Ruthy Hebard is a mom.
In one fell swoop on Sunday, the Chicago Sky forward announced her surprise offseason pregnancy and the birth of baby boy Xzavier Reid, born on April 11.
Hebard, who trained throughout her pregnancy, was playing overseas when she found out she was pregnant, she said in a short film released in conjunction with Togethxr,
“I played overseas. It was definitely very different than anything else I’ve experienced,” she said. “I was playing 30, 35 minutes a game and I was like, ‘Okay, I feel like I’m getting bigger and I probably shouldn’t be getting bigger if I’m playing all game, every game and working out, you know?’”
Hebard said she didn’t have any morning sickness or cravings, and her first pregnancy test came back negative so she continued to play basketball.
“And then, I took my next test when I got home and that’s when I got the positive test that said I was pregnant,” she said. “And then I went to the doctor and found out that I was pretty far along. More far along than I thought I would be.”
By the time she found out about her pregnancy, she already was five or six months along. Looking back, Hebard believes her experience was “meant to be.”
While she felt nervous before telling Sky coach James Wade about her pregnancy, the team was happy to hear the news, Hebard said. Wade also encouraged her to have the baby in Chicago, which is where she was born before being adopted and raised in Alaska.
She also knew it would be easier to make the transition back to basketball if she were with the Sky throughout the process.
“And then just having him here, me being born here, I think it’s just all kind of full circle,” she said.
Hebard was present for the opening day of Sky training camp Sunday, with her son in tow, and she already has been working to get back into basketball shape. She intends to start weight training again this week, and while there is no timetable for her return to basketball activities, Hebard told Togethxr she aims to return to the court for the Sky in May.
“That’s my goal. I’m competitive. I want to be back on the floor,” she said. “I want to be back for my teammates too, just be back for them and just being confident in myself and in my body that I would play in May.”
She also is hoping that being around a team of strong women athletes will help rub off on her newborn.
“I’m just excited to have these strong women around him for him to see and there’s a bunch of strong men around,” Hebard said Sunday. “It takes strong men to work with women in sports so [Xzavier] seeing a great environment is something that I’m happy about.
“Today was awesome. I think everybody was just happy to be here and there was so much youthful energy which was great. The locker room is already fun and I’m really excited for this team.”