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Allyson Felix Joins Criticism of Nike’s Treatment of Runners Who Choose Motherhood; Plus Serena Williams Responds

Add Olympic Gold Medalist Allyson Felix to the chorus of world class American runners endorsed by Nike to come forward to complain about the company’s treatment of women who become mothers.

Felix, who welcomed daughter Camryn last winter published her own Op/Ed in The New York Times that was inspired by and comes on the heels of pieces published by fellow moms Alysia Montaño and Kara Goucher in that newspaper.

“They told stories we athletes know are true, but have been too scared to tell publicly,” Felix wrote of Montaño and Goucher in her op-ed published last week, on May 22. “If we have children, we risk pay cuts from our sponsors during pregnancy and afterward.”

“Thank you @alysiamontano@karagoucher for starting such an important conversation. ‘As. you can’t change anything with silence.’ This is my story. #dreammaternity , “ she captioned an Instagram photo of herself running in between photos of men running a similar race.

She shared her own post-birth experience in the newspaper.

After severe pre-eclampsia that put her baby’s life at risk caused her to have to have giving birth and having to undergo an emergency C-section at 32, she alleged that Nike pressured her to return to training as soon as possible.

Then, the company wanted to pay her 70 percent less than before.

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??☀️

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Felix pushed back, and essentially demanded that the athletic apparel brand change its policies.

“If that’s what they think I’m worth now, I accept that,” she admitted. “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 didn’t accept her demands.

“My disappointment is not just with Nike, but with how the sports apparel industry at large treats female athletes,” she explained in the op-ed. “This isn’t just about pregnancy. We may stand behind the brands we endorse, but we also need to hold them accountable when they are marketing us to appeal to the next generation of athletes and consumers.”

Right before Montano and Goucher came forward, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal, Nike announced iot would change its maternity policy.

Sports Illustrated reported the changes will include protection in its contracts, while brands such as Brooks, Altra and Nuun pledged to also guarantee contractual support of female athletes through pregnancy moving forward.

Now to wait to see what those changes are.

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my motivation is different now✨

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“I look forward to specifics, from Nike and the rest of the industry who has yet to commit to contractually protecting women,” Felix concluded.

Bravo!

Meanwhile, Nike athlete and star of its female empowerment campaign Serena Williams

“I understand that Nike has been really lately supporting women a lot, and it started with making a statement with me, and they said they want to make a change,” Williams said Monday after defeating Vitalia Diatchenko in the first round of the French Open. “They want to support women that want to have families and that want to be moms. I’m glad that statement was made, and I know that therefore and going forward, they’re doing better.”

US Olympic Track Star Allyson Felix Is Married and Just Had a Baby

Allyson Felix, the most decorated U.S. Olympics woman track and field star with nine Olympic medals, secretly married and had a baby last month.

She revealed the news in a feature published Thursday at ESPNW, where she also explained, like the scrutiny and judgment Serena Williams felt, she felt pressured to put off starting a family so not to jeopardize her athletic career.

She married long time boyfriend and fellow Olympic sprinter husband Kenneth Ferguson, got pregnant  and at just nine weeks along, competed in a race and again at 4 months but both times, she ran noticeably slower. 

She said in the piece:

“When I ran back-to-back slow times this June, people started to wonder why.

My coach talked to me about shutting it down for the season. My brother wanted to make sure I wasn’t hurt.

It was time to tell them what was really going on.

I was pregnant.”

The baby, a little girl she and hubby named Camryn Grace Ferguson, came early at 32 weeks  via emergency Caesarean section and is still in the NICU.

Felix shared some of her birth story and anxiety over motherhood in her Twitter account  including her reaction to being told by doctors at her 32-week check up that they didn’t like the baby’s heart rate and to go to the hospital.

She was just about to go do a photo shoot that would result in the pictures she would use for making her big public announcement about the pregnancy and thought it could wait. She explained:

I’m an athlete. I know how to take care of myself. I know how to eat right and get enough rest. And I’d been doing everything right throughout the whole pregnancy.

When I got to the hospital, I knew pretty quickly that something was very wrong.

Per Yahoo!

Felix had high blood pressure and the baby’s heart rate decelerated, forcing an emergency C-section on Nov. 28. Camryn was born 3 pounds, 7 ounces and 16 inches. She was immediately taken to the NICU, where she still is being cared for three weeks later.

Felix said her daughter is doing well and will be OK.

She is telling her story now to be open and transparent over the fact that famous people, including athletes have the same struggles as most women. 

“Pregnancy in sports shouldn’t feel risky,” she tweeted. “[B ]ut the reality is that it is. It’s scary to tell an employer you are starting a family & not know if you will be supported.

