analysis of this sports psychologist

You are in contact with professional athletes who have become mothers. Is there an opportune moment in your career to decide to have a child?

There are biological limitations when it comes to women. The career is short, and at the same time you can pass your biological age, which will lead you into difficulties later. I have female athletes who decided to freeze their eggs in anticipation of pregnancy before the Games. They tell themselves that they have reached the age limit and that they do not want to face the fait accompli later on. Women take responsibility. They want to experience this special event of the Olympic Games. It exists in both professional and amateur sports. Athletes are more and more informed. If they can't have kids because they're going to the Olympics at 35, they'll schedule it for later.

How does an athlete return to her level after pregnancy? Are physical and mental abilities always the same?

The return after pregnancy is ready, especially for top athletes. These women know what they are getting into. They are used to planning and making efforts. The priority in their lives was to have this child, but that does not take away the strong desire to also succeed in their careers. A child does not destroy a career and a woman is physically capable of recovering very quickly. During pregnancy, physical activity is different, but the activities can be maintained until the end. Preparing ahead of time for what is likely to happen helps reduce fatigue when the time comes. Psychological work does not prevent you from being tired. Short nights are very real, but they allow us to predict. It is first of all a desire and it turns into strength.

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“I can't stand being away from my children anymore”

What role can a father play in the education of his child if he is often absent? Can we consider it “easier” for the father to be away from the family or is the impact the same?

Separation is not easy on both sides. For fathers, the task is also difficult. When they go abroad for a few weeks, they feel the lack. They are also affected by these separations. Some athletes are fed up with the distance and prefer to stop everything. Professional players have told me, “I think I'm going to quit, I can't take being away from my kids anymore. I can't take this life anymore. » That's why they broke down. In the end, you don't get used to the distance. We try to endure it, but it only lasts for a while. When they leave, they have tears in their eyes. Children do not always understand their choices. “Again dad, are you leaving again?” When are you coming back ? .. when they hear that, it's really a very difficult sentence for them.

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Do you feel an evolution in the importance of parenthood in an athlete's career? The new generations are undoubtedly more comfortable discussing their doubts and desires.

Many voices supported this goal. Society evolves and things also change with time. Athletes talk about it more because they are allowed to do so more. Before, when a woman mentioned marriage or the desire to have a child, she was directly told that her career was ruined. Women and men dare because they can rely on examples of success. There are many people in the shadows who work to change the mentality and support athletes. Athletes are encouraged to talk about it more with those around them. They are already wondering what parenting is. Athletes or not, it's a job we learn on the job. These are sometimes even painful questions. They wonder if they will be up to the task. They want to have that child, but question their ability to be good parents and their ability to balance their personal life with that of a top athlete. But the desire for a child is so strong when it comes that, even when there are these doubts, it grows upwards and everything around it is built little by little.

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