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New Mom Candace Parker Returns to the Court

07/05/2009 at 08:00 AM ET
David Sherman/NBAE/Getty

Candace Parker is headed back to the basketball court tonight after welcoming daughter Lailaa Nicole seven weeks ago. The LA Sparks’ forward recently rejoined her team for practices and admits that “it was great” to be playing again. “I was just really excited to practice so I treated it like a game almost because you miss it. I’ve been away from basketball for nine months, 10 months really, so it’s great to be back on the court.”

When she’s not preparing for her comeback, Candace has been soaking up time with her little girl.

“It’s been the best thing ever. My husband [NBA star Shelden Williams] and I really enjoy watching our daughter grow. It’s amazing how much they change in a short amount of time. She makes me smile every day.”

Making the end of her maternity leave easier is fellow teammate Lisa Leslie, who Candace has been going to for advice. Lisa, who is mom to two-year-old Lauren Jolie, knows what it is like to trying to get back on the court and juggle both basketball and motherhood. “We talk all the time about everything, the baby, nursing, nanny, travel, everything,” shared Lisa. “I feel honored to be a mentor to Candace. She has a great network of people around her like I did and that’s what helps you.”

Candace and the Sparks face off against the Phoenix Mercury this evening at 6:30.

Source: Associated Press

– Angela

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Showing 16 comments

Sharon on

its so nice to see a celebrity taking a decent amount of maternity leave to spend with their child not the usual couple weeks!

Sanja on

Sharon are you serious ‘decent amount of maternity leave’!? Where I live maternity leave is one year! 7 weeks is barely enough time to recuperate from the stiches and birth:-(

I know it’s more than some celebrities take off (Ana Ortiz anyone), but still!

Thrifty Sisters Coupon Clipping Service on

My husband and I don’t have any children so I have no idea what the normal amount of time is for maternity leave but 7 weeks doesn’t seem like nearly enough time. Besides letting yourself heal physically and emotionally, I couldn’t imagine leaving your newborn so soon. Of course that’s just my opinion!

fuzibuni on

maybe Sharon is assuming that the 9-10 months Candace mentioned didn’t include her pregnancy… which it did. Her daughter was born may 13th, which means she is less than two months old. hopefully she is only gone from her child very limited hours each day.

people should realize that leaving your child for extended amounts of time that early in life can cause attachment and development issues.

Sharon on

oh yes im sorry i read the article completely wrong i thought she had taken off 10 months after she had the baby! no i think 7 weeks is not a lot of time to spend with your baby at all!

Chris on

I think Candace is so amazing. I’m surprised she’s back to work so soon but mostly because of the nature of her job. Playing professional ball is very physical! But I’m sure she got clearance from her doctor. Also it sounds like she has a great support system and spends lots of time with her baby. I wonder how long her husband took off from his job after the baby was born. Maybe he’s playing Mr. Mom! :)

MZ on

Many women can’t take more than 4-6 weeks maternity leave here in the states. That’s all that work will allow. It’s great that you could take more time with your kids, Fizubuni (I’m assuming you did and that’s why you made that comment), but you should realize many women can’t afford to take more time (not talking about celebs here, but regular everyday women). I get to stay home with my son and I realize I am very lucky to be able to do that and definitely not the average woman.

Sanja on

MZ -I’m sure no one is attacking the mothers that have to go back to work after 6 weeks, since they have no choice if they want to keep their job.

But I feel that research showing that it’s detrimental to the children’s development should be pointed out at every opportunity, since that is the only way to get state regulations and employers’ rules changed (which they should definitely do in this case).

I’m not sure but as far as I know most countries in the Western world have longer maternity leave (+ most have paternity leave also included). Maybe someone has more info about it?

Sarah M. on

Sanja – I’m not sure where you’re from, but I had heard that in Canada the mom get 1 year paid maternity leave. In the US, as MZ mentioned, it is typically 4-6 weeks. I’ve even come across a few families that the mother had to go back to work as soon as 2 weeks after. (This subject also came up in an article about Jill Hennessey a few months back.) I’m not sure about other western countries, though. :)

Anna on

I personally think 7 weeks is too short. I hope she realizes that she can never get that time with her baby back, they grow so fast.

fuzibuni on

MZ,
I’m saying what most child development experts agree upon… that it’s best for babies to be close to their mothers at LEAST for the first two years while their brains and nervous systems are rapidly developing.

If infants are away from their moms for long periods of time their brains do not grow in the same way and they often have problems with attachment.
Many people think that is part of the reason why american kids have higher rates of developmental issues compared to other ‘first world’ countries.

It is a sad state of affairs that many women in the US are not able to stay home with their babies and those who are able to consider themselves “lucky.”

I do not have kids yet because I am not currently in a position to stay at home with them. I think it is unfair to both mother and child to be working so soon after giving birth. It creates a lot of stress for both of them, and I just don’t understand why women would have kids only to put them in daycare at a month or two old. And while friends and family are wonderful resources for short term care, they cannot replace the comfort a child feels with their mother.

I imagine this will draw criticism from many women who have had to go back to work after 4 or 6 weeks… but so be it.
I wish more women would consider this issue before they decide to have kids.

Lorus on

If someone has the financial means to stay home then I definitely think that they should with their baby. 7 weeks is way too young in my opinion to head back to work. She’s got money and I’m sure staying home for another 6 months wouldn’t set back her career.

Sam & Freya's Mum on

Anna and Fuzibuni: ITA with both of you.

Crystal on

Candace Parker is quickly becoming one of my favorite athlete moms! I ♥ her and her family! I CAN’T WAIT to see pictures of Lailaa! I’ll be she’s BEAUTIFUL!!!

Crystal on

I just wanted to say one more thing. I totally agree with MZ! Some mother’s cannot afford to take more than 4-6 weeks off from there jobs. I understand what some of the posters are saying but two years out of the work force is nearly impossible for some. I think you do what works for you and your family. A happy mother is a happy baby! PERIOD!!

CelebBabyLover on

Crystal- Right on! Also, for some women, if they waited until they were in a position to stay home with their kids, they might never have kids! Some women need to work, period!

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