Serena Williams' Rawest, Most Emotional (and Adorable) Motherhood Confessions

The tennis great and mom to 4-year-old Alexis Olympia doesn't hold anything back - and we love her for that

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Alexis Ohanian, Olympia Ohanian Jr, and Serena Williams attend the 2021 AFI Fest: Closing Night Premiere Of Warner Bros. "King Richard" at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 14, 2021 in Hollywood, California
Jon Kopaloff/Getty

"Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don't think it's fair. 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 labor of expanding our family. Maybe I'd be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity. Don't get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia. I was one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and was working until the day I had to report to the hospital — although things got super complicated on the other side. And I almost did do the impossible: A lot of people don't realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I'm turning 41 this month, and something's got to give."

- to Vogue in the September 2022 issue

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Serena Williams of The United States of America serves in her Women's Singles first round match against Laura Siegemund of Germany during day one of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 08, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia.
Cameron Spencer/Getty

"Earlier in my career, I never thought about having kids. There were times when I've wondered if I should ever bring kids into this world, with all its problems. I was never that confident or comfortable around babies or children, and I figured that if I ever did have a baby, I would have people taking care of it 24/7. I'm not going to lie — I definitely have a lot of support. But I'm also an incredibly hands-on mother. My husband will tell you I am too hands-on. In five years, Olympia has only spent one 24-hour period away from me. This past year, while I was recovering from a hamstring injury, I got to pick her up from school four or five days a week, and I always looked forward to seeing her face light up when she walked out of the building and saw me waiting there for her. The fact is that nothing is a sacrifice for me when it comes to Olympia."

- to Vogue in the September 2022 issue

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Serena Williams and daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

"The last 2 years have been my greatest accomplishment."

- on Instagram in 2019

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Serena Williams Instagram
Serena Williams Instagram

"When I tell her she's beautiful, I want to teach her that she's beautiful from the inside. Giving is beauty. Being kind and humble is the ultimate beauty."

- to Allure

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Serena and Olympia
Serena Williams/Instagram

"She keeps me going especially during tournaments. Although the popcorn machine has her attention here, I know she's watching and learning to see how I persevere in challenging and rewarding moments."

- on Instagram

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Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr., Serena Williams
Serena Williams/Instagram

"You know, it's hard. Sometimes my heart literally aches when I'm not around her. But, you know, it's good for me, I guess, to keep working and just to all moms out there that it's not easy. It's really kind of painful sometimes. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do."

- to Forbes

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"After I came out [of the hospital], I had a stomach, but I thought, This is kind of cool. I have a stomach because the baby was there."

- to Allure

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Alex Ohanian/Instagram

"I'm going to go to sleep now cause the sooner I go to sleep the sooner I get to wake up and see @OlympiaOhanian night everyone"

- on Twitter

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"Kids humble us. The other day on a flight home Olympia insisted on running up and down the aisle and when I finally got her to sit still, she threw up all over me."

- on Twitter

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Serena Williams/Twitter

"I just put Olympia @OlympiaOhanian to sleep but I can't seem to put her in bed I'm loving holding her in my arms. I want to milk every second!!!"

- on Twitter

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Serena Williams/Snapchat

"Today I say Olympia fall... but she got back up. She fell again almost immediately.... and almost immediately she got back up again. She always had a smile on her face. I learned a lot from Olympia today."

- on Twitter

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Olympia Ohanian/Instagram

"319 days since I gave birth to this amazing baby @OlympiaOhanian I've spent 319 of those days with her. I'm so fortunate."

- on Twitter

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Britain Wimbledon Tennis, London, United Kingdom - 09 Jul 2018
Tim Ireland/AP/Shutterstock

"These past 2 weeks was a sound for all moms stay home and working you can do it you really can! I'm not any better or diff than any of you all. Your support has ment so much to me. Let's keep making noise everyday in everything we do."

- on Twitter, following her Wimbledon defeat

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Alexis Olympia Ohanian/Instagram

"Goodnight world.... yes it's 8:39pm and I'm going to bed. Because when I wake I'll have a beautiful smart strong sure baby next to me."

