Serena Williams opens up about ‘mum guilt’ and the postnatal struggle

The Olympian shares the ups and downs of the postpartum period, and how natural it is to feel like you’re not doing enough for your baby.

A photo of Serena Williams standing on some rocks with the sea and the sunset in the background

Pregnancy blog, 08/08/2018
Image credit: Serena Williams via Instagram

Serena Williams shared an atmospheric photo with her Instagram followers this week, with a caption explaining how down she’s been feeling lately.

“Last week was not easy for me... Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom.”

Luckily for Serena, she has a support network around her including her mum, sisters and friends, who are ready to tell her that what she’s feeling is totally normal.

“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.”

Williams discusses her routine, saying that although she sees her baby every day, her rigorous training means that she’s not as available for her daughter as she would like to be.

“I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week--it’s ok--I am, too!!! There’s always tomm!”

Finishing off her emotional post, Serena reminds any mum out there who might be struggling that she is too, and that tomorrow is hopefully a better day.

Our midwife Sophie says,

"Being a mum can be really hardwork. Whether it’s in the first few days post birth, or a few weeks or months down the line, it’s ok to have days where you feel like a failure. This is caused by hormonal fluctuations and whilst this may be how you feel, the guarantee is that you are doing a fabulous job as mummy and your baby is thriving.

"Life is busy and we have many roles and responsibilities that we feel we must live up to (as a women, a partner, a daughter, a friend - the list is endless!) and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But talking to family and friends is a great way to share your thoughts and help you to process what you are feeling. And of course, we are here for you too.

"You can always get in touch with us on the PregnancyLine Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. We always have time to address your concerns, have a friendly chat and point you in the direction of extra support if you need it. Your mental health is as important as your physical health!"

The ‘baby blues’ versus postnatal depression (PND)

After about 3 to 5 days after birth, new mums may get weepy and feel overwhelmed. This is referred to as the ‘baby blues’, and it’s something that most women go through.

These anxious, low and irritable feelings should calm down by the time their baby is around ten days old. These are normal feelings as hormones adjust and treatment should not be needed.

If the unhappiness doesn’t go away and lasts for weeks or months, it is likely to be postnatal depression PND. It can vary from mild to severe and affect women in different ways. In severe cases of PND, women can find it very difficult to look after themselves or their new baby.

Getting support

If you think you might have PND, speak to your midwife, health visitor or doctor about how you feel. They won’t judge you – they know this happens to many new mums, and will help you work out what treatment you need to get better.

Talking about your thoughts and feelings can be difficult, so try writing down what you want to say first, or take someone with you to your appointment. The important thing is to talk to someone.

Find out more about what happens after the birth.

Download our wellbeing plan [PDF] to help you put your feelings into words.

Read more about mental health during and after pregnancy

More pregnancy news and blogs

    Was this information useful?

    Yes No