Motherhood isn’t easy – even for a warrior like Serena Williams | Gaby Hinsliff

The athlete is brave to admit to the physical and emotional toll of being a mother – she will give heart to ordinary women

Serena Williams is a warrior. Even people who know next to nothing about tennis know that; we’ve all read about how she bounced back from almost dying giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, to playing tournaments six months later. She is astonishing, Amazonian, famously not as other mortals.

But she is also, it seems, fighting a very different battle off court. Days after being thrashed by the British player Johanna Konta, Williams wrote on Instagram that she had been worrying about “not being a good mom” and was still processing “postpartum emotions” that she hints have affected her game. She described her conflicted feelings about an intense training schedule that means she’s not with her daughter as much as she’d like, in terms that many new mothers returning to rather less high-profile jobs will recognise. What had been a straightforwardly uplifting fairytale – woman has baby, comes back even stronger, and in the process shows everyone that motherhood doesn’t have to take it out of you – is becoming more complicated. We’re now seeing a more vulnerable side of Williams, as she concedes that in some senses motherhood has changed her; that her astonishing physical strength sometimes conceals psychological turmoil.

Continue reading…

Motherhood isn’t easy – even for a warrior like Serena Williams | Gaby Hinsliff

The athlete is brave to admit to the physical and emotional toll of being a mother – she will give heart to ordinary women

Serena Williams is a warrior. Even people who know next to nothing about tennis know that; we’ve all read about how she bounced back from almost dying giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, to playing tournaments six months later. She is astonishing, Amazonian, famously not as other mortals.

But she is also, it seems, fighting a very different battle off court. Days after being thrashed by the British player Johanna Konta, Williams wrote on Instagram that she had been worrying about “not being a good mom” and was still processing “postpartum emotions” that she hints have affected her game. She described her conflicted feelings about an intense training schedule that means she’s not with her daughter as much as she’d like, in terms that many new mothers returning to rather less high-profile jobs will recognise. What had been a straightforwardly uplifting fairytale – woman has baby, comes back even stronger, and in the process shows everyone that motherhood doesn’t have to take it out of you – is becoming more complicated. We’re now seeing a more vulnerable side of Williams, as she concedes that in some senses motherhood has changed her; that her astonishing physical strength sometimes conceals psychological turmoil.

Continue reading…