- on Twitter

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Tennis French Open, Paris, France - 29 May 2018

"Catsuit anyone? For all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy-here you go. If I can do it, so can you. Love you all!!"

- on Twitter

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Gatorade/Youtube

"I just put Olympia to sleep.... and I am already looking at pictures of her missing her."

- on Twitter

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Serena Williams/Instagram; John Phillips/John Phillips/Getty Images for WTA

"Last night after bath time with Olympia I had to put on her PJ's We wrestled for 20 mins. She was flipping like a fish fresh out of water. If this was a Olympic sport she would have gotten the Gold and me I would not even place. There's got to be an easier way."

- on Twitter

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Roy Rochlin/Getty

"I talk about the struggles all of us moms feel. It's is so important to spread the knowledge."

- on Instagram

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https://www.instagram.com/p/BghY4tGl3Cw/CR: Serena Williams/Instagram
Serena Williams/Instagram

"She never quits. And I mean NEVER quits. I love it"

- on Twitter

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"Every day is my favorite moment"

- on Twitter

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"I just bathed her and put her I bed. Now I feel lonely and like crying cause I miss her so much. When does that go away? I can't wait until morning."

- on Twitter

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"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 my 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. I'm here to say: if you are having a rough day or week - it's ok - I am, too!!! There's always tomm!"

- on Instagram

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Serena Williams WP
Mike Pont/WireImage

"I think people need to talk about [postpartum depression] more because it's almost like the fourth trimester, it's part of the pregnancy. I remember one day, I couldn't find Olympia's bottle and I got so upset I started crying … because I wanted to be perfect for her … I hope I am [a role model], and I'm going to strive to be the best mom I can be."

- to Harper's Bazaar UK

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Alexis Ohanian/Instagram. Inset: Karwai Tang/WireImage

"Omg Alexis Olympia is snoring. Omg I can't take it it's so cute. Totally perfect small snore."

- on Twitter

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"With the help of God She's the best thing I have ever been apart of."

- on Twitter

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Michael Loccisano/Getty

"Today I bought my first bag of diapers. I felt so grown picking out the bag. I may have even looked around hoping someone saw me."

- on Twitter

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Olympia Ohanian/Instagram

"We were watching football together but she got tired and had to take a nap. I miss her. Can't wait till naptime is over."

- on Instagram

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Serena Williams/Snapchat

"3:30 in the morning. Not a soul in site. I'm just waiting on Olympia to wake up so I can give her kisses on this fall night"

- on Twitter

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"I'm having a hard time posting about anything that does not involve Alexis Olympia or something to do with her."

- on Twitter

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"I literally sat Olympia in my arms and I talked to her and we prayed about it. And I told her, 'Look, I'm gonna stop [breastfeeding]. Mommy has to do this.' I cried a little bit - not as much as I thought I [would]. And she was fine."

- during a pre-Wimbledon press conference

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"It's very weird for me to believe I have a child... a KID. I'm a mom. A real MOM"

- on Twitter

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Wimbledon Championships, United Kingdom - 02 Jul 2018
NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

"To all the moms out there, I was playing for you today and I tried."

- following her Wimbledon defeat

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"I was still devastated. I think every woman, a part of them, wants to have birth naturally and [to] feel that … when you get a c-section it's different."

- to PEOPLE

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"Let me be clear: EVERY mother, regardless of race, or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. I personally want all women of all colors to have the best experience they can have. My personal experience was not great but it was MY experience and I'm happy it happened to me. It made me stronger and it made me appreciate women - both women with and without kids - even more. We are powerful!!!"

- on Facebook

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French Open tennis tournament, Roland Garros, Paris, France - 24 May 2018
Rob Prange/Shutterstock

"She took her first steps... I was training and missed it. I cried."

- on Twitter

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"Not sure what I did to deserve her"

- on Instagram

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Serena Williams/Instagram

"I am not sure who took this picture but Working and being a mom is not easy. I am often exhausted, stressed, and then I go play a professional tennis match. We keep going. I am so proud and inspired by the women who do it day in and day out. I'm proud to be this baby's mama"

- on Instagram

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