Retired soccer star Lauren Holiday reflects on having brain surgery a month after giving birth

Lauren Holiday, left, and Carli Lloyd celebrate after a U.S. goal against Japan during the 2015 World Cup final.
(Rich Lam / Getty Images)

Lauren Holiday had a benign brain tumor removed five months ago and has been through an incredible amount of pain throughout the ordeal.

What helped her through it all? Just take a look at the photo of her 5-month-old daughter, Jrue Tyler Holiday, that the former UCLA and U.S. soccer star posted to Instagram over the weekend.

“I have never quite known suffering like I experienced the last 6 months. I can remember countless nights repeating ‘there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning.’ I remember half believing it and half still in disbelief that this was my life,” Holiday wrote.

“Every time I see this smile I'm reminded that joy does come in the morning. Maybe not the next day, maybe not even the next month but it comes.”

Holiday attended and played for UCLA from 2006-09 and met her husband, fellow Bruin Jrue Holiday, during that time. They were married in 2013.

As a member of the U.S. national team, Holiday won Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012, and a World Cup championship in 2015, scoring the eventual game-winning goal during a 5-2 victory over Japan in the final. She retired from international play in July 2015.

Six months into her pregnancy last year, Holiday was diagnosed with a type of brain tumor called meningioma after suffering some severe headaches. She gave birth in September and had the tumor removed in October. Her husband, who plays for the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets, took a leave of absence from September through mid-November to be with his wife and daughter.

"My wife is doing really well and she's gradually getting better, and that's all I can ask for,” Jrue Holiday said last month. “She's alive, and I'm blessed for that. My daughter is OK. So, I'm happy.”

Holiday has been through a lot, but from the tone of her Instagram post, the 29-year-old mom doesn’t seem to be focusing on anything negative right now.

“I can't imagine what heaven will be like if this is the joy I get to experience on earth,” she wrote.

Twitter: @chewkiii