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Why Aussie women's sport needs to talk about fertility

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Why Aussie women's sport needs to talk about fertility

In recent days, two-time Australian Open Champion Naomi Osaka publicly expressed her disappointment at her early exit from the Grand Slam after just returning to the court after giving birth to her first child in July 2023.

Returning from a year away from the sport, Osaka gave weight to the nuanced situation she's in -- an athlete at the top of her athletic powers who has just used the same body to grow a human being.

"Of course, I have to tell myself, 'hey, like six months ago you were pregnant' and stuff like that. And of course, there's a voice in my head that's like, who are you to think you can come back and immediately start winning matches... but I don't know, I kind of always expect myself to stand a chance anyway," she said in a post-match interview.

"So, I guess just being nicer to myself is a key thing that I learned in my time away."

It's a well-trodden path, but one which most female athletes have had to navigate alone.

The topic of childbirth, fertility, reproductive health, and the impact that the stressors of being an athlete put on them are often overlooked in the media and underrepresented in contracts and discussions in sporting clubs.

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By Rachel Howells - Sport New Zealand

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