Kerri Walsh, known as “Six-feet of Sunshine,” and her partner Misty May-Treanor are called “the greatest beach volleyball team of all time.” So what’s next to perfect? How about “back-to-back” babies in one year? No sweat for the 31-year-old mother of Joey, 9 months, who is due to give birth to her second son within weeks!
The accomplished Olympic athlete opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about how she plans to train for the 2012 London Olympics 4 weeks postnatal, how motherhood has been the “greatest blessing” of her life and how she used a wet nurse with Joey after 3 months of breastfeeding.
CBS: You and your husband, fellow beach volleyball player Casey Jennings, are parents to 9-month-old son Joseph. How has motherhood been so far?
KW: “Motherhood is the greatest blessing I’ve ever experienced and I’ve had so many beautiful blessings in my life. Coming from a relatively large family I thought I knew how special it would be, but I was no where close. Being a mother is the ultimate and so much fun!”
CBS: How has motherhood changed you?
KW: “I feel like motherhood has allowed me to finally be and accept me. It truly has completed me or in the very least, it has given me the inspiration and confidence to find myself outside of the athlete label; it has opened me up to becoming the woman I truly aspire to be because I want to be the best for my family. I allowed myself to be in the dark for too long, incomplete for too long…..I’m on my way and won’t stop–ever!
I feel like I’ve simply been a girl and an athlete for so long and I got stuck in that rut–not a terrible rut to be in, but not a lot of profound personal/character growth or introspection going on. During my pregnancy and since becoming a mother, I have found myself confronting so many things about myself that I would like to improve upon, to let go of. I’m also learning to finally accept myself and it has been so transformational. I am simultaneously more open to the world around me and the ultimate student while so clear on what it is that I want in my life, who I want to be. Motherhood is empowering and so is being the wife to an amazing, supportive husband/father.”
CBS: Tell us about baby Joey. What is he into? What does he do to make you laugh?
KW: “Words will never do Joey justice. He is so pure and beautiful and unique. He’s 10 months (as of 3/22) and definitely finding his ‘voice’ and forming definite opinions on life. He’s very active, very curious, loves to be outside, loves anything with wheels, loves older kids and loves his mama and poppa. He has a very sweet heart, big beautiful blue eyes (like daddy) and the cutest dimples I’ve ever seen. He’s going to be a fantastic big brother.”
CBS: You and Casey are expecting your second child, who will be born exactly one year after Joey was born!! Did you feel overwhelmed being pregnant again right away?
KW: “Having our first two children ‘back to back’ was definitely our dream from the start. Both Casey and I are very close in age to our nearest siblings and neither of us would have traded that for the world. I personally feel that it was the best gift my parents could have given me (aside from the loving marriage and partnership they raised all of us in–they just celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary!) And we wanted to give that to our kids.
I’ve been blessed to have two very easy pregnancies (knock on wood!) So I’ve never been overwhelmed with it. That being said, I’ve been getting more and more nervous about becoming a mother of two. I know that it will all fall in place and be as it should, but I worry about having enough for both my boys. I never want to be lacking for them. My excitement far outweighs my fears by a million percent. I guess I am trying to prepare myself for the awesome responsibility that lies before me and however amazing I know in my heart it will be, I’m still a little scared to not be enough.”
CBS: Have you been exhausted?
KW: “I’m definitely more tired this time around. Being a mom is the ultimate full time job!”
CBS: You became pregnant just a few months after Joey’s birth. Were you breastfeeding?
KW: “I only breastfed Joey for 3 months which was my minimum goal. My girlfriend acted as my wet nurse and was kind and generous enough to share her milk with us. It was such a beautiful gift. I had Joey May 22nd, had my first cycle in August and got pregnant right away. I guess August is our month.”
CBS: Were you surprised?
KW: “I was and I wasn’t. I was because it all happened so casually but I wasn’t because both my husband and I wanted it to be. I felt ready in my mind, body and soul and it all came together. I feel remarkably blessed to have gotten pregnant so quickly and easily. I know it’s not always the case and I know what a miracle it all is. I feel like it was God saying ‘here you go guys. you deserve this dream.’”
CBS: Do you know the gender of the baby?
KW: “Baby boy #2 is due at the end of May (May 30th, 2010) 8 days after Joey was born.”
CBS: Any names picked out yet?
KW: “We’ll save that for later, but yes we do have a lovely name picked out.”
CBS: Are you feeling a bit nervous about having 2 under 2 very soon?
KW: “I am absolutely very nervous about having two babies so young and so close in age. I am, however, so ready for the challenge that lays before me. I have an amazing partner in my husband, we both have beautiful families who are so generous with their time and love and we have a great support system of friends. We are preparing ourselves for temporary madness!”
CBS: Do you have child care or other supports in place?
KW: “Right now we have an amazing nanny that comes twice a week. She loves Joey so much and we are so grateful for her presence in our lives. Once I start to train again we will need more help, but I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to work. The wonderful thing about our profession is that we arrange our own schedules, have a lot of freedom and flexibility and we are home a lot. This being said, both my husband and i want to win gold medals in the 2012 London Olympics, so we will definitely need our support system to be tight and on board as we chase our dreams as a family.
