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With tennis superstar Serena Williams back on the court 10 months after the birth of her first child, it had to be expected that she would probably miss some of her daughter’s early-life highlights as she travels, trains, and plays.
But if one of her latest tweets is any indication, it hit her harder than perhaps she might have expected.
Early Saturday morning, this is what Williams posted.
She took her first steps... I was training and missed it. I cried.— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) July 7, 2018
Immediately, other mothers and parents tried to come to her rescue, telling her that if the mom isn’t there to witness the milestone, then it really never happened.
My motherhood rule: the first you see is the first time it happened FULL STOP! 😁— JMiller (@miller_jcm) July 7, 2018
I wholeheartedly agree. It only counts the first time she does it for you.— Popsicle #FBPE #ABTV (@C_mydas) July 7, 2018
You didn't miss it, mommy. You facilitated it. Your child still lives right there. Make those happy tears & I mean it.— Moriah Marshall (@gnarlymo) July 7, 2018
I'm a housewife and was in the next room and I missed it. With both of the twins. Please don't feel bad. Be happy for her and be ready for the running after her.— wondermom (@wondermomwic) July 7, 2018
Ah Serena. I’m with you there. I’m in Russia at a World Cup. I watched mine take her first steps on a video 😓 she’ll be proud of you when she goes up (I have to keep telling myself)— Alison Bender (@alibendertv) July 7, 2018
I took my 1st child all the way to Israel on a trade mission. During a meeting I heard cheering out in the waiting area .... Yup, staff and husband and assorted strangers saw her 1st steps. It all turns out okay. #workingmomsrock— jane swift (@janemswift) July 7, 2018
Williams, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, has been open about her new experiences with motherhood. In May, she told Harpers Bazaar that she had suffered post-partum depression.
“Honestly, sometimes I still think I have to deal with it,” she said. “I think people need to talk about it more because it’s almost like the fourth trimester, it’s part of the pregnancy. I remember one day, I couldn’t find Olympia’s bottle and I got so upset I started crying… because I wanted to be perfect for her.”
“Then January became March. March became April, and I was still breastfeeding,” Williams said. “And for me, it was really important to make it to three months, and then it was important to make it to four months. And then I was like, ‘OK, I can do six months.’”
Then, she had a talk with her daughter.
“I literally sat Olympia in my arms and I talked to her and we prayed about it,” she said. “And I told her, ‘Look, I’m gonna stop. Mommy has to do this.’ I cried a little bit—not as much as I thought I [would]. And she was fine.”
Williams has also been fine on the court. Though she’s been sporadic in the few tournaments she’s played this year as she adjusts to motherhood, Williams hasn’t lost a set so far at this year’s Wimbledon, and she plays her fourth-round match on Monday morning.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.