Today we’re chatting with 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, Carly Patterson Caldwell about her journey throughout the Olympics, new transition into motherhood and how BLANQI has helped keep her supported during her pregnancy and newest role as a mother. From fear, trials, triumphs and determination, she’s a powerhouse mama and we’re honored she’s let us sit down and interview her digging deeper a couple months back…
Let’s get to know Carly!
BLANQI- Carly! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me about your journey through life as a gymnast and now as you transition into motherhood – let’s dive in! How long were you preparing for the Olympics before it started paying off?
Carly- I trained for 11 years total but I would say that when I was about, 11 or 12 is when I watched the 2000 Olympics and really set my sights on the 2004 Olympic. I was at that age when I could set my sights on that kind of goal and knew what it meant. I was very determined and my passion for gymnastics played a big role. I knew that if I had the right work ethic, determination and kept pushing that it was attainable. I have so many special memories from those years.
BLANQI- How would you compare that to preparing for motherhood?
Carly- Funny question! They are both huge moments in your life obviously, and I think my background in gymnastics and what it taught me about work ethic and dedication and commitment- all of those life lessons you take wi th you when you move on.
It’s definitely prepared me for motherhood and the road ahead and not knowing what to expect. I know there will be a ton of twists and turns and struggles along the way, but I am so excited for every aspect of parenting.
I feel like there is so much advice always being thrown at you, but every baby is different. I can only prepare so much. For gymnastics, I could train hard and know I was putting in the work, but for the baby all I can do is try to be the healthiest person I can be to hopefully grow a healthy baby.
BLANQI- What was your step by step process when training for the Olympics? I’m sure so much of that goes back to patience, perseverance and trusting in the process- just like motherhood!
Carly- The training process was very important in preparing for the Olympics. You try your best to do everything you can in the gym so that way when you go to compete you are ready. Something I did learn early on was that you can train and prepare as best you can but when it’s competition day and time to show up, that’s when it really counts. You have to be mentally tough and physically tough. I could always trust that I did everything I could behind the scenes. The journey of getting pregnant was a very difficult process for us. We went through a lot of treatments and suffered a miscarriage last year and that was the hardest thing we have ever had to go through. It was a tough road and a hard pill to swallow knowing we were doing everything we could, but something just wasn’t clicking. We had doctors, we were praying and doing everything we could. We really had to have faith that God had the perfect plan and timing for us. It was very hard to stay mentally, emotionally and physically strong going through something like this and thank God my husband could be strong for the both of us during times when I just couldn’t. It took about 2 years to get this baby. I knew I couldn’t give up. There were days in the gym I thought… “Am I ever going to get this?” and it’s the same with motherhood and sticking with it. That was our journey.
BLANQI- What’s one of the most important takeaways you experienced from your time in the 2004 Olympics?
Carly- A great takeaway I learned was that it’s not over until your last landing. That journey and experience for me was incredible and I had some good and bad days in Athens. I remember going into the team competition and everyone including ourselves had high expectations for us to win gold. I let that pressure get to me a little bit. I made some mistakes that I normally wouldn’t have. We won the team silver medal. Individual All- Around was next up for me and I went into with a new mindset to just compete for me, have fun and do what I did every day in the gym. I started on vault and I didn’t get the score I was aiming for. I knew that I was going to have to dig deep and do the best routines possible on the next three events to have a chance at the gold medal. That lit a fire in me for the rest of the night and I did the best routines I could have possibly done and was able to win gold. I think back now that I could have given up hope after the first event and I am so glad that I didn’t.
That’s when I learned it’s not over until your last landing. It’s okay to make a mistakes, that will happen but to just keep that fire and motivation and perseverance. That was a great lesson for me.
BLANQI- What do you do now to stay active?
Carly- These days I stay in shape by mixing things up. I do get bored easily so I like to try different gyms and workouts and sometimes my mom and I even do workout DVDs together! I am really looking forward to getting back in shape after the baby comesJ
BLANQI- Has BLANQI helped support you during staying active while pregnant?
Carly- Yes, absolutely! I actually saw y’alls advertisement and my sister in law sent me some stuff about BLANQI so that’s when I looked into it and thought this looks awesome for pregnancy. When I got the pieces I thought the tank was going to be too small but once I put it on I was like wow! You feel the relief and comfort immediately! It’s basically been my uniform during this pregnancy!
