Lindsay Davenport, the understated tennis champ, is on a comeback roar—just seven months after having a baby, as all the news articles remind us. This from the Los Angeles Times, in a piece titled “Hope Springs Maternal”:
She was watching tennis at Indian Wells with her husband Jon Leach in March, a few months away from having baby Jagger and months from having to explain to people on an hourly basis that, no, her son’s name was not an homage to Mick.
“That was the first time I thought about playing again,” said Davenport, who turned professional at Indian Wells in 1993.
Her colleagues are giving her props:
“I mean, I’m speechless because she looks better than me and she’s seven months out of having a baby,” Serena Williams said here at a pre-tournament news conference. “I’m convinced if I had a baby, seven months later I’d probably still be in the hospital trying to get over the pain.”
But Davenport’s not the only Comeback Athlete Mom.
You could have almost called 2007 the year of the mother/athlete. Not only did Davenport, a three-time Grand Slam singles winner and Olympic gold medalist, return to action after having a baby but two other local Olympians, Lisa Leslie (basketball) and Lisa Fernandez (softball), are coming back after childbirth.
The article doesn’t mention Paula Radcliffe, the British runner and new mom who won the New York City marathon. Remember her? From the New York Daily Post:
Nine-month old Isla Lough had a front-row seat for a scintillating show on Sunday, and never had to leave Central Park to get it. She took in the autumn technicolor, the sunshine, and best of all, another 26.2 mile installment of roadrunning resolve by her mother.
All this ought to make me happy. If I had a defining cause, it would be for working moms. And here are a batch that not only returned in top form after becoming mothers, but to highly competitive and demanding professions. Pregnancy and childbirth, after all, is a physical condition and event. It does things to your body that you gents don’t even want to comprehend. To come back after nine months and win a marathon? Not just complete it but win? I mean, could Great-Grandma Takeuchi have imagined this?
But it doesn’t make me happy. It makes me depressed. I give off a “yoisho,” which is Japanese for “oomph,” every time I get up from the sofa. I went to the gym three times last week, true, but I was the mama huffing along at tractor pace on the treadmill (“you have just completed a lap,” said the monitor after five minutes).
Yes, yes, the other ladies are professional athletes. So let’s take apples to apples to make me feel better. Well, I did write a book during my last maternity leave, once I could walk again. But that was three years ago. I’m older now. And more tired.
I’m going to set the bar low. During her pregnancy, Radcliffe continued to train. During my pregnancy, I shall continue to snack. Shortly after her delivery, Davenport “has won 18 of her 19 matches, including the final of the Auckland Classic eight days ago, her 54th singles title,” says The Guardian. Shortly after my delivery, I shall return to blogging, if only to post baby pictures.
And if I exceed that bar, well, then, I’ll be a champ in my own eyes.