Since giving birth to 11-month-old daughter Alexis Olympia, tennis royalty and Nike ambassador Serena Williams, 36, has been vocal about her postpartum emotions, as well as the triumphs and tribulations of motherhood. In the latest issue of TIME magazine, the 23-time Grand Slam champion opens up about balancing mommy duties and her return to the tennis court.
When it comes to mastering the balancing act, Williams tells the magazine that she’s still figuring out how to put herself first.
“I still have to learn a balance of being there for her [Alexis Olympia], and being there for me,” says Williams. “I’m working on it. I never understood women before, when they put themselves in second or third place. And it’s so easy to do. It’s so easy to do.”
Williams goes on to discuss her postpartum depression, and why she decided to dedicate her Wimbledon comeback to “all the moms out there.”
“I dedicated that to all the moms out there who’ve been through a lot,” Williams explains. “Some days, I cry. I’m really sad. I’ve had meltdowns. It’s been a really tough 11 months. If I can do it, you guys can do it too.”
Adding her voice to the chorus of moms out there who’ve spoken out about the way social media has skewed post-pregnancy body expectations, Williams admits that she, too, felt the pressure to show fans how she bounced back after giving birth.
“I hated that I fell victim to that,” says Williams. “It puts a lot of pressure on women, young and old.”
Williams is currently gearing up for the 2018 U.S. Open, where she’ll be serving up lewks in her latest collaboration with Nike and Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh.