Olympic champion Allyson Felix is a new mom.
The decorated gold medalist recently welcomed daughter Camryn in late November via emergency C-section at just 32 weeks. Though still hospitalized in NICU, both mom and baby are said to be “doing fine,” according to a statement from US Track And Field.
The birth of baby Camryn came as a surprise to fans to Felix, who reportedly kept her pregnancy under wraps and did not announce that she and husband Kenneth were expecting. In a rarely candid interview with ESPNW, the 32-year-old Olympian opened up like never before about personal challenges with deciding to have a family at the height of her career and the scary first weeks of motherhood after giving birth prematurely.
Though she was looking forward to becoming a mom, Felix admitted to having concerns about disappointing those who had consistently expected her to keep her career as a professional athlete at the top of her list of priorities.
“I was so excited to be pregnant,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to be a mother. I feel so incredibly blessed. This shouldn’t be a secret. I want to share this journey with everyone who has ever known me or cheered for me. So why has it taken me eight months to share this news?”
Elaborating further, she shared what it was really like having to constantly grapple with the course she was ready for her life to take, versus the one she felt she was expected to stay on at the moment.
“I was doing things because I felt like I was supposed to, rather than what I wanted to,” Felix added. “It felt like ticking off boxes on a checklist rather than living my life. Having a child felt like I’d be risking my career and disappointing everyone who expected me to always put running first.”
Like many expectant mothers, Felix had a plan in place for her daughter’s birth that she anticipated would go as expected, but her world turned upside down when a routine doctor’s appointment revealed that the baby’s heart rate was rapidly decelerating.
“It’s amazing how quickly your priorities change in moments like this,” she said. “At that point, the only thing I cared about was that my daughter, Camryn, was OK. I didn’t care if I ever ran track again. I was just praying that she would be OK. The thing I remember most about the November 28 surgery is that I barely got to see her face or hear her cry. They whisked her to the NICU as soon as she came out. She was 3 pounds, 7 ounces and 16 inches long.”
Congratulations to Allyson and her husband Kenneth on their new little angel. We wish both mom and baby a speedy recovery.
To read the full story of the moments before, during and after baby Camryn’s birth in Allyson’s own words, head over to ESPNW.