Ash Barty pregnant: Sad truth behind baby announcement

Home Lifestyle Ash Barty pregnant: Sad truth behind baby announcement
Ash Barty pregnant: Sad truth behind baby announcement

Ash Barty has announced she’s pregnant with her first child, and while the baby news is utterly joyful, it is a loud and uncomfortable reminder that women can’t have it all.

The three-time Grand Slam winner announced she was expecting a baby with her partner Garry Kissick via Instagram. In a heartwarming post, she wrote: “2023 set to be the best year yet. We are so excited for our new adventure.”

Gorgeous news, but also, let us not forget that in 2021 Ash Barty shocked the tennis world when she announced she was retiring after she’d only just won the Australian Open.

At the time, she said, “It’s given me all of my dreams, plus more, but I know that the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the racquets down.”

When she made the announcement, the world was flabbergasted. Here’s a woman at the top of her career, and the Australian public completely adores her. Why retire?

Well, we might now have the answer. There’s a chance Barty looked around at her fast-pace life and thought if I want to have a family, I can’t keep doing it all. Not to mention women are already doing far to much — a recent Australian Bureau of Statistics report found Australian women are outweighing men with the amount of unpaid work they do for the household.

I know in the girl boss era, the idea of saying you can’t do everything feels anti-feminist. Like, you are admitting you are some failure, and if you say it out loud, you’ll have to hand in your pussyhats and pantsuits to the patriarchy and admit defeat. But, I don’t think it is really that simple.

I’d say the greatest lie women have been told is that we can do everything. I think we can do ALMOST everything and that we all are already doing too much. Take a coffee break, babes.

Look at someone like Barty, there’s no way she will have a baby, and suddenly her whole life will disappear. I’m sure, she’ll continue on the public speaking circuit and contribute to Australian tennis in different and wonderful ways. Still, realistically it would have been bloody tough to have a baby while being an elite athlete, and clearly she’s chosen a slightly different path to make room for both.

I look at my own much less exciting life, and I’m very aware if I wanted to have a baby, I couldn’t keep doing it all. Okay, I haven’t won a Grand Slam, but I have a full-time job and a baby is a 24/7 job. So, how do I do both? The math doesn’t math.

If I had a baby, I’d have to take a step back in my career at least for a little while, or my boyfriend would have to be the stay-at-home parent so that I could be the girl boss parent but that would mean I’d miss out on being the stay-at-home parent. See what I mean? I physically can’t do it all and because of that I’ve chosen not to do it yet. I know I can’t have it all and no amount of blazers or coffees will make that possible.

Behind every successful working woman, there’s tough choices she’s had to make. We see famous women have babies and carry on like usual. So, suddenly we start feeling the pressure to do the same as well. If Bec Judd can have four babies and still be a social media icon, surely I can just keep doing my 9-5 job. But the chances are you don’t have the money or support a famous person has. So, back to the drawing board, babe.

Annoyingly this isn’t the case for men. My female friends and I often discuss how or if we can have babies based on our careers and money situations. In general men know that having a child won’t be a huge disrupter to their careers and therefore they can have it all. Plus, it doesn’t help that the gender pay gap in Australia sits at 14.1 per cent. Men are still earning more than women so often their career takes priority because that is the practical thing to do financially. Plus, their bodies aren’t going through the ringer having the baby in the first place.

I can still remember when model Alessandra Ambrosio gave birth to her first child and then walked the Victoria’s Secret runway show three months later. At the time she was praised for getting right back into it, but I’m sure she had to give up time with her newborn for her career. Sure, it might look like she had it all when she strutted down the runway, but she probably lost something to gain that moment.

Yes, we can have careers and babies! But, I think we need to retire pretending these things don’t come without sacrifice. Having it all will always mean you miss out on something, whether it is a job promotion or your baby’s first steps. In Barty’s case, she may have stepped away from tennis to take on the new role as a mum. So, if Barty can’t do it all, I’m going to stop feeling so guilty that I can’t either and I’m going to start remembering it is perfectly normal not to have it all.

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