Bonjour from France. I’m Abby Bishop. I'm just a regular country girl, who has been brought up with good values and taught hard work from an early age. First and foremost, I’m a mum to a 3 year old, Zala (my niece who I am raising), and I’m also a professional basketball player. I have had Zala for a little over 3 years now and in that time we have lived in Hungary, Seattle and France for my work, basketball. I have been to an Olympics, a world championship, won WNBL championships and have also won a WNBA championship.
It’s not easy for pro basketballers to juggle motherhood and being an athlete. I struggle with sleep; or lack of I should say! I have always been someone who needs my sleep and since Zala came into my life, obviously that had to change pretty quick.
I struggle with my social life. Some days I forget that I am entitled to a night out, a quick coffee alone, or even a few hours browsing the shops. Zala comes first but I have a hard time allowing myself to also be a 28 year old. I have been really lucky with the people who I have in my life though and they’re always there to support.
I’m forever feeling guilt about something; leaving Zala with a nanny, not spending enough time with her, the list goes on. Mum guilts are really hard to get rid of. I continue to tell myself that I am doing the best i can do and my friends and family tell me this frequently, which helps a lot.
Thankfully my current club are really understanding about Zala. I can even bring her to practices, which makes my life a lot easier… one less thing I have to stress about! Parental policies are certainly something that can be improved upon within the basketball community. A lot of other women’s sports have great parental policies in place to support their mum athletes. Its current stance saw me opt out of the Australian program for a while. Some concessions were offered, but all in all I think we can do a better job at ensuring the baseline of support is raised so others don’t experience as many challenges.
Juggling professional sport and motherhood is probably as difficult as it sounds. It’s not easy, especially being a single mum. But being a mum in general is challenging, yet so rewarding. The good outweighs the bad, and seeing the smile on Zala’s face every day makes me so happy.
Forever grateful. WNBA champion, Seattle Storm. WNBL champion, Canberra Capitals x 3. Olympic Bronze -Opals, London 2012. //Zala//