Figure skating champ Michelle Kwan welcomes her first baby: 'A perfect miracle'
Michelle Kwan is a mom!
The two-time Olympic medalist, 41, announced on Instagram Wednesday that she welcomed her first child, a baby girl named Kalista Belle Kwan.
The former figure skater shared a carousel that included a sweet snap of what appeared to be her holding the newborn. Also in the post was a short clip that showed off her growing baby bump from her pregnancy days.
"I'm overjoyed and tears of happiness are streaming down my face as I share the news of the arrival of Kalista Belle Kwan!" she wrote. "I've always wanted to be a mom and, to me, she's a perfect miracle."
She added that while she found it difficult to imagine what her first child would look like, "it seems like she's been in my life forever."
Kwan shared that her "journey to motherhood" was a "challenging" one, which included "a very long labor." Still, she added, "I'm glad I never gave up."
"I feel so grateful to have had the support of so many during this time, including doctors and nurses who looked after me, friends that shared their stories, and of course, my family & my ❤️ who I could not live without," Kwan added.
Explaining why she kept her pregnancy news private, Kwan said, "As people closest to me know, I'm always full of surprises and tend to keep my personal life private. And, I've wanted to share this happy news for many months but each milestone seemed to be exciting and daunting at the same time."
"Each step of the way, I knew that there was still more time needed until I could hold her in my arms. Here's a quick montage of the last 9 months to catch you all up:)," she shared.
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Kwan ended with an encouraging message for fellow moms. "Also, I want to send my best to all the mom's out there (as we all know, moms rule the world!). And, I wish anyone trying to conceive in any which way (ivf, iui, surrogacy, adoption and naturally) all the success and love. You're not alone on this path and I'm pulling for you 🙏🏼."
The athlete married Coast Guard Lieutenant Clay Pell in 2013. He filed for divorce in 2017.
The following year, Kwan opened up to PEOPLE about her life after figure skating. Before her retirement in 2006, she took home a silver medal at the 1998 Games and a bronze at the 2002 Games.
"There's no easy transition for professional athletes, Olympians," she told PEOPLE in 2018. "For 20 years of my life it was all about skating. And then I finished and was like 'Now what?' I think athletes struggle with the identity. I was known as a figure skater and then I went back to school, and then I pursued my master's degree in foreign policy. I'm no longer a figure skater."
She added that she found it "fascinating" to find a passion "outside of sports."
"I always say figure skating is a fantastic, amazing chapter of my life," Kwan said. "But there are many more chapters and things to discover and things to learn."
This story originally appeared on people.com