There are quite a few exciting storylines going on during this week’s US Women’s Open: the venue, Rose Zhang’s U.S. Women's Open as a pro, Michelle Wie West's final tournament, and more. But the storyline I find myself thinking about randomly throughout the day is Amy Olson playing in a major championship while seven months pregnant.
First of all, HOW?!
As a currently nine-month pregnant woman, I bow down to Amy. Well, I can’t really bend at the waist at the moment, but I’ve been going through a mental checklist of all of the body changes one experiences at 30 weeks pregnant. And I keep coming to the same conclusions: 1. Women are amazing and 2. How the heck is she able to walk 18 holes at Pebble Beach day after day, let alone, take a full golf swing?!
While some of you reading this article may have experienced a pregnancy, I’m assuming a majority of you have not personally been pregnant. At seven months pregnant, Amy is dealing with:
- 15-20 pound weight gain primarily around her core. Imagine duct-taping a 20 lb dumbbell to your stomach and going out to play and walk 18 holes. Please let me know if anyone tries this.
- 50% increase in blood: Your heart rate is significantly higher at both rest and during movement just to compensate for the increase in blood flowing through your body. Trying to keep your breath and body responses under control while walking an undulating, coastal golf course with an already elevated heart rate. I get winded walking up one flight of stairs.
- Core muscles: basically don’t exist anymore. They are smushed and separated. And a human baby is kicking your organs while you try to swing a golf club. In a major championship.
- Emotional: your brain becomes scrambled eggs. So keeping your emotional and mental composure while remaining focused on competing in one of the biggest weeks of the year. Again, HOW?!
I traveled to Pebble Beach with Soly back in February to watch him play in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. I was 15 weeks pregnant, didn’t look visibly pregnant, and while I had successfully navigated the brutal first trimester and was at the beginning of the second, I still felt pregnant. Just WALKING Pebble Beach kicked my ass. I had to take a seat every few holes. This Florida girl was not prepared for the California hilly terrain. Every other hole, I would sneak inside the ropes to get some of the tee box food to enjoy while I discussed the shared back/body/foot aches between Bill Murray and myself.
I am not a professional athlete but consider myself to be a physically fit and athletic person. I was a collegiate athlete and cheered professionally after college so I’ve got a decent amount of kinesthetic awareness. Amy obviously has way more body awareness, muscle memory, and control over her movements than I ever will.
I feel like I’m currently living in a strange, foreign body that rapidly changes every day and I’ve recently reached the milestone of running into things because I forget how big my stomach has become. So it is just astounding to me that Amy can evolve her golf mechanics at the speed that her body is also changing. Pregnancy is the fastest a woman will ever gain weight and it’s all concentrated in one area of her body – changing the way she balances, walks, holds a club, stands over a golf ball, picks up a golf ball, puts a tee in the ground (if I did that right now I would not get back up) and she’s doing it day after day.
Amy, I know this week and experience is one you will cherish forever. It’s an incredible blessing to get to be a pregnant woman living out your dreams and career while your son or daughter joins you along for the ride. One day, sharing the story and pictures of you playing in the US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach once he or she is old enough to understand will make them even more proud to have you as a mom.
Thank you for being an inspirational example to other pregnant women and those who hope to become moms in the future. I hope you can get some good rest and relaxation after this week. I’m exhausted just thinking about going for a walk. You’re a badass.