Allyson Felix is pregnant and expecting her second child, the Olympic champion announced the day before Thanksgiving.
Felix, the most decorated U.S. track and field athlete in Olympic history, shared an Instagram post with her husband, Kenneth Ferguson, and daughter Camryn, who turns 5 on Nov. 28. Felix is holding a sonogram photo and Camryn holds a sign announcing that her baby brother is due in April.
Felix retired from sports in 2022, after winning 11 Olympic medals. She has become a passionate advocate for women in sports as well as for maternal health.
She experienced a traumatic birth with Camryn in 2018, and earlier this year she spoke out on the death of her track and field teammate Tori Bowie, who died of complications in childbirth.
In June, Felix said she would love to have another child.
“That’s something that I know for sure,” she wrote in an essay for Time magazine about Bowie's death. “But will I be here to raise that child? That’s a very real concern. And that’s a terrifying thing. This is America, in 2023, and Black women are dying while giving birth. It’s absurd.”
“I’m hopeful that things can get better,” Felix added.
The U.S. has the worst maternal mortality rate among industrialized nations, and the maternal mortality rate for Black women in the U.S. is more than double that of white, non-Hispanic women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Speaking to TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager in September, Felix said retiring from competition has been hard. She's now an entrepreneur, as co-creator of the brand Saysh, which makes running shoes specifically designed for women.
She said she really enjoys "the little things" of motherhood: "Taking her to school, and karate, and soccer practice, and hearing what's happening in her little day. I just really find so much joy from watching her grow."
Felix said her daughter has helped inspire her advocacy for women.
"She just really showed me and made me think about the world that she's going to grow up in," Felix told TODAY. "She's motivated me to keep pushing and not to accept the status quo."
Felix has battled for better policies for pregnant athletes. In 2019, she revealed in a New York Times op-ed that Nike said it would pay her 70% less than she earned before she became a mom, despite her accomplishments, and also said that the company wouldn't guarantee she wouldn’t be punished if she didn’t perform at her previous levels in the months around childbirth. The company later announced a new maternity policy that guaranteed an athlete’s pay and bonuses for 18 months surrounding pregnancy.
In a powerful photo Felix once posted to Instagram showing her C-section scar and her many medals, she recalled her personal journey.
"When you get knocked down, get back up," Felix wrote. "Be brave with your life because you’ll have an impact on people that you never thought was possible."
This article was originally published on TODAY.com