"I did it that way because I thought I was ready to be away from the sport," Fernandez said.
It didn't turn out exactly that way. After the birth of her son Antonio in 2006, Fernandez decided to try to make one more Olympic team. She was a late cut, but Fernandez was glad she tried. She was also glad she didn't make final career decisions while she was pregnant.
"I never shut the door on anything," Fernandez said. "I don't think you can. You just can't know what you'll want after your child comes."
Swimmer Dara Torres was 39 when he gave birth to daughter Tessa. Fifteen months later, as a 40-year-old mother, she won a 100-meter freestyle gold medal at the U.S. Nationals. Torres, who is promoting a new memoir called "Age is Just a Number," went on to win three silver medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a 41-year-old and she's still not sure about retirement.
About motherhood, though, Torres is adamant. Women should have their children on whatever timetable they feel is appropriate.
"You do it for yourself," Torres said. "Lorena is so young, but she's doing what she thinks is right."
This leads Davenport to offer one piece of advice to young women athletes who decide to put family first.
"Don't use the word 'retirement,' " Davenport said. "Then when you come back you don't have to un-retire."