La Trobe alumna Daisy Pearce is a player and captain of the Melbourne Football Club, sport media commentator for Channel 7 and SEN, midwife and now, mother to twins. Her life is as busy as it gets.
Some friends and family have questioned Daisy’s decision to keep up her midwifery career. She’s always kept her skills and registration up-to-date, working at least one shift each fortnight – even as she’s become one of the most recognisable talents in the AFL Women’s.
Why not throw herself into the sport she loves full-time? They often say, ‘Oh, you’re mad. There will come a time where you have to let it go.’
Daisy has been on extended parental leave after giving birth to twins, Sylvie and Roy. Now she’s ready to return to work, the world is looking a little different. The AFL is scrambling to make sense of an unexpected reality. It’s too early to say when things will go back to normal. And now, the naysayers are starting to see the logic in her decision.
Daisy never thought of her midwifery career as a ‘back-up’. It’s something she loves – a passion sparked by watching her mum have babies. She remembers being fascinated by her mum’s pregnancy and the birth of her little brother and sister. It’s a career she’s keen to return to.
Midwifery is a privilege. It’s a real privilege to be there in that part of people’s lives. You get to work with so many different cultures and people from all different walks of life. No two days are the same and I love that about the job.
From colleagues, Daisy has heard how stressful it’s been to change processes and minimise risks for the pregnant women in their care during the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as dealing with the heightened anxiety among both staff and patients. Partners being barred from attending appointments and ultrasounds has been difficult. Daisy wants to be a ‘breath of fresh air’, providing the reassurance pregnant women need now more than ever.
Now that she’s been through the experience of giving birth, she feels more qualified than ever. There had been times when she’d see a woman having her fourth baby and worry that the patient might snap back with, ‘What would you know?’
Having Sylvie and Roy has also reinforced Daisy’s commitment to make the process special for every person she sees, no matter how many appointments she’d had that day or how many days in a row she’d worked. She’s seen firsthand how slowing down to explain things clearly makes such a difference. Of course, this is something she’s always known – something she learned during her degree at La Trobe. But the personal and professional experiences are very different. It can only be a positive to have both.
Far from added anxiety, Daisy’s positive attitude means she’s found the silver lining to becoming a new mother in a global pandemic.
‘I think in these times you can just kind of immerse yourself in that little innocent baby bubble. It’s nice to be around people with absolutely no awareness of what’s going on out there,’ she shares.
Speaking to her teammates, she reflects that many of them have started to feel bored and unable to achieve anything. But Daisy hasn’t felt a moment of boredom.
‘I feel like I’ve got this great purpose and that is teaching [the babies] new tricks every day and showing them the world. They’re at a great age, they’re 14 months and you know, the world is a wonder. It doesn’t take much to make their day and see their little eyes light up.’
That said, it will be good to see AFL and AFLW return. Daisy has always felt lucky to juggle the three careers: midwife, player/captain and commentator. The jobs in sport are the stuff of her childhood dreams – dreams she never expected could come true.
The next season of AFL won’t be a season as we know it, without rostered games every weekend and crowds packed into stadiums. She’s sure the teams will play as many games as they can, when they can. But at this point, she doesn’t know what it will mean for her. Will there be a normal broadcast? There’s no word yet. As for playing, the AFLW pre-season would usually start in November.
The AFLW is just starting out. But already, they’ve shown how important having a women’s league is to the sport, the fans and the industry. They’ve opened the door to a larger portion of the population to spectate, play and participate in football.
Back when she grew up in Bright, country Victoria, there were no other girls playing footy. Daisy insisted on joining the training drills for the junior team her brother played in and her dad coached. Before too long, her dad realised her passion and let her play.
Now, her proudest moments are when she visits a school and there are girls’ football teams decked out in their own uniforms, with their own change rooms and a space where they belong. It’s something she never had.
To think that there are girls and women out there who now have role models I didn’t have when I was chasing or dreaming of a career in footy is something really special.
For now, Daisy is getting ready to adapt to whatever happens with AFL and AFLW. And in the meantime, she’ll be a midwife and a mum – which should still keep her pretty busy.