Canberra Capitals' Abby Bishop shows off the new 'mascot' Zala was there for every match and she will be in the stands again as the Capitals take on the Melbourne Boomers on Saturday and the Dandenong oakley polarized lenses Rangers on Sunday.
There are athlete mums spread through the WNBL and female sport, but Bishop's situation is unique. In the past five months she's been on a rapid journey from international basketballer to 25 year old mother. Her sister agreed to have Bishop look after Zala. They are in regular contact about Zala's life, sharing photos, videos and video phone calls to share Zala's growth and changes. Despite skipping the nine month pregnancy, Bishop, a 2012 Olympian, has embraced her overnight single mum status. The lifestyle change and sleepless nights took their toll at the start Bishop admits she was stressed and lost weight. But she has recovered and plans to have children of her own in the future. "They do say you get a mother's instinct when you're pregnant. I used to be a nanny," Bishop grins. "I've always loved kids, and the switch just goes on. Even though I didn't carry Zala for nine months, the switch did go on for me. "Plus, Google is great as well. She's been a really good baby." Zala has become the Capitals' "team baby" and mascot, joining the players on gruelling road trips, heartbreaking defeats and unexpected wins on a rollercoaster campaign. Bishop's boyfriend lives in Wollongong, her mum is based in rural Queensland and her sister is in Darwin. It means Zala sits in her pram at the Belconnen Basketball Stadium when the Capitals train. If she gets restless, coach Carrie Graf, a new mother to twins born by IVF, steps in as babysitter and perches Zala on her shoulder while barking orders on the court. When the Capitals are on the road, relatives and friends of teammates or opponents take Zala during the game. Ten minutes after the match, Bishop is back in control. "The one thing about Abby is she's got a can do attitude. She battled on, sucked it up and is now a single parent," Graf said. "She's handled it with absolute aplomb. It's one of her strengths, she grits her teeth and gets it done. "It's not an easy situation. Not a lot of people could take on those parenting duties and it's an absolute credit to her." Bishop's focus turned from basketball to 3am feedings, sleepless nights and baby proofing her life. Raising buy cheap oakleys a child and juggling basketball hasn't affected Bishop's on court performance. The 190 oakley sale off centimetre forward averages a team high 17.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this season.
"It is hard and I know there are a lot of single mums out there struggling along and I buy oakleys online don't want sympathy. But for me, I'm lucky that I get paid to play basketball for a living," Bishop said.
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