Skylar Diggins-Smith’s journey as a mother is sadly not unusual for many women. : ThyBlackMan

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Skylar Diggins-Smith’s journey as a mother is sadly not unusual for many women.

November 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Health, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) The 2019-20 men’s college basketball season has gotten off to a fascinating start with big matchups and the heartwarming story of Kent State’s Kalin Bennett, who just became the first player with autism to score in Division I basketball game. True hoops fans should also watch women’s college basketball for great basketball action and storylines. History was made as for the first time ever, the Oregon Ducks were the preseason No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The ranking is largely due to National Player of the Year Sabrina Ionescu, who led the Ducks to a historic upset against the U.S. women’s national team in a exhibition game earlier this month. Usually, women’s college basketball heavyweights like UConn, Baylor, South Carolina, and Notre Dame would be contenders for the top preseason ranking. One of Notre Dame’s greatest players ever, Skylar Diggins-Smith, is now taking on different challenges as a professional and that includes motherhood.

Skylar Diggins-Smith missed the entire 2019 WNBA season following the birth of her son back in April of 2019. She is a four-time All-Star who is an important player for the Dallas Wings WNBA team. In an incredible feat of toughness and stamina, Diggins-Smith played the entire 2018 WNBA season while secretly pregnant. She decided to keep her pregnancy secret due to fear of how the Dallas Wings franchise and the WNBA would treat her if they found out. The 2018 WNBA season for Skylar Diggins-Smith was productive despite her pregnancy as she   ranked fourth in the WNBA in total minutes and was top 10 in the league in points, assists, and steals per game. After the birth of her son, she suffered from postpartum depression and led to the decision to miss the 2019 WNBA season. Like many working women after pregnancy, there were physical, emotional, and mental challenges following childbirth and making a decision about her career for Diggins-Smith.

Today, Skylar Diggins-Smith is part of the U.S. women’s national team and working her way back into form while juggling motherhood at the same time. She is also using her platform as a recognizable professional basketball player to speak out for mothers in the WNBA. While on social media, she tweeted that “having no support from your own organization is unfortunate” and that she had “limited resources” at her disposal “to be successful mentally/physically”. To the credit of the Dallas Wings, they did pay her full salary for the 2019 season that she missed. However, overcoming the challenges of postpartum depression and working back into shape to compete in professional sports following pregnancy are situations that male professional athletes do not have to deal with.

The WNBA is working on a new collective bargaining agreement and Skylar Diggins-Smith is being vocal about the conditions for working mothers who are WNBA players and is a key person in the continued battle for professional mothers. In America, there needs to be more respect given to material leave and supporting mothers when they return to work and Diggins-Smith also has said, “I’m ready to put some action towards the conditions for working moms in the league and every industry”. It is a battle for many women regardless of the career they find themselves in.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines


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