Serena Williams opens up about her pregnancy and the difficult birth of her daughter Olympia four years ago.
Game, Layer and Match? In a long article for the she American published on April 4, 2022, the famous tennis player openly and in detail opens up about her pregnancy and childbirth. Maybe she’ll be part of our Push, Madmoizelle column soon, where women talk about their birth. Serena Williams, if you’re reading us…
A pregnancy full of contrasts: a bond with the baby that has developed over time
The international experienced this first pregnancy in 2017 in contrasting ways, adoring some aspects but not all. It is expressed for example in the first trimesterin which people who have experienced pregnancy undoubtedly recognize themselves:
“In the first trimester I had a headache and a metallic taste in my mouth, but overall I loved being pregnant. I’m one of those people who love pregnancy and the attention others have for us during this time. »
But it also reveals something less talked about: feeling disconnected from your baby:
“I was nervous about meeting the baby. Throughout pregnancy I felt no connection to this baby. While I loved being pregnant, there was never a moment where I thought, oh my god, this is my baby. It’s something you don’t talk about because you should love your baby every second. […]
I expected to feel something for this baby during my pregnancy, but It never happened. Some of my mother’s friends told me they didn’t feel that connection either, which made me feel better, but I still waited. »
The connection finally came about when she met her baby during the delivery, which didn’t go as planned. She had to have a cesarean section when she wanted to give birth vaginally. The encounter triggered something in her, as she explains:
« When I finally saw her I knew she would be a girl, I loved her. It wasn’t exactly instant, but it was there, and that love just kept growing after that. I couldn’t stop staring at her, my Olympia. »
As Serena Williams puts it with great sincerity, bonding with the baby doesn’t necessarily begin during pregnancy, it can take time to solidify.
The maternal instinct, that myth
During pregnancy and also after birth, the wave of love described in this way is not necessarily there, and that is NORMAL. Bonding can develop over time when baby and parents get to know each other.
My mother, Serena Williams’ relatives in a way, had warned me that meeting the baby wasn’t exactly obvious. After the birth of my brother, her first child, she had felt strangeness toward him for the hours that followed before finally feeling love.
Unfortunately, when my twins were born, the urgency and premature birth meant that I couldn’t see them properly afterwards and didn’t ask myself such questions.
The myth of the maternal instinct is still very persistent and creates feelings of guilt among many birthers who need time before feeling anything for their baby.
Maternal love certainly exists; it can occur during pregnancy, at birth, but also long after, or never… The bond between child and mother is not innate, but it builds. As noted by the great anthropologist Françoise Héritier psychologies :
“The term instinct in the strict sense implies that one is involuntarily led to a certain kind of behavior that would be associated with it to our species.
This applies to animals, but not to humans. Because man is endowed with a conscience, free will, feelings… So it’s about will, not instincts. Wills, which can also be missing. »
Thank you Serena Williams for spreading the word: Don’t feel guilty if you feel disconnected with your baby during pregnancy and beyond! There is love at first sight, but there are also relationships that take time to settle down.
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Featured Image: © Instagram account screenshot/Serena Williams