A week after one of the most stunning losses of her career, followed by her withdrawal from one of tennis’ biggest tournaments, Serena Williams opened up on Monday about her struggles.
And they have nothing to do with tennis.
The former world No. 1 posted to her Instagram account Monday night saying she has been battling with postpartum depression, and that the root of her struggles last week was that, “Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom.”
Williams, 36, is still only five months into her return to competitive playing after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. last September. The birth was complicated, with Williams experiencing blood clots and undergoing multiple surgeries.
In the months since Alexis’ birth, Williams says she has struggled with worries that she is not with her daughter enough, even though she is with her every day.
“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,” Williams’ post read in part.
“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.”
Last week, Williams — now ranked No. 26 in the world — lost to Johanna Konta of Great Britain 6-1, 6-0 in the first round in San Jose, Calif. She then announced she would not play in the Rogers Cup this week in Montreal.
The loss was particularly surprising considering Williams’ previous tournament action was a run to the championship match at Wimbledon.
In an interview with Essence published Monday, Williams said of her daughter, “Every morning when she first sees me, she squeals. Every day, I’d come home from one of my matches and Wimbledon, and she’d just squeal each time she’d see me. I’d try my best to rush home, and I’d miss her still. It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before — the best thing I’ve ever heard.”
—Field Level Media