Monique Lamoureux-Morando and twin sister Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson have attended the annual USA Hockey Women’s National Festival for more than 10 years.
The most recent one, held in August in Lake Placid, New York, was unlike any other for the twin sisters, who gave birth to their sons less than eight months earlier.
“In so many ways, it was a lot of the same, but in so many ways nothing was the same,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “[The festival] was obviously very familiar, but our routine was so different having the boys there. It was fun. We just feel very fortunate that we were able to continue to train through our pregnancies and come back in a safe timeline.”
Lamoureux-Morando and her husband, Anthony, welcomed their son Mickey in December. One month later Lamoureux-Davidson and her husband, Brent, announced the birth of their son, Nelson.
Both twins participated in the nine-day Festival in August.
“As soon as we started getting back on the ice and training after having the boys, we had that camp circled and we were looking forward to it all summer,” Lamoureux-Morando said. “To be back with the team and to have the boys with us at camp, it brought a whole new dynamic for us. But it was so good to be around our teammates again. We essentially hadn’t seen most of them in almost a year, so to be around the team again, and get back on the ice was awesome.”
They face many of the same challenges in balancing work and life that many working moms do while also facing the challenge of being elite athletes. They’re just happy to be able to tell their story.
“We’ve seen so many strong female athletes being more open about what they’re going through,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “So, we’ve kind of tried to share what we’ve been going through … not just all of the good stuff, but the fact that there are ups and downs and that there are good and bad days. We just want to have that honest, genuine dialogue and I think it’s been helpful.”
The twins trained safely throughout their entire pregnancies up until days before they gave birth, which was tricky at times for Monique, who admitted to battling morning sickness throughout. Two weeks post-partum, Jocelyne and Monique were back in the gym, moving and training in a modified and safe setting. About eight-to-10 weeks post-partum, the twins returned to the ice.
“When you think about where we started after having the babies, to where we are now … when you’re in the day-to-day of it, sometimes you wonder if you’re going to be able to get back to where you want to be,” Lamoureux-Morando said. “And you’re always evaluating where you’re at, so to see how far we’ve come in a short period of time, I think we’re really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, but by no means are we satisfied. We’re still not to where we want to be quite yet.”
And where they want to be is a high bar of success. Jocelyne and Monique represented the U.S. in the last three Olympic Winter Games, winning silver in 2010 and 2014 in Vancouver and Sochi, Russia, respectively. In 2018, they helped lead Team USA to its first Olympic gold medal in 20 years in PyeongChang, South Korea. Both sisters played a vital role in the gold-medal victory against Canada, as Monique netted the game-tying goal in the third period, and Jocelyne scored the winning goal in a shootout.
Last month was their first significant on-ice event since that golden moment.
“Everyone is different, as far as moms and coming back, trying to get back to where you were,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “From the Olympics to August, it was a year-and-a-half, and that’s the longest we’ve ever gone our entire lives without playing a game. You want to be where you were at one point, but you have to expect that you’re not going to be as sharp as you want, so you just have to be patient and understand that it will come back as long as you put the day-to-day work in.”
Lamoureux-Davidson admitted that it was easier to go through the process with her sister.
“I think when you enter the world of pregnancy and trying to get pregnant and post-partum health, it can be a very lonely journey sometimes, even with all of the right support systems in place,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “Monique was only six weeks ahead of me, so I felt like I knew what to expect. It made it easier, literally having someone going through it with you. We’ve been able to do so much together, but this probably has been the most special thing that we’ve been able to do and we’re fortunate it has worked out like this.”
Now, Monique and Jocelyne are finding balance between being new moms, starting their sons in day care, training as elite level-athletes and a travel schedule that supports initiatives they’re passionate about.
Jocelyne admitted that some days are easier than others, like at the Festival in August when Monique’s son Mickey got four teeth at once.
“He was pretty crabby and Monique wasn’t sleeping, and neither was I because he was crying,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “But knowing that it’s not going to last forever is one of the best pieces of advice … those days where they’re not sleeping, and you still have to get up and train, or we’re traveling and we’re exhausted. Then, you find moments where they fall asleep and you enjoy it, and appreciate all of the little things, because you know it won’t last forever. Nelson is already getting a little too big to fall asleep in my arms, so I kind of soak it in when he does.”
Monique and Jocelyne share their story in an attempt to inspire, whether it’s as an Olympic gold medalist, an athlete returning to elite-level competition after having a child, or a mother going back to work.
“If we can be a voice for other women to relate to, I think we’re happy to do that,” Lamoureux-Morando said. “We’ve also been all over the country, and we’ve had the opportunity to meet hundreds of kids from disadvantaged neighborhoods. To be able to interact with kids, and hopefully inspire them to do great things, that’s an amazing opportunity for us. Hopefully, we can continue to inspire the way we’ve been inspired.”
In July, the twins launched a foundation to help disadvantaged and underprivileged children, primarily through education and in their home state of North Dakota.
“The gold medal has given us an opportunity to give back in a much bigger capacity than just around the sporting world,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “We’ve been fortunate to be in a position where we have been able to give back in that way, so it has been special for us.”
Monique and Jocelyne also want to continue to inspire on the ice. They have their sights set on the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia, where the U.S. seeks a sixth-straight gold medal.
“Obviously, it’s never a guarantee that you make the team, but we feel like we’re putting ourselves in the best situation possible as individuals to be on the team,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “I think our biggest motivation is to see Nelson and Mickey in the stands, cheering us on. It’s just a brand-new goal and driving force for us, for them to see their moms playing on the world’s biggest stage. We’ve been able to accomplish a lot, but I think that would be the top, to compete as moms and see our kids in the stands. There would be nothing more special than that.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.