For as long as I can remember, my biggest wish was to be a mom. I have always loved children and couldn’t wait to have a little human of my own.
I started playing golf at the age of 14 and once that bug bit, it was all I could think about. When I finished school, I took a few years to figure out what I wanted in my life. I started my own business and played golf as often as I could on the amateur circuit. A fantastic opportunity came around when the Sunshine Ladies Tour became a reality and was able to turn professional and finally make my golfing dreams come true. I have now played on the local tour for 4 years and have loved every moment.
Last year, 2016, was an amazing year personally and career based. As a female sportsperson, it is extremely tough to find sponsors to help support your dreams. As most of you know, these things aren’t cheap. I was lucky enough to meet Dhiren Metha who is one of the co-founders of Unimedia Pro. The day I met him and his team, I knew that they were exactly what I was looking for, which was to further my career and they’ve fulfilled every promise they’ve made.
In my personal life I met the man of my dreams I can’t live a day without. To find someone who wasn’t intimidated by a professional sportswoman, who would more than likely take his money on the golf course, but encouraged me to do my best and even carried my bag in a few events.
The beginning of our 2017 season started in January with 9 exciting events to look forward to. I couldn’t wait to get started as I had an amazing sponsor at my back and my game had never felt better. Nothing could stop my now. Well that’s what I thought. I woke up one morning not feeling myself and realized my menstrual cycle was late. I never had any problems before but in 2009, I was diagnosed with EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was always naturally tired and nauseous but this was different. So I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. My reaction was not what I ever thought it would be. I panicked and burst into tears. I was ready to be a mom, but I wasn’t ready to give up on my dreams ( playing pro golf).
Abortion was one of the first things to pop into my head and I felt so angry with myself. How could I ever let this cross my mind? What was I going to do? What would my family think? What would my sponsor think? Vaughn, my family and myself took 2 weeks talking about what choices I had but at the end of the day, the decision was mine and mine alone.
It took a doctors visit to realize that there was only one choice and that was to keep my baby. It was what I’ve prayed for and couldn’t have asked for anyone better to be the dad. All these things happen for a reason. Now the big moment and the question: “Why can’t I be a mom and still play golf?” Women all over the world work a 9-5 job and still raise their children. My mom was one of them.
My next challenge was to tell my sponsor. I have never been so nervous in my life as this was what I’ve worked so hard for. My season was starting and needed to find the right time to tell them. The longer I waited, the worse my golf got. Eventually I plucked up the courage and told Dhiren and his response floored me. He was excited for us and informed me that: ” you will always have your place with the PinkStig Dream Team and you know you family now” said Dhiren. They supported me from the day I met them in 2016 and support me beyond my expectations.
Now the challenge was to try keep my emotions and physical body under control during my tournaments. It was tough to keep things quiet as my competitors could see a change. No more celebratory drinks after events and a change in eating patterns. All that was going through my head was, ‘what can I do to stop this morning sickness?’ and ‘why aren’t there enough toilets on the golf course?’ My whole season was played in my first trimester. The morning sickness was my greatest challenge, which also made flying tough. Traveling back and forth for 10 consecutive weeks was really beginning to take its toll on me and my mood swings were hard to keep up with. How Vaughn can still look at me today the way he did when we first met surprises me.
My season ended in March and I couldn’t have been more relieved. I was finally able to take a breath and get some well deserved rest. It was an extremely tough season as I thought it was going to be my best but turned out to be my worst. Playing 3 rounds of golf for 10 consecutive weeks is hard work for most of us but adding pregnancy to the mix, makes it twice as hard. As well as a growing belly.
I don’t regret playing my season. I gave it everything I had and wouldn’t change a thing. I love what I do. I will never give up. My next season starts in January 2018 again and my beautiful baby girl will be going on 5 months old. My wonderful parents have always made themselves available to watch me play golf and are happy to push the pram around the course at the same time.
My biggest fear was that I would always hold a grudge against my daughter as I originally felt that my golf career was over. I now thank her everyday for making me realize I can do it all and I’ve never given up. I can be a professional mommy. I look forward to the day that I can walk the lush green fairways with my daughter by my side.
By the way guys I am now writing for UniMedia and I will be following your progress as you continue to fly the SA flag internationally and offcourse looking forward working at the Sun PinkStig Series, which will kick off in July 2017.
written by Michelle Leigh PinkStig Pro & Player Media Liaison