydney Leroux revealed she was expecting a child with MLS star Dom Dwyer, it felt like somewhat of a bittersweet announcement.
Fans had ample reason to be happy for the recently married duo, who have become the first couple of soccer in the States.
But for Leroux, the blessing of a child also brings a professional burden.
Leroux will now miss out on a chance to win a gold medal at this summer's Olympic Games in Rio. Winning a gold medal, a year after winning a Word Cup with the USWNT last summer, would have been a potential once-in-a-lifetime feat, one Leroux might now never experience.
In an election season during which maternity leave -- and by extension, the place of family in a woman's career -- is one of the topics du jour, Leroux's announcement reminds us of something that is often taken for granted with women in sports: becoming a mother.
No matter how strong or how physically superior they are, they are just like the many other young female professionals who must weigh the possibility of starting a family against their career ambitions in a way their male counterparts do not.
For American snowboarder and Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson, the question boils down to time. Anderson tells Elite Daily,
Anderson, 25, who's in a relationship with fellow snowboarder Tyler Nicholson, is one of several female athletes who offered their thoughts on this subject in the lead-up to this week's Winter X Games in Aspen.
For these athletes, having a child not only means putting their careers on hold but also putting their careers at a significant risk, considering the physical effects pregnancy puts on the body.
That fact, and that risk, is not lost on 22-year-old Norwegian snowboarder Silje Norendal, who tells Elite Daily,
And avoiding having a child doesn't necessarily come down to not wanting one. Canadian skier and X Games medalist Rosalind Groenewoud, for example, hasn't ruled out the idea of balancing motherhood and professional responsibilities. She says,
Age, unsurprisingly, factors into these discussions as well. You might expect younger athletes to be more optimistic about their ability to handle multiple responsibilities.
But even those who haven't experienced the toll of the year-to-year grind for as long as others, like 19-year-old Arielle Gold, nearly rule out the possibility altogether.
Gold tells Elite Daily,
Even with age, there's no getting away from one fact: With all the globetrotting commitments and responsibilities to keep themselves fit, some female athletes just cannot find the room for both career ambition and another life.
Keri Herman, 33, knows this all too well, saying,
Like many young female professionals, motherhood will have to wait for these athletes.