Writing candidly to her Instagram followers, the mum admits she is suffering from “postpartum emotions” describing the struggle to maintain motherhood and her tennis career.
“Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom. I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to 3 [Sic] years if not dealt with. I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal,” she wrote.
“It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby.”
Never shying from sharing a moment of motherhood realness, the tennis star opened up to her nine million followers. Admitting her feelings could be shared among many mums, Williams leans on her support system of family and friends.
“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 her 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,” wrote the athlete.
With global statistics of 10-20% of women suffering from postnatal depression, Williams’ post resonated with followers. Receiving more than 346,000 likes and 7,300 comments, fans reassured the athlete with their similar experiences.
“Serena please don’t feel guilty, you are not doing anything wrong, you see your baby 24/7 and she loves you for being there for her. You are truly a good role-model to us all. We love you very much and admired what you have achieved. Love from Cambridge, UK,” read one comment.
“I so relate to you! I guess all working mothers go through the same, [Sic] but keep strong. You will see it is going to get better and it is important you accept that you are not only a mother but also a great player, wife, lover, sister… and you need to have time for yourself too. Challenge is to ensure all is in balance. Thanks for sharing, you are a strong woman – we love you,” added another.
According to the NHS, when it comes to the UK, more than one in 10 women experience clinical postnatal depression within one year of giving birth.
While this form of depression is most likely to present itself in women who have previously experienced depression or anxiety, it can happen to anyone.
Less severe ‘baby blues’ are also common in the first one to two weeks after giving birth, and resolve shortly after.
For postnatal depression, the symptoms reveal within the first two months after giving birth and can last for months to years.
The following symptoms are key indicators of postnatal depression:
- low mood
- constant exhaustion
- inability to cope
- feelings of guilt regarding their inability to cope or not loving the baby enough
- overwhelming anxiety
- difficulty sleeping
- lack of appetite
- difficulties bonding with the baby
- relationship difficulties with the partner
- low energy
- low sex drive
- social withdrawal (from family and friends)
- crying for no reason
In a 2011 study, the NHS reported that the number of women suffering from postnatal depression may be even greater than believed.
Roughly 58% of new mothers living with postnatal depression did not seek medical support. It is believed this is due to new mums not understanding the condition or fearing the consequences of reporting the problem.
If a new mum believes she is suffering from postnatal depression, it is recommended she seek support either through her GP or health advisor.
One of the most-highly recommended forms of support is self-help with encouragement to speak about your feelings with loved ones, engage in activities you enjoy and eat a healthy diet.
If the condition is severe, new mums may be recommended therapy sessions – and in some cases, an antidepressant prescription.
While Williams is taking the self-help approach to postnatal depression, she encourages her followers to stay positive if they are experiencing similar emotions, reminding them there’s always tomorrow to try again.
“I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week–it’s ok–I am, too!!![Sic] There’s always tomm!”
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