Stephanie Louden, LPGA player, is a mom with an infant, a life development that has actually improved her game, she says.
From the time she was a toddler, it was clear that Stephanie Louden was something of a golf prodigy. A four-time All American at Stanford University, she traveled to England as a member of the 2000 Curtis Cup United States Team. Just a year after graduation, she qualified for the LPGA tour on her first attempt. Louden has been on the tour for the past seven years, finishing eight times within the Top 20.
She spoke with TravelingMom.com Founder Kim Orlando about her family, her career, and the challenges that being both a full-time athlete and a full-time mom present in her daily life, particularly as she tours the country on the high-stakes LPGA tour.
TMOM: Does the fact that you and your husband, Mike, are both golfers help your relationship?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: It definitely helps. Both of us understand the schedule, the competition, and the pressure of the tour. It’s something we have in common, which is nice.
TMOM: And now you have a baby?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: Yes, a little boy. His name is Lucas Micah and he’s almost a year old.
TMOM: Did the two of you worry about how a baby would affect your careers?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: Me more than my husband. I wondered how I would balance motherhood with golf. I kept thinking, is this the right time? But eventually we concluded that there really is no right time. And of course we didn’t know how long it might take us to conceive. So we decided to just go for it.
TMOM: How long was it before you became pregnant?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: About six months. I actually found out I was pregnant while on the golf course.
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: Yeah. I was playing a tournament in Portland, Ore., and found out I was pregnant right after the first round.
TMOM: Did you continue playing once you found out?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: For the first three months, yes.
TMOM: What was it like to be out there once you knew you were pregnant?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: Well, I knew I’d better play some really good golf now that I’d have another mouth to feed. Seriously, though – it was interesting. It was a little scary, thinking about how much my life was going to change, but every time I thought about the life starting inside me I just got so excited.
TMOM: Did you miss the tour once you had to stop playing?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: I did, although in a way it was a nice break. My golf game has me traveling constantly, so I’d never been at home for that long a stretch. I decided to just take advantage of the time and enjoy it.
TMOM: How long after Lucas was born did you start playing again?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: He was a little more than 2 months old.
TMOM: So soon? Was that difficult?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: Well, I had great motivation. Besides wanting to get back into a physical groove, I knew my husband would be rejoining the tour as a caddy. So I wanted us all to be together.
TMOM: How did you get back into shape physically?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: I did a lot of Pilates stuff when I was home. It really helped me to lose weight and stay strong.
TMOM: How did you prepare to take the family on the road?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: I had help from a lot of other moms who have played on the tour like Leta Lindley and Catriona Matthew. One of my biggest concerns was figuring out what baby stuff I really needed to bring. You go to these baby stores and they’re so overwhelming. But my group of tour moms was great – they really clued me in on what I needed and helped me avoid the excess. And now I’m part of this cool little sub-group within the tour – the golf moms. Their knowledge and support are invaluable.
Read more about Stephanie’s return to the golf course.