WNBA player Skylar Diggins-Smith took to Twitter over the weekend to express her frustrations with the league after facing criticism for taking the 2019 season off to deal with postpartum depression.
The four-time WNBA All-Star who currently plays point guard for the Dallas Wings, welcomed a son with her husband Daniel in April. Since her son’s birth Diggins-Smith has focused on retaining her strength, with a strong emphasis on her mental health.
“Having no support from your own organization is unfortunate,” she tweeted on Saturday evening.
“The blasts that disrespect of mothers (and our rights) in the WNBA is incredible. I can’t wait until you hear my story FROM ME!” she continued in a now deleted tweet.
“People called me a quitter, said I gave up on my team, etc., etc. Not knowing I took two FULL Months away from everything because of postpartum depression. With limited resources to help me be successful mentally/physically. But just wait though…KEEP THAT SAME ENERGY.”
“I played the ENTIRE season pregnant last year! All star, and led league (top 3-5) in MPG…didn’t tell a soul,” she wrote.
Diggins-Smith’s revelation is undoubtedly upsetting as it becomes evidently clear that female athletes face separate challenges from their male counterparts. It evokes the imagery of Serena Williams winning the Australian Open in 2018, with the public totally unaware of her first pregnancy.
The physical and mental labor of feeling the need to hide your pregnancy in order to be taken seriously as an athlete adds to the mental anguish female sportsmen face.
In a preseason interview with The Dallas Morning News, Skylar spoke candidly regarding her feelings about returning to the court.
“You miss the game, and you miss being around this big passion of yours,” Diggins-Smith said. “But you have something in your life that kind of takes precedence over everything, and it puts everything into perspective to just have fun and enjoy every moment.”
Hopefully the WNBA and the Dallas Wings organization will take time to address Diggins-Smith’s concerns and take action to make sure that their players are supported through the joyful and difficult transitions life can bring.