By Jana Angeles
Rebecca Bulley is a champion in the world of netball. Since 2005, she has cemented a successful career in the sport and is well-renowned for her position as defence in the team. Through her skills and talent, Bulley made her international debut in 2008 and successfully won 100 ANZ Championship games in 2015. Using her family as inspiration, her passion for netball was where it all began for her.
“I grew up in country Victoria and watched my mum and my sister play netball,” she says. “I was stretching out a bit to be old enough to go out on court and play too so I’ve spent a lot of time around netball and it’s always been a part of my life. I’ve absolutely loved it.”
Going to a World Championship has always been a dream for Bulley and she mentions that it’s “pretty unbelievable” she managed to experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Though netball has been a big part of her life, she has had to juggle her career with motherhood. Despite the challenges she has had to encounter since the birth of her daughter, the immense support shown by her netball team is something she is beyond grateful for.
“I’m just the most fortunate person,” Bulley explains. “I get to do what I love. I say it’s work but it’s not really work. It’s playing sport so I love doing it and I get my childcare paid for but I’m also working as well. There’s not a lot of women that have that opportunity so I’m really thankful. I just hope that all women in sport take this on board and that it becomes available for all female athletes.”
In 2015, Bulley announced her immediate retirement from netball so she could focus more on being a mother to her daughter. Only after a year, she has returned to the sport and has proven to many women that it’s possible to return to work even after a short period of time. Although not many women are as lucky as Bulley to have the support she receives, she likes to think that she is a positive role model for all females.
“You can make a successful comeback after you’ve had a baby,” she states. “I had children and I still have a lot to offer to sport and if we are supporting female athletes to come back, it’s only going to be beneficial to the sport.”
Nobody can prepare you for motherhood and Bulley realises this as she speaks. As someone with years of experience as a professional netball player, she came to the conclusion that she’s still constantly learning the quirks of motherhood. Though it has become a challenge to juggle both work and being a mother, Bulley is overjoyed to be part of something special, like the rest of us are.
“I absolutely love being a mum and I don’t think anyone can prepare you for how good it is and how much you can love this person,” she says. “I still pinch myself and think, ‘Wow, we made her.’ Of course, becoming a mum is not easy. You think it’s gonna be this natural thing and you’re constantly worrying if you’re doing things right or if they’re getting enough food. But it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I guess I’ve likened it to winning a grand finale but it doesn’t even come close – it’s just so much better than that.”