Serena Williams: ‘I cried when I stopped breastfeeding’
Serena addressed how conflicting she found giving up breastfeeding her daughter and getting back into the court.
“I cried when I stopped breastfeeding,” she wrote in the essay. “I sat with Olympia in my arms, I talked to her, we prayed about it, and I told her, ‘Mummy has to do this.’ I cried when I missed Olympia’s first steps because I was in training.
The tennis champion went on to say that even though she’s in a advantageous position, she still found it tough balancing parenthood with her career.
“Navigating it all is especially tough for working mums, myself included,” she wrote.
“Even with all the resources I’m incredibly blessed to have, motherhood comes with so many unexpected challenges, especially when it’s time to go back to work.”
Serena explained she feels working mums do a “double shift at work and home”.
“This contributes to the fact that nearly half of women say they have sacrificed career goals for their family,” she continued.
“I know I did. More than half of mums feel guilty leaving their children to go to work and a third say their job makes it challenging to do the things they want and need to do for their family. Forget the cliché of ‘having it all,’ the reality is, women are trying to do it all.”
Serena says she wants her daughter to know work fulfils her
In the article, Serena admits she felt she was letting herself and her fans down when she dropped in the rankings from no. 1 to no. 453. She saw it as a penalty for taking the time to look after her baby.
“We must stop penalising women when they return to their careers after having children,” she said.
“My dreams are just beginning and being a mom is a part of that now. I want Olympia to see and remember her mom winning a Grand Slam title.
“I want her to know that my work fulfils me, that I’m proud and passionate about what I do even if I’m not perfect at it, and that she should never give up on her dreams.
“I want her to see a world of possibilities at her feet and to believe in those first steps she took when I was training, every time she takes a leap toward her goals— however big the risk.”
What’s more, the tennis ace reveals she experienced a “nagging feeling” when going back to work and fortunately the support of those closest to her came to the rescue.
“When things were at their most challenging, the unwavering support of my mum, sisters, and friends helped me through,” she added.
“I want to remind all women reading this about the importance of supporting one another through the highs, lows, laughs, and tears, and always asking for help when it’s needed. Trust me when I say: we’ve all been there before.”