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‘It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby.’
Work-life balance, for all it’s all talked up to be, seems rarely achievable. Throw in a newborn, and you’re sure to struggle between, say, being the greatest tennis player of all time and making sure your daughter is getting everything she needs from you. Across the internet, fans of Serena Williams are praising her for addressing this postpartum “funk,” thanking her for making it a more accessible conversation.
On Twitter and Instagram, Williams published a statement addressing the last week of her career, including an opening match loss in the Silicon Valley Classic and her withdrawal from the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Aside from accepting some “tough personal stuff,” Williams wrote that she overall just felt in a funk, like she “was not a good mom.”
She went on to write that reading about postpartum “emotions,” she learned that they can last up to three years if not addressed. So, she’s doing that through communication, but talking through the emotions with her mom, sisters, and friends. And, they’ve let her know what she’s feeling is “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,” Williams wrote. “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 [tomorrow]!”
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!
A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) August 6, 2018
Williams previously opened up about life as a mother for her Vogue cover story earlier this year, in which she spoke about her pregnancy complications, and revealed in a CNN article she wrote that she almost died while giving birth. Williams opening up again about life almost a year after giving birth gives more relief to other women going through these emotions in silence, not having the platform like Williams, or perhaps the courage, to share that they sometimes suffer too.
On Instagram, readers of her post shared that they too still experience these moments of “funk” and guilt regarding motherhood and being enough for their children.
“I still ha[v]e some rough days and my boys are grown. It is like they are still little every now and then. But also remember dear, you can be lonely but guaranteed you are far and never alone,” one commenter wrote. “We are here with you always. We have been where you are now. And you are the best mom that little girl can ever have.”
“Thank you for saying this. I feel very similar every day, going to work and leaving my sweet (almost) 3-year-old and 6-month-old at home,” another chimed in. “I just remind myself that my mom worked hard and was an incredible example to me, and I hope to be the same for my kids. Us moms need to stick together and support one another.”
Twitter, too, chimed in with support, with moms sharing their thanks for Williams normalizing her postpartum experience.
Mehn….so grateful for people like @serenawilliams and Beyonce this week, who are bold and brave enough to share the "underbelly" of motherhood. It is important for people to know they are not alone and that we'll make it! https://t.co/ZqukUL35XN
— Lola Talabi-Oni (@oni_keji) August 7, 2018
Thank you for this. I. Am. With. You. https://t.co/93W9cExfqZ
— Asa Soltan Rahmati (@AsaSoltan) August 7, 2018
I love how honest Serena is. No matter what you’re going through, it always feels like you’re doing it alone. Seeing the 🐐 acknowledge her challenges makes it easier for others to acknowledge theirs. https://t.co/GKA9ve7uKr
— Nancy Armour (@nrarmour) August 7, 2018
The Greatest Of All Time knows it’s ok to not be ok.
The Greatest Of All Time knows that suffering in silence is not a true option.
Incomprehensibly strong. Immeasurably important.
— Tony Reali (@TonyReali) August 6, 2018
Parenting is really hard. REALLY hard. It’s the biggest emotional roller coaster imaginable and it’s hard not to feel you’re not doing enough
Nothing ever feels enough
— Dr Pooky Knightsmith (@PookyH) August 7, 2018
With Williams taking a break, perhaps other mothers will see that they too can lean back from being the “greatest of all time” and take care of themselves.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.