I don’t have a 9-5 everyday job where I get dressed up so I am lucky that I can wear yoga pants and tanks daily so that was just so perfect for me.
What I like is that you can workout in them or run errands or just lounge in them while feeling comfortable and put together. The tanks are amazing; the one with the X on the back is so supportive. I can’t wait to try the postpartum tanks. Adding those to my hospital bag right now!
BLANQI- What about motherhood are you most excited for? Bonding, sharing life together, expanding your family unit?
Carly- Gosh, everything! Like I said, we’ve been praying and waiting for this moment for so long and to finally be able to see this baby will be the most incredible moment. I still feel like its all a dream some days. I look at my stomach every day and think, “Is this really happening?” It felt so far away for so long. I have to pinch myself and say, “Yes, you’re about to have a baby!”
BLANQI- How far along are you?
Carly- It’s September 22nd so I am about 37.5 weeks! I went to the doctor and they were like you’re baby is measuring 8lbs 6oz. I was like “Oh wow, okay!” Big, healthy baby!
BLANQI- Do you know if it’s a boy or girl?
Carly- We’re being surprised! We knew we wanted to do that for so long and we just want a healthy baby so we didn’t care if it was a boy or girl. We know that moment in the delivery room will be even more exciting when they tell us what it is! I’m getting anxious now and ready to know what I’ve been growing in here.
It’ll be the most incredible thing seeing our baby for the first time. I’m excited for everyday in our “new” life. My husband and I have been together for 8 years, married 5 years next month and we’ve gotten to travel the world and do our own thing. We are so ready for this next step of parenthood.
BLANQI- It’ll change your world in the most incredible way!
Carly- I can’t even imagine, it won’t hit me until the baby is here. I always hear you don’t understand a mother’s love until you’re holding your baby and I know when that moment comes my heart is going to explode!
BLANQI- What is the best advice you’ve been given as you transition into motherhood?
Carly- Soaking up every single minute because it goes by so fast. Also to trust your own instinct because everyone will try to give advice, but that I am going to be the one that knows my baby the best.
BLANQI- Did you take a babymoon? If so, where?
Carly- We went to Banff, Canada when I was 6 months pregnant and drove down to Lake Louise. We did a little hiking, walking and driving around and got to see so many beautiful lakes and scenery- it was very serene! There was a super cute little downtown area that we loved to walk around, eat and just enjoy the cool weather while getting away from the Texas heat for a week.
BLANQI- What’s your ideal date night or time spent with your hubby? Once baby comes, do you plan to spend intentional time, just you and him?
Carly- We love to travel and see new places together. My husband already wants to plan a trip once the baby is old enough. We’re also big homebodies as well.
We have a big screen projector in our house so one of our favorite things is to rent a movie and snuggle up on the couch with some wine. We love cooking and grilling and my husband has become quite the Green Egg enthusiast. That’s our date night. We like doing it at home but we do it right!
We also love being around our family and we are lucky because they live 5 minutes from us. We spend a lot of time together. As long as we’re together, we’re good!
BLANQI- Are you still practicing gymnastics?
Carly- Gosh, no! (laughs) I think the last time I did gymnastics was about a year or so ago and I had to do it for a commercial. I did a commercial with Nulo Pet Food and I was doing a little gymnastics for the first time in a while and I thought I was going to break my back! Our sport isn’t one of those ones you can just pick back up. It’s not like riding a bike, I was so sore the next day I could barely move!
BLANQI- Carly, thank you so much for chatting with me about your Olympic experience and journey to motherhood! It’s been great getting to know you more and we can’t wait to find out if baby is a boy or girl!
Carly and husband, Mark, welcomed a sweet baby BOY on October 10th.
Graham Mitchell Caldwell
“I cannot even put into words how blessed and thankful Mark and I are feeling right now! We welcomed our son, Graham Mitchell Caldwell on 10/10/2017 at 12:39 p.m. weighing 9lbs. 9oz. – 20 1/4 inches long! He is absolute perfection and we can’t get enough of this sweet boy Soaking up every incredible moment of being his mommy and daddy”
Congratulations to Carly and Mark from the whole BLANQI team!
Welcome to Motherhood, beautiful!