"Talking about him brings tears of joy" - Afy Fletcher opens up about motherhood
"Talking about him brings a tear … tears of joy….”. These are the world from Afy Fletcher as she speaks about her newborn son. The West Indies allrounder is a proud mother, overjoyed and excited as she had a warm and friendly chat with to teammate Anisa Mohammed.
They spoke in New Zealand as the team had a camp ahead of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.
Afy said: “It was love at first sight… the kind of love you really can’t explain. It was a joy, so excited to meet the little one…”
She took leave from West Indies cricket duty in July 2021, as she welcomed a bouncing baby boy, Audee Rennie. She explained to Anisa that with support from her family, her partner, his family and Cricket West Indies, she overcame several challenges during her pregnancy.
“There were a couple scary moments … the challenges I faced at the end in the delivery room. My blood pressure was sky high. It was tough, and it took me a while to get back there (fit to play). I got assistance from the team’s trainer, physio and CWI. Being back in the team and him being home, it’s good to have the technology available that I can see him every day and talk to him” Afy said.
Throughout her pregnancy she remained active. In the early stages she continued her strength and conditioning programme. When her pregnancy started developing and coming closer to the delivery date, she still kept active, this time mentoring young female cricketers in her native Grenada.
And after spending those early, priceless moment with Audee, did she consider retirement from the game she loves?
“To be honest I was in two minds (whether to come back to retire). Who wants to miss out on their newborn’s first everything, no mom wants that … then again, it’s something I grew up playing and I didn’t want to just end my career like this. It’s a big sacrifice (leaving him home) but I didn’t want to end my playing days abruptly.” Afy added.
Cricket West Indies has developed a maternity policy which is being confirmed by its Board of Directors and will be enshrined in the players updated contracts in the next cycle. One of the major aspects of CWI’s support was maintaining Afy on her full contracted salary for the year-long leave she took. In addition, CWI’s medical staff along with the women’s team strength and conditioning coach worked with Afy to get her back into a return to play programme.
In January 2022 Afy was invited to a training camp in Barbados for physical testing. Her teammates seeing her for the first time in almost a year joked that she looked the same as before giving birth. From that camp, Afy was selected to tour South Africa then to the 15-member squad for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. She hopes that one day soon her son would be able to attend a match when she’s playing a home series in the Caribbean and share in a beautiful “mom-son” moment and create lasting memories.