Not even winning 23 grand slams could prepare Serena Williams for the biggest adventure of a lifetime.
In case you missed it, the tennis legend gave birth to a daughter earlier today, her first child with fiancé Alexis Ohanian. Reports indicate that mama and baby are doing well, and Venus Williams shared her joy prior to competing at the 2017 U.S. Open.
"Obviously I'm super excited. Words can't describe," the athlete told ESPN reporters.
Serena's been open in describing the shock she felt after finding out about the accidental pregnancy, which was confirmed less than four months after the Reddit co-founder popped the question and the pair became engaged.
But through it all, she's also proven that if anyone can handle motherhood, it's this incredible star. Read on for her most inspiring and powerful takes on raising a child of her own.
Congratulations to both mom and dad!
Serena and Alexis Ohanian didn't find out the sex of their child, but the tennis legend told Vogue she always suspected it'd be a girl. "Two weeks after we found out [I was pregnant,] I played the Australian Open," she said. "I told Alexis it has to be a girl because there I was playing in 100-degree weather, and that baby never gave me any trouble. Ride or die. Women are tough that way."
Before giving birth, Serena gave an in-depth interview to Vogue, where she discussed her inevitable return to the court. "I used to think I'd want to retire when I have kids, but no," she shared. "I'm definitely coming back."
"Walking out there and hearing the crowd, it may seem like nothing. But there's no better feeling in the world...If anything, this pregnancy has given me a new power. I think I've had a love-hate relationship with the idea of power...Not only me, but women in general sometimes feel that 'power' is a bad word."
As a female in the sports industry, she's dealt with sexism first-hand. Serena told us, "It's something we have to deal with in our lives, and I think if it is a girl, mommy is probably one of the best people that has been dealing with it, so we will have a lot of talk about!"
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In conversation with E! News, Williams shared, "I have been really fortunate and I have had a really good pregnancy, and everything has just been really good. Sometimes I am walking in my house, and I'm like, 'I really like being pregnant.' I never thought I would say that. I am definitely [the type] that enjoys it."
Annie Leibovitz exclusively for Vanity Fair
"I knew it was coming. I was like, ‘Serena, you're 35, you're ready. This is what you want,'" the athlete recalled to Vanity Fair about learning of her pregnancy. "If you would have told me last year in October or November that I would have a baby, not be pregnant but have a baby, I would have thought you were the biggest liar in the world. This is kind of how I am right now. This is happening sooner than later, and it's going by so fast."
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Despite taking a break from tennis throughout her pregnancy, Serena told Gayle King at a TED2017 talk, "My story isn't over...This is just a new part of my life. My baby is going to be in the stands—hopefully cheering for me, and not crying too much!"
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While making her keynote speech at the BlogHer Conference in June 2017, Williams touched on the greatest advice her mom gave her. "And so I feel like all those lessons [my mom] taught me about being so strong," she shared, "of proud of who I am, of being able to look anyone in the face and have confidence and speak with so much confidence is something that I really have been able to embrace and would love to teach my kid that."
Snapchat / Serena Williams
After announcing her pregnancy in April 2017, she penned an emotional note to her unborn child on Instagram. "My Dearest Baby, You gave me the strength I didn't know I had," she wrote. "You taught me the true meaning of serenity and peace. I can't wait to meet you."
"I can't wait for you to join the player's box next year, but most importantly, I am so happy to share being number one in the world with you.... once again today. On @alexisohanian bday. From the world's oldest number one to the world's youngest number one. -Your Mommy."