Breanna Stewart on Welcoming Daughter Days After Winning Olympic Gold: 'It Was a Surreal Moment'

The Seattle Storm star and her wife Marta Xargay Casademont are balancing family life, love and basketball 

Breanna Stewart helped lead the U.S. women's basketball team to gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Then, she had a life-changing flight to catch.

Two days after the victory, she welcomed her first baby with wife Marta Xargay Casademont. Ruby Mae Stewart Xargay was born Aug. 9 via surrogate, the couple first exclusively shared with PEOPLE.

Stewart, 26, tells PEOPLE she placed her gold medal next to her daughter shortly after she was born.

"It was a surreal moment," says the WNBA Seattle Storm power forward. "You don't see a lot of female athletes, or women's basketball players, being able to be at their highest and also be able to start a family, or have a baby."

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Breanna Stewart And Partner Marta Xargay Welcome Baby
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"And to be able to do that with Marta, with Ruby, it makes me at peace with everything that's going on," she adds.

The challenges of being a working mom started almost immediately, as Stewart jumped back into the Storm season shortly after Ruby's birth. "Going on the road just a week after she was born, I was like, 'This obviously sucks,' " she said. "But I know that she's being well taken care of with Marta, with her family and with my mom, and I make her send me pictures and videos all the time."

Stewart's team won the 2020 WNBA championship, and she was named the MVP in the 2020 WNBA Finals and this year's inaugural WNBA Commissioner's Cup — all of that just in the past two seasons.

Breanna Stewart
Gregory Shamus/Getty

While it's not easy to balance basketball stardom and new motherhood, it's worth it, says Stewart.

"[I was] able to compete for a gold medal, win a gold medal and come home and be there for my family, and now, show Ruby the success that she can have if she wants to go into sports, or go into whatever," Stewart says.

Stewart's wife Xargay Casademont, 30, is retired from her professional basketball career, which included playing for the WNBA Phoenix Mercury and her home country of Spain in the 2016 Olympics.

Now, Xargay Casademont plans to go with her wife and their 2-week-old baby as she plays internationally between WNBA seasons and beyond.

"We want to be together, we want to show Ruby how our life is," Xargay Casademont tells PEOPLE from their home in Seattle. "That's how it's going to be for, we don't know how many years. As soon as she knows, and as soon as she gets used to [traveling], the better for us and also for her."

In the meantime, Stewart is finishing out the WNBA season. "I stayed home with Marta and Ruby for the first week, because that's quality time that you can never get back," she shares from Washington, D.C. during a stretch of away games for the Storm. "But at the same time, Marta and I both knew that we're gonna have this week, but then I'm gonna have to meet my team on the road."

Breanna Stewart
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"My team is my family, too," Stewart adds. "And I want to make sure I do everything I can to help them on and off the court."

Stewart's plan to start a family began when she ruptured her Achilles at 24, which forced her to take time off from basketball. She used that time to freeze her eggs, without yet knowing when she wanted to have children.

"If I'm gonna be out, this is probably the best time to do it," she thought to herself. "And then after I did it, I was like, 'This is probably one of the best decisions I've ever made.' "

Starting a family required financial planning for Stewart and Xargay, too. They've partnered with Ally Financial to encourage couples to have conversations about money.

In April, with a baby on the way, the couple decided to open a joint account, while keeping some of their finances separate.

"We have been honest, even before our family or being engaged, we were really open about [our finances] and that's how it should be," Xargay Casademont adds. "Not only with money, but being honest and open with everything."

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