Exploring Serena Williams’ postpartum journey after welcoming her second child brings back memories of her challenging transition to motherhood in 2017. Williams encountered life-threatening complications after the emergency C-section delivery of her first child, daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., with her husband Alexis Ohanian, along with postpartum depression.

Detailed in a Vogue column from 2002, Serena announced her retirement from tennis, citing her many achievements, health complications following childbirth, and the trials of adjusting to motherhood.

She highlighted the imbalance in how responsibilities are often divided between men and women, especially when it comes to pursuing professional careers and starting a family.

“I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” Williams wrote. “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labour of expanding our family.”

In 2017 Serena won the Australian Open – her 23rd Grand Slam title — while she was pregnant with the couple’s first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

But months later she nearly died due to a blood clot in her lung following Olympia’s emergency C-section birth.

“I went from a C-section to a second pulmonary embolism to a Grand Slam final,” she wrote at the time. “I played while breastfeeding. I played through postpartum depression.”

“I’m ready to be a mom and explore a different version of myself,” she said after her final match.

Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, welcomed their second daughter in 2023. The couple now have two daughters: 6-year-old Olympia and newborn Adira.

While details of her birthing experience for her second daughter remain undisclosed, a glimpse into Serena’s postpartum journey through her Instagram feed reveals a focus on self-care and cherishing precious moments with her growing family. In this blog post, we’ll explore 5 key aspects of Serena’s postpartum recovery journey.



1. Serena’s making time for enjoyable activities

Serena took a break from home life and headed out to catch Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin in concert. It’s refreshing to carve out some time for yourself postpartum. Maybe hitting the dance floor with a crowd isn’t your idea of a good time, but sometimes new moms just need to hang out with a friend or two. And what better way to do that than over a leisurely cup of coffee and a chat for a couple of hours?

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, about 85 percent of mothers experience the postpartum blues after giving birth, which typically lasts a few weeks. During this time, it’s essential to be kind to yourself and ride it out.

Even though you’re a mum, it’s important to stay connected with your hobbies and activities that bring you joy. Taking some time away from mothering duties can work wonders for your mood and help you show up in the best way possible for your family. Remember, you are as good to others as you feel within yourself. While having childcare certainly makes it easier, there are still activities you can enjoy even if your baby is with you, like a nature walk, a mani-pedi, or a meal at your favourite restaurant. Planning outings around your baby’s nap time can give you some much needed uninterrupted “me time.”

Serena has been immersing herself in the joy of family while balancing moments of togetherness with time for herself. Self-care is fundamentally about nurturing your happiness whether you go alone or together.

2. She’s gradually getting back to her peak fitness level

I observed Serena’s postpartum journey isn’t about whipping her body back to shape but about nurturing her body back to health. Unlike the typical viral “snap back” pictures, she hasn’t shared one, pointing out that what really matters is the health and recovery of both mom and baby above all else. Whether intentional or incidental, this approach positively influences expectations of women’s bodies postpartum. It highlights how feeling healthy and happy while bouncing back is key, even if it isn’t immediately visible to others. Birthing a whole human is a major event and your body will need time to heal.

Postpartum recovery actually starts before giving birth. Your diet and lifestyle choices significantly influence how well you recover after having a baby. Serena stayed active throughout her pregnancy, as evident in this video she posted on her YouTube channel. Serena has shared a few fitness-related posts, gradually working her way back to strength postpartum. Her first fitness post, around 7 weeks after giving birth, featured her doing core exercises, which are crucial for postpartum recovery due to the weakening of abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor during pregnancy and childbirth.

It’s important to recognize that post-baby fitness looks different for everyone, and Serena doesn’t seem to be trying to prove anything to anyone.

In one Instagram video, Serena demonstrated a barbell squat during her gym session and received some critique about her form from followers.

click to watch:

“Serena I thought you would know how to do proper depth squats gang. What’s this?”

“Your squat technique is bad”

“Me as coach want to jump in and fix the technique”

However, others came to her defence, highlighting the fact that she had recently given birth and commending her for giving herself grace while still challenging herself.

“For the people in the back who critiquing her form and her “how to” and the fact she literally said “until I get back to where I need to be”! Just may may wait for it SHE JUST HAD A WHOLE HUMAN LESSS THAN 6MTHS AGO! Common sense goes a long way. Some things don’t have to be explained in ABC form”

“Here to read all the little men critiquing the literal GOAT from their couches…”

“I love that you’re not pushing yourself to be where you used to be which is hard for athletes. Great job giving yourself grace but also challenging yourself to keep showing up & being the strongest version of yourself now”

Ultimately, postpartum recovery is a personal journey, not a group project. Serena’s approach emphasises doing what works best for her. She’s been enjoying various fitness activities like pilates, hiking, and staying active on family vacations, sharing her journey with her fans along the way.

3. Serena’s embracing the changes in her new life

Serena has maintained a positive self-image throughout her illustrious tennis career, and she continues to embrace this outlook when considering her postpartum body.

Serena posted a vacation snapshot of herself in a bikini cradling newborn Adira. The caption of the picture reads:

“Loving yourself is essential. I find that I have to remind myself of that self-love through all different stages in my life. Right now I love that my body is not picture perfect. I love that I smell like milk – that milk sustains @adiraohanian I love getting to know a new version of my body. It is a change, but it’s a change that has been well worth it. So start this week, knowing that you are loved, and that starts with you.

Ok, now I’m about to go to the gym

Serena.”

Serena is embracing her new postpartum body through fashion, appreciating the beauty of motherhood and the nourishing role of breastfeeding.

Changes to your body are a natural part of pregnancy and birth. Making peace with your new body is a way of protecting your self-image and mental well-being. When you shift your gaze away from unrealistic beauty standards, you’ll find it easier to make healthy choices that prioritise your overall health and well-being. This includes proper nutrition, adequate rest, and engaging in physical activity for enjoyment rather than solely for appearance.



4. Serena’s giving to others

Serena gave a stash of liquid gold away- yup, you guessed right! She donated her breastmilk. Donating breast milk is a compassionate act that helps ensure all infants have access to the nutritional and health benefits of human milk, regardless of their circumstances.

Sacred texts remind us that, giving is more rewarding than receiving. Engaging in acts of generosity not only boosts your happiness but also benefits your overall health.

The anticipation of meeting your new baby can be filled with excitement, but once the baby arrives, it can feel like a bubble has burst, leaving you wondering what comes next. Happiness is a lifestyle, not a onetime event; and so, engaging in small acts of kindness towards others can help replenish your happiness reserves.

5. Serena is staying connected with business

Serena’s standing on business—hitting up industry events, award shows, and striking poses for brand partnerships and her other business ventures- with her most recent being Will Perform- a wellness brand focussed on recovery essentials for pain relief and muscle care.  Serena isn’t avoiding work, but she also doesn’t appear to be overexerting herself.

Staying informed about industry trends through networking events, ‘keeping in touch’ days at your office, volunteering, or a side hustle can keep you current and mentally sharp. This makes transitioning back to work easier if you choose to return. Working also boosts self-esteem and reinforces your value beyond your role on the home front.

Take Home…

Serena’s taken on her postpartum journey with a positive attitude, despite the challenges of her first pregnancy. It’s a good reminder that every birth is its own adventure! Her postpartum journey reflects a balanced approach, making sure to take care of herself along the way. From embracing her evolving body and enjoying family moments to getting back in fitness and staying connected with her boss side, Serena inspires others to embrace their own unique postpartum journeys and find fulfilment in every aspect of their lives.

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