Serena Williams announced her imminent retirement in a recent heartfelt first-person essay for Vogue magazine. She also disclosed that she and husband Alexis Ohanian have been trying to have a second child.
Williams, who gave birth to daughter Olympia in September 2017, expressed her desire to expand her family but made it clear that she does not wish to become pregnant while still playing. The 23-time Major champion won the 2017 Australian Open title while carrying Olympia.
Williams believes retirement is the only way out for her as she bids to embark on a new chapter in her life.
"In the last year, Alexis and I have been trying to have another child, and we recently got some information from my doctor that put my mind at ease and made me feel that whenever we’re ready, we can add to our family," Serena Williams wrote for Vogue. "I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out."
The American revealed that Olympia is also keen on having a sibling, recounting an anecdote about her daughter wishing to be a "big sister."
"This morning, my daughter, Olympia, who turns five this month, and I were on our way to get her a new passport before a trip to Europe. We’re in my car, and she’s holding my phone, using an interactive educational app she likes. This robot voice asks her a question: What do you want to be when you grow up? She doesn’t know I’m listening, but I can hear the answer she whispers into the phone. She says, 'I want to be a big sister,' Williams further wrote.
Williams did mention, however, that Olympia wanted a baby sister rather than a brother.
"Olympia says this a lot, even when she knows I’m listening. Sometimes before bed, she prays to Jehovah to bring her a baby sister. (She doesn’t want anything to do with a boy!) I’m the youngest of five sisters myself, and my sisters are my heroes, so this has felt like a moment I need to listen very carefully to," Williams continued.
"Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity" - Serena Williams explains how women have it tougher in competitive sport
Serena Williams went on to explain that, as a woman, she had to choose between family and career. The American also highlighted how male athletes like Tom Brady can have longer careers as they don't have to work extensively on expanding their families.
"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," Serena Williams wrote.
"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," she added.
Williams further disclosed that she thoroughly loved her first pregnancy experience, even though her physical and mental health rapidly deteriorated in the immediate aftermath.
"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," she stated.
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