Serena Williams on Fear of Pregnancy & Being a Bad Mother. I’m NOT a Baby Person
Pregnancy Fear and Doubt of Being a Good Mother
Serena Williams recently said that she was worried about becoming a parent because she’s not a “baby person.” Many women judged her for putting career first when she won the Australian Open while pregnant. She couldn’t help but give in to those judgments and social expectations that revolve around being a successful woman and a mother. In her Vogue interview, she shared, “The biggest thing is that I don’t really think I’m a baby person. Not yet. That’s something I have to work on. I’m so used to me-me-me, taking care of my health, my body, my career. I always ask, ‘Am I going to be good enough?’”
Just a few days after announcing I was pregnant, we did this shoot for the @voguemagazine iconic September issue. I was so energetic that day but then I remember being totally exhausted and needed to take a break for an hour. I was still trying to understand this whole pregnancy process. Nowadays I have no ankles or toes and my fingers resemble sausages but it's moments like this that are captured by @mariotestino that makes everything worthwhile. Dress by my love @donatella_versace
Biggest Fear of 21st Century Women
This fear of not being good enough gets to the most powerful and successful women of the twenty-first century. Working with them in divorce counseling, I realized that it’s not just me who also ponders about it. My clients, the women who always get what they want in their career, realized that it’s normal for to not be able to resist to the fear of being good enough.
Balance Motherhood with Parenting
Our career success doesn’t shield us from the internal battle that we women go through on a daily basis. And the biggest one of all is about balancing motherhood with parenting, building a career, dealing with divorce, saving your marriage, or embracing your sexuality. Phew… This is why I want to offer my take on whether worrying about not being a ‘baby person’ is normal. Or maybe there something to worry about. I’ll also offer advice for new or soon-to-be moms who don’t consider themselves “baby people.”
What it means to be a mother isn’t what we believe. Mothers going to therapy trying to find themselves again and deal with constant guilt are a testament to this. We try to fit in one-size-fits-all motherhood that doesn’t work instead of becoming a sculptor of our own definition of a ‘baby person’ or a great mother.
Becoming a mother is like working on a sculpture. Inside of every block of marble, there is a unique, beautiful sculpture. It’s up to the woman to discover it.
The source of the worry that soon-to-be moms experience has quite often nothing to do with the internal fear of being a bad mother. The fear originates from the expectations other women are placing on each other that determine whether you’re a ‘failed mother’ or not, regardless of how you feel about yourself as a mother.
The human rights lawyer Amal Clooney is expecting twins with her actor husband, George Clooney. She’s been wearing her success and pregnancy with honor, fashion, and class. It didn’t sit well with one fashion writer, who wondered: “Wearing 4 and a half inch heels while pregnant…is that wise, Amal?” Judgement!
If you aren’t a ‘baby person’ that is perfectly ok.
You don’t have to be a ‘baby person’ to be a wonderful mother on your terms.
Unfortunately, we use a cookie-cutter formula to determine whether we’re good with kids.
It’s ok to love your career and be a mother. It’s ok to embrace your feminine sexuality and be a mother. A few years ago, I wrote an article on the fact that women were shaming Beyonce for her sexually provocative video clip for Partition. She didn’t shy away from giving an empowering answer. “I don’t feel shameful about being sexual. I don’t feel embarrassed about it; rather I protect this side of me because I do believe that sexuality is the power we all have.”
In fact, the opposite is not healthy – when a woman in you dies and only mother exists. You dissolve in your children. You stop existing! You stay in a toxic relationship that you should have ended years ago. Then you lose yourself in post-divorce depression. When you don’t invest in yourself, it’s a never ending a cancerous cycle of self-sabotage.
It’s ok to hire a nanny and go to your office to fill yourself up.
When we put our children first, we forget that we’re the example of self-love and self-respect for the children. When we use children as an excuse not to have our hair done, skip the gym, or leave a toxic relationship, there is not much of a good example there.
Here’s the hot truth to remember:
Fill yourself up first.
If you worry that self-love is selfish, it’s not. It’s selfFULL. When you’re a career woman, it’s hard to stop trying to be strong for everybody. It’s hard to let your guards down and ask for help or to be loved. Sometimes you don’t know HOW. Sometimes, you feel weak for asking. But wearing “I’m strong” badge and putting everything or everyone before yourselves does more harm than good.
Don’t make your children thieves.
When you constantly give without recharging yourself, you’re making other people thieves, and they don’t even know about it. What do they tell you to do on the airplane in case of emergency? It might be a good idea to follow time-proven life-saving strategies.
Be a woman first, mother second.
Woman’s first job isn’t to reproduce. It’s to know who you’re and love yourself. Only then you’ll know who you want to be and why. This way you can change the world and still be the mother YOU choose to be, not what others want you to be.
What are your thoughts on not being a ‘baby person’? I’d also like to hear from moms who don’t or didn’t consider themselves baby people about what parenting was like for you.
No matter what you’re facing right now, there is an adventurous journey ahead. You’re here to change the world. Don’t let narrow-minded people stop you from creating a miracle that you were destined to create.
Always remember to charge yourself with counseling and therapy.
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