'It's really hard': Silver Fern Phoenix Karaka juggling motherhood and life as an athlete

By Te Ao Toa

Phoenix Karaka is a Silver Fern and also has a baby with All Black Patrick Tuipolotu. She's also Te Ao Toa presenter Brook Ruscoe's mate and chatted with him about juggling life as a mum and professional athlete.

"It's hard. If I'm being honest, it's really hard. Probably the hardest thing I've ever done. Being a mum just to start off with but to be an athlete and a mum, it's hard to juggle. But I'm enjoying the challenge," says Karaka, whose partner Patrick Tuipulotu is currently in Japan on a rugby contract.

"I mean I go through and I'm doing fine, and then like four weeks later I have a mental breakdown and I absolutely cry for two hours. But that's ok," she smiles.

She and fellow Siver Fern Kayla Johnson, who is married to NZ Warrior Shaun Johnson, have gone through something very similar, having a baby at the same time and their partners both being overseas.

"It's nice to have someone that I can talk to about it, who is going through the same thing, and being able to support each other has been really good," says Karaka, who travelled to England with Johnson and the Silver Ferns for the International Quad Series earlier this year.