We will bring a family member with us when we travel to our tournaments. Our boys will come with us everywhere, so having extra family on the road with us will allow us some huge peace of mind that our boys will be loved and well taken care of while Casey and I compete. My mother and little sister have offered their services which is awesome!”
CBS: You and your teammate, Misty May-Treanor, won gold medals in beach volleyball at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. What is your personal mantra?
KW: “Dream big! Believe in yourself. Preparation is key. Take risks and get out of your comfort zone. Breathe. Pause.”
CBS: How do you rise above the nerves of the Olympics and go for gold?
KW: “It’s not so much about rising above as it is accepting the nerves. I am an anxious person by nature (hence “pause” as once of my mantras/reminders), and have learned that the butterflies in my tummy will always be there. Butterflies are good luck, so I look at it as a positive!
Seriously though, working as hard as I can and preparing myself as well as possible really takes the edge off the nerves. If I feel prepared then it’s way easier to let go and play. If I’m not, that’s when I think too much and get in my own way. Also, Misty is a great help in this area. She always projects such a calm demeanor, even when her butterflies are huge, which is helpful to me.”
CBS: You and Misty have been called “the greatest beach volleyball team of all time.” How did you two come to be teammates?
KW: “We became teammates in 2001 after the Sydney Olympics. Misty was looking for a new partner, I was just starting my professional career and timing worked out perfectly. Our parents spoke in Sydney about Misty and I setting up a training session to see if we had any potential. I flew down to Huntington Beach. We played for a few hours, had a lot of fun and the rest is history.”
CBS: Why are you two so well matched?
KW: “Misty and I share common goals, and a common work ethic. We trust and respect each other. We have a natural chemistry together that was there on that first day in 2001. And we both have an unstoppable desire to be the best we can be. We push each other to be better and we always know that regardless of past success we have so much more to accomplish and so much more to improve upon. Also, we both truly love the game of beach volleyball.”
CBS: Are you and Misty planning to compete at the next Olympics?
KW: “My goal and dream is to play in and win a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics with Misty.”
CBS: When do you plan to get back to training once baby No. 2 comes?
KW: “I’m planning on taking 4 weeks off after #2 comes (per Dr.’s orders) and then will get back to it. I can’t wait to get back to the court!”
CBS: And are you working out during your pregnancy?
KW: “My workouts provide me with a certain amount of sanity and peace, so I make it a priority. I hope to come back to the tour by mid-August so I’m looking at the workouts I’m putting in right now, as my first step toward getting back to competition. We’ll see how the juggling act goes with 2 babies. If it’s too much andI don’t feel adequately prepared I will postpone my return until 2011, but my hope is that Casey and I can begin our dream toward the London Olympics with our boys in tow by the end of summer (he’ll already have started his dream–it’ll be my job to play catch up!).”
CBS: Have you consulted with Gabby Reece, fellow volleyball star, about pregnancy and post-pregnancy workouts?
KW: “Gabby has become such dear person in my life. She is a friend, role model, inspiration and an amazing sounding board for me. She has managed to balance her family, career and happiness and that to me is such an inspiring thing. Gabby has helped me with great advice in so many different areas of my life from workouts to career moves, mommy advice to womanly advice. She’s awesome!”
CBS: Did you enjoy watching any of the Winter Olympics that were recently in Vancouver?
KW: “I love the Olympics and am obviously a huge Team USA fan. I watched as much as I could but definitely not enough. I love the stories behind the stories that NBC provides. They always serve as such inspiration to me.”
CBS: Do you and Casey want your children to be volleyball stars like you?
KW: “Casey and I want our children to be whatever they want to be. We assume they will be sports minded since we both love sports so much, but we won’t put any pressure on them. Art, music, sport, medicine– the sky is the limit!”
CBS: You have appeared on CSI: Miami. Are you hoping to get into more acting?
KW: “Misty is the one with the acting chops. I had one line when we did CSI: Miami and there was one word in that line. I can’t tell you how nervous I was. I’m shocked I was able to move my lips!”
CBS: If you are working on any other projects or with any charities, please feel free to discuss.
KW: “My foundation CHASE THE STARS is very near and dear to my heart. We raise money for children’s charities. We’ve worked with numerous children’s hospitals, Ronald McDonald Houses, Boy and Girls Clubs, Shriner hospital– so many amazing charities that do so much good for children and family in need. Our goal at CTS is to encourage kids to chase their dreams and to provide them with the support and inspiration they will need to do so. Another foundation I work closely with is the Good Tidings Foundation located in the Bay Area. Check out their website because they always have wonderful and exciting things going on.”
Check out the thumbnails of Kerri’s favorite family shots. In Kerri’s words….
“To explain the pics a bit and this is off the top of my head…
- Pic of me sitting on bed w big belly is the day Joey was born and I was in labor. Having a contraction at that moment.
- Pic of me in black pants and sports bra is this pregnancy at about 28 weeks
- Pic of joey on red pillow was when he was 3 days old
- Pic of his face only & serious looking is 5 days (one of my favorites)
- The pic of joey in his “moms love me” shirt is the most recent (10 mos). Taken a few hours after his hernia surgery.
- The pic of me in a bikini taking joey from my hubby was from my 1st event back and we were handing joey off after my match & before Casey’s.”