When ESPN, the most dominant sports media company in the country, laid off about 100 people last month, many sports fans and observers decried the move. One couldn’t help notice that while ESPN was bidding billions of dollars for the rights to show the NBA, NFL, MLB, and college football, the network was dismissing some of the best journalists the company had produced.
But former ESPN anchor Sara Walsh has a different take. Walsh made news about a week after the initial layoffs when it was revealed that she had been let go after returning from maternity leave.
That certainly didn’t provide the best optics for ESPN, and plenty of people criticized the company for the seemingly cold-hearted decision.
But on Mother’s Day—her first as a mother—Walsh provided the following story about her pregnancy and how it came to be.
As she wrote on Instagram, it wasn’t easy for her to get and stay pregnant. Walsh wrote about suffering through a miscarriage while on the SportsCenter set and her husband having to text her hospital options during commercial breaks. She said it then got “worse”; after that loss, she went on to have two more failed pregnancies.
When she got pregnant with her twins last year, she opted to wear certain clothes and stand at certain angles on camera so she wouldn’t get asked about being pregnant again, in case she miscarried again.
It’s a personal read for any woman who has so badly wanted to be a mother.
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My mother bought them these onesies because she thought they were funny. For us, they're especially poignant. Finding a good egg didn't come easy for me, and I suspect there are many people out there facing the same struggle. • The road down a dark path began while hosting Sportscenter on the road from Alabama. I arrived in Tuscaloosa almost three months pregnant. I wouldn't return the same way. The juxtaposition of college kids going nuts behind our set, while I was losing a baby on it, was surreal. I was scared, nobody knew I was pregnant, so I did the show while having a miscarriage. On television. My husband had to watch this unfold from more than a thousand miles away, texting me hospital options during commercial breaks. • It would get worse. Two more failed pregnancies. More than once, I'd have surgery one day and be on SportsCenter the next so as not to draw attention to my situation. We then went down the IVF road of endless shots and procedures. After several rounds, we could only salvage two eggs. I refused to even use them for a long time, because I couldn't bear the idea of all hope being gone. I blew off pregnancy tests, scared to know if it worked. It had. Times two. • It was exciting news, but we knew better than to celebrate. So I spent a third straight football season pregnant, strategically picking out clothes and standing at certain angles, using scripts to hide my stomach. There would be no baby announcement, no shower, we didn't buy a single thing in preparation for the babies, because I wasn't sure they'd show up. We told very few people we were pregnant, and almost no one there were two. For those that thought I was weirdly quiet about my pregnancy, now you know why. • For as long as I can remember I hosted Sportscenter on Mother's Day. The last couple years doing that have been personally brutal. An hours-long reminder of everything that’s gone wrong. Finally, i was so looking forward to doing this show, on this day. But being layed off on maternity leave is just the next challenge I hope to overcome. Instead of being on tv I got to hang with these two good eggs. My ONLY good eggs. And I know how lucky I really am. #twins #ivf #2goodeggs
Though Walsh’s future as a broadcaster is uncertain, she knows that having these two eggs in her basket has made her world a better place.