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  • This Mom Beat the Record of the Fastest Man in the World 10 Months after a C-Section

    She gave birth to a premature baby at 32 weeks.
    by Kitty Elicay .
This Mom Beat the Record of the Fastest Man in the World 10 Months after a C-Section
PHOTO BY @af85/Instagram
  • There is a reason women need their maternity leave after giving birth — she needs to recover and heal, physically and mentally. Some moms are #blessed. They are already up and about a few hours after childbirth, which is impressive enough. But some just blow us away with their ‘super mom’ powers like American mom and athlete Allyson Felix who became one of the fastest women in the world just 10 months after giving birth to a premature baby via C-section. Now that’s badass.

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    At the IAAF World Championships held in Doha, Qatar on September 2019, Felix won her 12th World Athletics Championship gold medal in the mixed-gender 4x400m relay. She also beat the gold medal count record she co-held with Usain Bolt (a.k.a. the fastest man in the world).

    It’s a triumphant return, considering the new mom had a tough pregnancy. She developed severe preeclampsia, a condition marked by high blood pressure, edema (swelling in the legs and arms), and increased protein in the urine. Having high blood pressure affects the amount of blood and oxygen transferred to the placenta and the unborn baby, and it is one of the major causes of preterm birth.

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    Felix gave birth to her daughter Camryn in November 2018 via C-section. Her baby was only 32 weeks at the time.

    “The NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) is a heavy place,” wrote the mom on Instagram for NICU Awareness Month. “I never imagined motherhood would start there for me.” She describes that time as physically and emotionally exhausting, where she felt drained “dealing with a flood of emotions.”

    Apart from caring for her preemie, the athlete also worried about having to go back to training and competing so soon, despite the complications she faced during pregnancy and childbirth. “I felt pressure to return to form as soon as possible after the birth of my daughter,” she writes in an op-ed piece for The New York Times.

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    During this time, Felix was also at odds with her brand sponsor, Nike. “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,” Felix writes. “Nike declined.”

    Felix eventually dropped her negotiations with the brand and signed with Athleta.

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    In July 2019, the mom shared in an Instagram post how stepping on the starting line eight months after giving birth was a “huge victory.”

    “Almost 8 months ago, this was my entire world. Staying in the NICU all day & night watching my baby girl fight. I can still hear the beeping and alarms of the machines. The uncertainty. The fear.

    “There were a lot of days I wasn’t sure this was going to be possible. I worked harder than I even I knew I could. There were tears, frustration, and doubt. At times it felt like everything was against me.

    “So today I’m far from my best, but I’m grateful for this opportunity and to experience the joy of competing again. More than anything, I thank God we are healthy.”

    Felix’s story is inspiring not only because she was able to step onto the podium as a mom, but because she helped change the standards for female athletes in the United States. “If we have children, we risk pay cuts from our sponsors during pregnancy and afterward. It’s one example of a sports industry where the rules are still mostly made for and by men,” she writes in New York Times.

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    Because of her voice, Nike announced that it was changing its maternity policy, and other brands also announced “new contractual guarantees for women who have children while being supported by their sponsorship.”

    “Pregnancy is not messing up; for women it can and should be able to be part of a thriving professional athletic career, as my teammates have shown and I hope to show too. And I dream of a day when we don’t have to fight in order to try,” Felix writes.

    You need to rest and recover after childbirth, mom! Click here for tips on how to take care of yourself postpartum.

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