[I] know a lot of women can relate no matter what field you are in. i want better for my own daughter.”

In the ESPNW article, she said: “I hoped my experiences could help other women who were worried of what starting a family would mean to their careers. To let them know that I too have those anxious feelings.”

New Moms Alysson Felix, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price, Others Win Gold, Set Records at World Track Championships

New  Moms Alysson Felix and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price made major comebacks by winning gold and setting multiple records this week at the the World Track and Field Championships!

The fact that both sprinters delivered their babies via C-Sections which tear the core muscles is a testament to their hard work.

“For 10 weeks, I couldn’t lift weights (while lying) on my back,” Fraser-Pryce told  the LA Times. “And mentally, it’s even harder because you’re 30, you’re having a baby, the females are out there running fast. You wonder if you can come back. For me, I just worked really hard.”

Felix’s baby came two months prematurely and spent around a month in the neonatal intensive-care unit.

“It puts things in perspective,” Felix said.

It was only months prior that she was among the Nike sponsored athletes speaking out about the company’s treatment of pregnant elite athletes.

Felix, who joined long distance runner Alysia Montano and the US Women’s Soccer Team in their crusade for equal pay and rights, inspired the other female moms who competed this past Sunday night as LA Times summarized:

Christian Taylor, who won his third straight triple-jump world championship .

And pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia, who cleared 4.95 meters to beat American Sandi Morris for the gold…

Another mother won gold in the women’s 20-kilometer walk early Monday morning. Liu Hong of China took the 2017 and 2018 seasons off to have a child before returning triumphantly in 2019. She led a Chinese podium sweep.

Another gold medalist was Courtney Okolo — Felix’s 25-year-old relay teammate.

“A victory for motherhood!” Jamaica’s Fraser-Pryce said  of her win. At age 32, she became the oldest woman to win an Olympic or world 100m title, two years after having her first child, Zyon.

She carried Zyon with her while taking her victory lap. Fraser-Pryce said she sat on her bed and cried the day she found out she was pregnant and soon heard calls that is was time for her to retire.

Perish the thought!

“The females keep showing up,” Fraser-Pryce said on the BBC while holding Zyon across her chest. “Hoping that I can give inspiration to all the women who are thinking about starting a family or currently starting a family and wondering if they can come back.”

The last mom to win the big 100M race was America’s Gwen Torrence back in  1995.

Fraser-Pryce told her story of motherhood to Goldccomeback to NBC News:

“When I found out I was pregnant, I was sitting on my bed for like two hours, and I didn’t go to practice in the morning because I didn’t know what to do,” Fraser-Pryce said. “I made a vow that I was coming back.”

On Aug. 6, 2017, Fraser-Pryce watched the world women’s 100m final on TV. “I remember sitting there, and I went into labor because I was watching the race,” she said. “So I had my son the next day, like in the evening during the medal [ceremony]. So that was my gold medal.”

Zyon came via C-section on Aug. 7, 2017. Fraser-Pryce went three or four months before lifting a weight. Once she returned to the track, she skipped practices here or there due to pain.

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything else,” she said. “Because it has definitely made me tougher, and stronger and more committed.”

In her first meet back in 2018, Fraser-Pryce clocked 11.52 seconds, eight tenths off her best. She raced eight times before breaking 11 again, all while breastfeeding for the first 15 months.

This year, she’s run in the 10.7s a total of four times, becoming the fastest mom in history. Her coach told her earlier that she’s still not all the way back.

“Zyon has been my strength, my family, my husband, they have been my strength,” she said. “When everybody else doubted, they never did.”

Wow! Moms win again!

Photos: AP/ Getty

WNBA’s Skylar Diggins-Smith Played Pregnant All Season

Dallas Wings Skylar

Dallas Wings Skylar Diggins-Smith

Another professional female athlete who recently had a baby is speaking out about maternity leave treatment they received from the sports industry.

This time, Women’s National Basketball Association  star of the Dallas Wings team, Skylar Diggins-Smith revealed Saturday that she played an entire season while pregnant but was called a “quitter” for taking two months off to cope with postpartum depression after giving birth to her son.

Diggins-Smith, 29, said she played while pregnant throughout the entire five-month 2018 season and “didn’t tell a soul” adding that she was the leading player in the league and averaged 17.9 points and 6.2 assists. She also earned her fourth All-Star slot.

But Diggins-Smith said when she took two months off early this season to spend time with her newborn son and handle postpartum depression, she was slammed as a “quitter” who was giving up on her team.

 

 

Diggins-Smith first announced her pregnancy close to two months following the end of the Wings’ ended its 2018 season back in August.

