No new mother wants to be on the receiving end of unwanted baby advice, and Serena Williams’ decision to leave her friend Meghan Markle to “just be” is testament to the strength of their friendship.
Sleeping. Feeding. Winding. Changing. Swaddling. The cycle of new motherhood is all-consuming, and every day can feel like undergoing a territorial obstacle course, only with the promise of another dirty nappy as the prize.
As if getting to grips with a wholly dependent plus-one wasn’t enough to test your nerves, there’s also the inevitability of dealing with the onslaught of unwanted parenting advice. That means that when you have a baby, the sleeping, feeding, winding, changing and swaddling also become the subject of unsolicited guidance from the whole world and their Mum.
Serena Williams, naturally, is one woman who understands this predicament all too well. As well as being a casual 23-time Grand Slam champion, she’s also a mother to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, who she welcomed into the world last September with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
So when asked what kind of baby advice she was doling out to her friend, the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, who gave birth to son Archie Harrison earlier in May, Williams was on hand to impart some well-timed wisdom of a different kind.
“I never pass on words of wisdom because I feel like, everyone, when they have a kid, especially when you just have a baby, it’s so difficult to just be,” Williams told the BBC in an interview at Wimbledon. “It’s just like get through the first three, four months and then we can talk.”
Can we take five while we get ‘I want time to ‘just be”’ made up in merch for all the new mothers out there? In fact, can we get this sent to all the women in our lives who just want to be left in peace to do their own thing? Can we get this written on our gravestones?
Williams wasn’t done with bestowing the impromptu feminist gems, though. When the interviewer commented that the tennis star seemed to “have this whole parenting thing totally down”, she served the truth on the whole business of parenting.
“I totally do not,” Williams said. “I’m a mess.”
Seriously, what is there not to love about this woman?
Williams finished up by talking about her experiences of motherhood to her 1-year-old daughter, and how she’s using her voice to change the perceptions of women in the media.
“I want to leave a legacy, I want to be this positive person for my daughter,” she continued. “Everything I do, I want to do it for my daughter and I’ve never obviously had that motivation before.”
“For me, it’s really important to believe in yourself and it’s hard. I can’t imagine growing up nowadays in this time, but I have to imagine because I have a daughter that’s going to grow up in this time so I kind of need to put myself in that situation,” Williams said. “I do have a voice that I can use and how do I use that in a positive way?”
Right now, the only thing that could top this conversation is if the Duchess of Sussex turns up to support Williams as she competes at Wimbledon. Do we dare to hope?