Just days after making an emotional post to social media about having missed her 10-month-old daughter’s first steps while training, Serena Williams, 36, punched her way through to the Wimbledon semifinals on Tuesday with a difficult comeback victory over Camila Giorgi of Italy. Seeking her first major title since giving birth to baby Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. in September, Williams was composed despite falling a set down early to the shotmaking Italian, and rallied to a 3-6 6-3 6-4 win over the upstart challenger. But in a post to Twitter on Saturday, Williams was openly distraught after learning that Alexis had taken her first steps while her mother was out practicing.
She took her first steps… I was training and missed it. I cried.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) July 7, 2018
Remarkably, Williams’ admission prompted an outpouring of support from other mothers who comforted the all-time tennis great and shared stories about times they missed important firsts with their own children as well.
“I missed a bunch of firsts while I was at work. I hear ya, mama. It’s not easy,” wrote Twitter user Raakhee Mirchandani in a reply to Williams. “But our girls see us out there grinding + living our dreams and that’s got to mean something. Good luck in London — my daughter and I are both rooting for you.”
“I’m a housewife and was in the next room and I missed it. With both of the twins,” added another user named wondermom. “Please don’t feel bad. Be happy for her and be ready for the running after her.”
As the day went on, mother after mother chimed in with words of love and encouragement alongside retellings of their experiences. Almost without exception, they counseled Williams that so long as she loved her daughter — and herself — things would turn out just fine for both of them.
I took my 1st child all the way to Israel on a trade mission. During a meeting I heard cheering out in the waiting area …. Yup, staff and husband and assorted strangers saw her 1st steps. It all turns out okay. #workingmomsrock
— jane swift (@janemswift) July 7, 2018
Oh @serenawilliams ! Don’t be sad. You’re going to be chasing her everywhere soon. And will have tons of memories. Do not beat yourself up—bring a mom is hard enough without self flogging. Loving her (and yourself) is the best mom trick. 😘
— Gwynne (@gwynnek) July 7, 2018
Williams, evidently, is more than strong enough to weather the emotional and practical challenges of motherhood without it detracting from her quest for her 40th Grand Slam title. With only one match between her and the final, she will next face off against 13th-seeded Julian Georges of Germany.
Below, watch a highlight of Williams clinching her match over Giorgi.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 10, 2018
Read the full story at Today.