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Can’t wait to meet you!.. ❤️

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HuffPo reports that even though she was scheduled to play in the 2019 season, she never did and it looks like her PPD has some reason to do with it.

 

 

“Under the WNBA collective bargaining agreement, players who become pregnant under contract are to receive half their salary, and their medical expenses are to be covered by insurance, ” according to Yahoo Sports.

It’s unclear if she will return. Diggins-Smith is the latest of several female athletes to speak up. Earlier,  marathoner Alysia Montano complained Nike lessened her pay while on maternity leave, then Allyson Felix co-signed and

Parents: 2019 Espy Red Carpet Arrivals

The 2019 Espy Awards celebrating sports phenoms went down last night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California

Among those attended were several of the moms and parents featured in Bellyitch in the past including, singer/model Ciara and her husband Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Ciara donned her signature slick dark colored gown with cut outs with Giuseppe Zanotti heels.

Also in attendance was boxer, author and entrepreneur Laila Ali.

Brand new parents actress and America’s Got Talent newest judge Gabrielle Union and her husband NBA player Dwayne Wade. Union wore a short lace dress by Raisa Vanessa and Jimmy Choo heels.

New mom Allyson Felix didn’t showed up and out in a neon yellow crop top with matching pants.

20 Moms Celebrating Mother’s Day For First Time {2019}

Happy Mother’s Day to all the new first time moms, including the celebrity women’s whose pregnancies we “bumpwatched” this past year.

Celebrating their first Mother’s Day are:

Cardi B who welcomed her first child, daughter Kulture Kiari, with husband Offset from the rap group The Migos on July 10th.

Desperate Housewives alum Eva Longoria who welcomed son Santiago Enrique with husband Jose Bastón  on June 19, 2018.

On Nov. 7, 2018, Gabrielle Union and her husband NBA star hubby Dwayne Wade who welcomed their first child together via surrogate, daughter Kaavia James after years of infertility and struggles.

Comedic actress Amy Schumer who is the latest to the new moms club after she and husband Chris Fischer welcomed their first child together son,  Gene Attell Fischer, on Sunday, May 5.

Parks and Recreation alum Rashida Jones who gave birth to her first child, a son, Isiah Jones Koenig , with her longtime beau Ezra Koenig last August 22, 2018.

One Thing” singer Amerie who welcomed her first child son River Rowe Charles L. Nicholson with husband Lenny “LG” Nicholson  last December.

US Olympic track star Allyson Felix and her husband Kenneth Ferguson who welcomed daughter Camryn last December 2018.

America Ferrera who had her first child, son Sebastian “Baz” Piers Williams in late May with husband Ryan Piers Williams after Mother’s Day so this is her first.

Supermodel Chanel Iman who became a mom on Aug. 10, 2018 when she and her New York Giants wide receiver husband, Sterling Shepard, welcomed son Cali Clay.

Another Model Kate Upton and her husband, Houston Astros pitcher, Justin Verlander who became parents to daughter Genevieve on Nov. 7, 2018.

The Duchess of Sussex, the former Meghan Markle and her husband, the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, who welcomed their first child together on May 6 announcing the news on their official Instagram account. They named their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

A relative of a Royal, Pippa Middleton, the little sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, and her husband James Matthews who also welcomed a son, Arthur, on October 15, 2018.

Former Reality TV star of Real Housewives of Atlanta Kenya Moore and her restaurateur husband Marc Daly who welcomed a daughter, Brooklyn Doris Daly, together on November 4, 2018.

Current housewife of that Bravo TV franchise Porsha Williams who also had a daughter Pilar Jhena with fiance restaurateur Dennis McKinley.

Tattoo artist and makeup mogul Kat Von D who became a mom in late 2018 to son Leafar Von D Reyes with hubby Rafael Reyes.

Former TODAY show anchor Tamron Hall and her husband Steve Greener who welcomed their first child, a son named Moses on April 25th.

On September 30, 2018, Shahs of Sunset alum Lilly Ghalicchi Mir and her husband Dara Mir, who welcomed their first child, daughter Alara Mir.

Current Shahs star Mercedes “MJ” Javid Feight and her husband Tommy Feight who welcomed their first child, son Shams Francis Feight, on April 17th

Singer Kehlani and her partner partner Javie Young-White who welcomed their first child together, a daughter named Adeya Nomi, in late March.

Former Destiny’s Child performer, actress and Singer LeToya Luckett and her Tommicus Walker who welcomed their first child on January 4th this year, a daughter they named Gianna Iman.

Congrats and Happy Mother’s Day to all!