In recent years, we’ve seen more and more players like Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, and Gerina Mendoza, starting families while maintaining their golf careers. Even though there are many more resources available now than in decades past, it’s still a tall order to raise a child and be a professional athlete, leading many of these women to seek the advice and support of their fellow professionals.
As a new mom, particularly, learning how to organize a baby’s schedule can be intimidating, and it can be even more challenging to leave your child for eight hours a day to head to work. Not to mention doing so when your career of choice is something as high-stress and demanding as professional golf. A support system is critical to successfully managing both family and a career.
Veteran LPGA mom Stacy Lewis gave birth to her daughter, Chesnee, in October of 2018 and, in August of last year, captured her first victory since becoming a mother at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. After her win, Lewis wasn’t afraid to be frank about the challenges she faced balancing golf and motherhood early on in Chesnee’s life.
“That first year was so hard,” said Lewis. “I look back at when she was six, eight months old, I don’t know how I did it. I was so tired. You’re not sleeping. If we had our WHOOP bands then, I’m sure my recoveries would have been pretty close to zero.”
“It’s been a process,” continued Lewis. “It’s been a process of learning how to help her and how to take care of her and how to take care of myself and spend time with my husband and all that kind of stuff, too. It’s been a learning process.”
Michelle Wie West is the latest to join the LPGA moms with the birth of her daughter, Makenna, in June of 2020, and she is still learning how to juggle playing golf and child-rearing. Upon making her return to competition at the Kia Classic earlier this season, Wie West expressed her gratitude for the encouragement this faction of women provides each other, which has been her favorite part of coming back to the Tour.
“It’s just fun. I played with Stacy Lewis the last two rounds, and it’s incredible,” said Wie West. “I don’t think we talked about anything else besides our kids. It was so fun just getting all the support. Even talking to Juli [Inkster], talking to Brittany Lincicome, all the moms out here. I talk to Jane Park a lot. The support we all give each other, I’m very fortunate for that.”
Another newer mother, Brittany Lang, whose daughter, Shay, was born last January and who just revealed her struggles with post-partum depression in her #DriveOn story, says that the sorority of mothers that she’s surrounded herself with have helped her cope with parenthood in more ways than one.
“Brit, Stacy, Gerina, and I are all the same age. We’ve been on Solheims together. It’s been awesome,” said Lang. “Gerina shared certain sleep things with us or gave us the Dockatoc to help Shay sleep. And Stacy, she’s helped with the routine at night. They’ve been through it, so Stacy was helping us get into a good routine for sleep. And Brit, she’s my closest friend. I call her a million times a day, talking about what I need to do, and she’s so relaxed and calm, and she’s always my sounding board.”
As the old adage goes, “it takes a village to raise a child” and these women know that they certainly can’t go at it alone. Though, for the mothers of the LPGA, instead of a village, it takes a Tour.