Serena Williams, the tennis dynamo from the U.S.A. made a dramatic return to her sport just months after giving birth to her first child. She was set to make history as the first mom to win Wimbledon in almost 40 years, and the first with a baby as young as her little Alexis Olympia, at just ten months of age.
Only one mother has ever been champion during the more than 100 years of Wimbledon: 28-year-old Australian Evonne Goolagong was the mother of a three-year-old daughter, Kelly, in 1980 when she emerged victorious at the prestigious tournament.
This year, Serena Williams made it all the way to the finals, only to go down - hard! “Williams suffered the worst loss of her pro career to 43rd ranked Johanna Konta -- going down in straight sets ... 6-1, 6-0.”
Now we are learning the secret reason why it didn’t happen - in Williams’ own words on her Instagram page. And in sharing her feelings, she is given new hope to new mothers everywhere. No one knew it at the time, but Serena was suffering from a devastating ailment but did her best to rise above it for the sake of her career.
Williams speaks from her heart, just one month after her difficult loss at Wimbledon, explaining why it took her so long to respond to concerns for her well-being. "Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom.
"I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to 3 years if not dealt with. I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal.
"It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby. We have all been there. I work a lot, I train, and I’m trying to be the best athlete I can be.
"However, that means although I have been with her every day of her life, I’m not around as much as I would like to be. Most of you moms deal with the same thing. Whether stay-at-home or working, finding that balance with kids is a true art. You are the true heroes.
"I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week--it’s ok--I am, too!!! There’s always tomm!”
What a powerful statement from one of tennis' greats! We applaud her courage in speaking out on a subject that is typically hidden away - so much so that when a new mom experiences it, she is made to feel guilty for having those thoughts.
Here's hoping that Serena's candid vulnerability will help other moms who are suffering in silence during what should be the most joyful time of their lives.