WNBA Player Skylar Diggins-Smith Plays Season Pregnant — And Nobody Knew!

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Who Is Skylar Diggins-Smith? New Details On WNBA Player Who Played Season Pregnant Without Anyone Finding Out

In 2017, Serena Williams became the first tennis player to win a major tournament while pregnant. She found out she was expecting just before heading to Sydney where she went on to win the Australian Open.  

In a Williams-worthy accomplishment, Skylar Diggins-Smith just let the world know that she played an entire season of professional basketball while she was pregnant and only told people after the season ended.

The Dallas Wings guard was on maternity leave for the 2019 season and says she's was taking the time to learn how to be a mom. In September, she headed back into training with USA Basketball to prep for the upcoming 2020 Olympics and she's scheduled to be a free agent for the 2020 season. But in a surprising series of tweets this week, she has slammed critics and even the Wings organization for being unsupportive of her, referring to mental health struggles she had following the birth of her son in April. She doesn't say what set off the tweetstorm but she's clearly feeling ill-treated by management. The team isn't commenting on the specifics.

Now fans are wondering what's going on with WNBA All-Star and how it will affect her future in the league. Who is Skylar Diggins-Smith?

1. Skylar Diggins-Smith

Diggins-Smith is a basketball powerhouse. Sher WNBA bio says that she grew up in South Bend, Indiana and was a leader on her high school basketball team, with a 26-1 record one year. With 2,790 career points in high school, she is the third-highest scoring high school women's player in state history. She went on to Notre Dame where she was a three-time All American player and led Notre Dame to NCAA title games as a sophomore and junior. She was drafted third overall in 2013 and went to the Tulsa Shock before the team moved to Dallas and became the Wings. She's been chosen for the WNBA All-Star team twice.

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2. Her personal life

Her husband is another Notre dame athlete. Daniel Smith played football for the Irish while his future wife was tearing up the basketball court. Smith is also a South Bend native but the two didn't know each other until college when they started dating. After graduation, he followed Skylar to Tulsa then Dallas, where he set up his own art studio. The couple married in 2017. 

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3. A secret pregnancy

Diggins-Smith announced her pregnancy in October 2018 and followed up with news of the birth of her son in April 2019. For anyone who can do the math, that pretty much confirmed that she had been playing pregnant during the 2018 season. Fans may have been surprised that she kept her pregnancy off their radar but everyone admits playing an entire basketball season at the all-star level while growing another human in your body is pretty badass. 

But in one of her tweets Friday, the Wings guard said no one knew that she was expecting. The implication of the tweet is that she also didn't tell the front office of her team. Not telling fans is one thing but keeping a medical event like this secret from the team raises questions. Was she worried that she might be benched or otherwise discriminated against because she was pregnant? No one from the Wings is saying anything and Diggins-Smith hasn't elaborated on her statement. 

She kept her pregnancy hidden at work.

4. Facing postpartum depression

In another tweet, Diggins-Smith shared that she had suffered from postpartum depression and she had needed months to regain her equilibrium following the onset of the mental health condition. She complained that people were criticizing her without realizing what she was going through. "People called me a quitter, said I gave up on my team, etc., etc. Not knowing I took two FULL months away from everything because of postpartum depression. With limited resources to help me be successful mentally/physically," she tweeted.

Postpartum depression is a mental health condition that sets in for some people in the weeks after having a new baby. The Mayo Clinic website notes that symptoms vary but can include difficulty bonding with baby, withdrawing from family and friends, feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy, diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions, or severe anxiety and panic attacks. People who experience postpartum depression benefit from medical and psychological treatment. It can take time to overcome any kind of depression and having support for the situation is very important.  

She suffered from postpartum depression.

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5. Cannot comment on the treatment

Diggins-Smith's jab about having limited mental health resources raised some eyebrows and people have asked the team what kind of support they give to players struggling with mental health issues. "We support our athletes in getting the care they need, whether that's physical or mental in nature," Team President and CEO Greg Bibb said in his statement Saturday. "We also understand the serious nature of an individual's mental health."

Bibb explained that the team has a psychologist on staff who works with players individually and as a group but he can't share more information than that. "Due to the confidentiality associated with seeking mental health care, unless an athlete provided explicit consent to the psychologist," Bibb said, "We are not provided any information regarding individual sessions or related care. As a result of this confidentiality, and out of respect for privacy, I can't comment on any individual situation."

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6. A real change of face

It isn't clear what triggered Diggins-Smiths online revelations. A month ago she was saying nothing but positive things about her return to the court and her maternity leave. In an interview with USA Basketball, she said "That’s definitely been an adjustment,” she said. “Just trying to work out, and it’s definitely been a balance that comes with that, but it’s been amazing. It definitely takes some time. It takes a lot of patience, but it’s really just about enjoying your experience with your child and motherhood. "

She also indicated she was looking forward to working out with the squad preparing for the 2020 Olympics. Moreover, she made no secret that she wanted to keep playing pro ball. "I just want to have fun and I think different opportunities are going to pop up,” she said. “I think it’s just taking it day by day and just seeing what I love and what’s in the game." 

7. What does the future hold?

Diggins-Smith has been on leave all season and is scheduled to be a free agent in 2020. ESPN notes that under current contract rules, the team can exercise an option to  "give [her] the 'core player' designation instead, which would prevent her from being a free agent for 2020 and guarantee her a max salary with the Wings." However, the players union is renegotiating the collective bargaining agreement and those rules might change.

It's unknown if her contract is the reason behind her tweets and hasn't tweeted any more details about her personal or professional life since Saturday

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.