Serena Williams is making history with the latest cover of Vogue, but it’s not because of her athleticism or record-breaking game play. This time it’s because she’s a mom. Serena and her baby girl, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. are appearing on the cover of the February issue of Vogue, making Alexis the youngest person ever to grace the front of the magazine. Inside the magazine, the superstar and new mom, Serena, had lots to share about motherhood.
“I think having a baby might help,” Serena says about her future tennis career. “When I’m too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born. Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match. I don’t need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.” Becoming a mom changes you in many ways, but possibly one of the most powerful is the way it changes your perspective on what is really important in life.
Not everything about new motherhood is rainbows and hearts, however, and Serena isn’t afraid to admit it. “Sometimes I get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this,” she says. “It’s that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes. I guess that’s just who I am. No one talks about the low moments—the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry. I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, ‘Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby?’ The emotions are insane.” Just hearing that someone as strong as she is can still be affected by the storm feelings that come with a new baby is reassuring for all new moms struggling with their emotions.
One of the most powerful quotes of the interview isn’t directly about motherhood at all, but instead about tennis and the relationships between female athletes. But it speaks so perfectly to the mommy wars era and why female friendships and support are so important. “I really believe that we have to build each other up and build our tour up,” she says. “The women in Billie Jean King’s day supported each other even though they competed fiercely. We’ve got to do that. That’s kind of the mark I want to leave. Play each other hard, but keep growing the sport.”
Clearly Serena remains an inspiration, both on and off the court, and this mom and daughter duo will be ones to watch. “I’m so glad I had a daughter. I want to teach her that there are no limits,” she explained. Check out the inspiring full interview with Vogue here.
How do other moms inspire you? Tell us in the comments below.