Sports reporter hid pregnancy over on-camera expectations

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Like many expecting mothers, former Fox Sports San Diego reporter Kris Budden experienced her bouts of morning sickness. Unlike the majority, she also had to cope with her pregnancy on-air.

As the ESPN college football sideline correspondent detailed in a recent blog post, “Why I hid my pregnancy on TV,” Budden, 33, revealed the great lengths she took to conceal her growing baby bump in 2014 while finishing out the college football season with Fox.

“During that time, I became very insecure about my pregnancy,” Budden wrote. “I said goodbye to the viewers in San Diego, and I never mentioned we were having a baby. I went through an entire football season wearing baggy clothes and heavy coats trying to hide it. I never brought it up to the players and coaches I was covering.”

Budden attributed unrealistic beauty standards as to why she chose to hide her pregnancy.

“In TV, especially as a woman in sports, you feel that you have to be pretty, skinny, best-dressed, ageless,” Budden wrote. “Yes, I know my job is so much more than that, but you do feel pressure to look a certain way. When you are pregnant, you feel anything but those qualities. At least I did.

“I also felt like there was a certain perception about female sideline reporters. I thought that if people knew I was a mom, the viewers would look at me differently. They would look at me like … Like I did. Like I was old,” she continued.

Though Budden believed her pregnancy would put her “over the hill” on the broadcasting market, upon looking for jobs after she and her husband, Mario Toledo, relocated to L.A., she was hired by the Tennis Channel on the spot — at 32 weeks.

“I was also in talks with ESPN at the time. They offered me the job six weeks after I had Jace,” Budden noted.

Especially after experiencing postpartum depression following her son’s birth, Budden hates ever feeling ashamed of being with child.

“I looked back at it now and I feel incredibly naive and stupid about it all,” Budden penned. “I’m at a company with the top reporters in our industry. Some are moms. Some aren’t. Regardless, they all got there on merit. Not looks or their age. So why did I think my case would be different? I’d been covering college sports for 12 years. Why did I think becoming a mom would negate all that?”

Should baby No. 2 be in the cards, Budden hopes to embrace her pregnancy the next time around.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but having a child has made me a better reporter. I can relate to the moms watching their sons get injured on the field. I can relate to the coaches who miss out on dinners and weekends with their families. I have more in common now with the people I cover than I did before.”



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