Katrina Gorry's baby news: "I was actually in quarantine at the time."
In round three, Katrina Gorry scored a long-range rocket to open the scoring for Brisbane Roar in the Westfield W-League.
She was mobbed by her entire team in celebration, even goalkeeper Georgina Worth came up.
Fans thought perhaps the big celebration was due to the goal being Gorry’s first in the league since 2017. But there was a much bigger, more exciting reason at play. Gorry had recently told her team mates she was pregnant.
“It was pretty exciting for me to know that the girls had my back on the field no matter what.” Gorry told matildas.com.au.
“I think scoring that goal against Canberra kind of was the icing on the cake for me. That's why everyone ran and celebrated with me because they knew how special that moment was for me. It's definitely moments like that, that I'll cherish for the rest of my life.”
Gorry has always wanted to be a mum. She found out that dream would become a reality in a way that perfectly summarises the world’s new normal.
“I took a pregnancy test. I was actually in quarantine at the time.” Gorry admitted.
“It was hard because I took it too early. And it came back negative, which I was pretty sad about but then knew I had taken it way too early.”
More tests returned positive results – faintly at first, but stronger with each additional test.
“We talk about moments in football and how special they are. But I don't think anything will really compare to that moment of seeing the two solid lines and knowing that it was a positive.”
For the 28-year-old, 2021 was earmarked as a year she would try and get pregnant. The original four year cycle of international football meant this year would be an ‘off’ one with no major tournaments.
“Obviously, with the Olympics being pushed back, it threw a spanner in the works a little bit. We as athletes base our life on four year cycles. So that was kind of hard.”
Pandemic aside, the nature of IVF also meant there was potential for more spanners in the works. There are no guarantees the treatment will work immediately.
“I knew that IVF wasn't 100%, so I knew that it could take a few treatments. If I fell pregnant the first go, then that was what was meant to be and unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to be in contention for the Olympics. But I decided that I would try and see what happens. And I was lucky to fall pregnant first go.”
Family is everything to Gorry. And she has an incredible support network around her who know exactly what she’s going through. Her sister gave birth only a few months ago and her sister in law is also pregnant.
“I have such a big family. I've kind of always been around kids and I love having such a big family. I've got a little niece, two nephews, and another one on the way. So for me, I really wanted to be a young mum. But I also wanted to have my kids be close to their cousins as well. And then to watch them grow up and have each other for support.”
It’s also meant that Gorry has had people there to answer her questions and reassure her that all the changes she's currently experiencing are normal. Even when some of the changes are bigger and weirder than others.
“I don't think I realized how quickly your body can change. Cravings are weird. I was a vegan and all I craved was meat. Now I eat meat. And also I think being an athlete and having these cravings has been really hard to adapt to. You crave salty, carby food. I tried to make myself salads and I'd look at them and want to be sick. So it is a really strange feeling.”
“As an athlete, seeing your body change so quickly is definitely hard. But I've been reminded just to enjoy it because it is I've always been fascinated by pregnancy. I think it's something incredibly cool that the human body can build a baby and then feed the baby and keep it alive. I think it's incredibly cool. And I'm just really excited to experience it all and just enjoy every moment.”
Previously, having a family and being a woman playing football at the highest level wasn’t particularly compatible. Players in essence had to decide between the sport they loved and starting a family; the two were mutually exclusive.
But players around the world are showing that you can physically come back from pregnancy, and there is now more structural support for pregnant players and new parents than ever before.
“I always thought, okay, I want to finish football early if I want to start a family. And then I kind of re-evaluated that a few years ago and thought, ‘wait, I can have a child or children and come back to football and it still be there’.”
“I wanted to have a family and then continue with my football family. So I think that's something that athletes are realising now. And I think it's really important that we don't have to finish up, we can continue to play and be supported by our football family or the family of code that we're in.”
“So that's the plan at the moment is to have the baby and get back to football and I feel really supported in that plan and hopefully it happens.”
Both Brisbane Roar and the Westfield Matildas are a big part of that plan to return to the pitch.
“I know that getting back to football will require me to stay fit. And I know that I have the support of the Brisbane team and also the Matildas to do that. I have access to all the strength and conditioning coaches, to the dietician and everything like that, which I think will be hugely important for my return to football.”