Natalie Achonwa, a WNBA vet and Canadian women’s national team captain, faced the challenges of returning to play after having her first child. She endured the complexities of being a professional athlete, a mother, and a Black woman, all while advocating for better support for mothers in sports. She competed in the FIBA 2022 World Cup while pregnant, emphasizing her determination to earn her spot on the Paris 2024 Olympic team. Achonwa was pivotal in negotiating a landmark CBA for the WNBPA, securing advancements for mothers in the league but acknowledging that more improvements are needed. Despite systemic threats and societal hurdles, she remains committed to impacting and educating people about these issues through her career. Her journey reflects the physical and mental toll of returning to elite-level competition while raising a child, but she is fueled by the prospect of making life easier for working moms in sports and society.

By the Numbers
  • Achonwa competed in the FIBA 2022 World Cup during her first trimester of pregnancy.
  • The 2020 CBA negotiated by Achonwa and the WNBPA included guaranteed maternity leave with full pay and other advancements for mothers in the league.
State of Play
  • Achonwa continues to advocate for better support for mothers in sports and society, recognizing the ongoing need for improvements.
  • She remains committed to impacting and educating people about the challenges faced by working moms, especially in the context of systemic threats and societal hurdles.
What's Next

As Achonwa prepares for the Olympics in Paris, she remains dedicated to creating a more supportive environment for working moms in sports and society, serving as a trailblazer for future generations of women.

Bottom Line

Natalie Achonwa's journey exemplifies the challenges and triumphs of returning to elite-level competition after becoming a mother. Her advocacy for better support for working moms in sports and society underscores the ongoing need for improvements, as she continues to pave the way for future generations of women in athletics.