Menu

Serena Williams missed her baby's first steps and fellow mamas are feeling her pain

It's hard, but it happens and parents should not feel guilty.

Serena Williams missed her baby's first steps and fellow mamas are feeling her pain

When we become parents we want to be there for every special milestone and moment in our baby's life. But while today's mothers are spending more time with their children than the generations before us did, but we're also spending more time on paid work. So as much as we would love to be in two places at once, we simply can't be. And sometimes, that hurts.

It's a reality Serena Williams understands. She recently missed a milestone that many mamas look forward to witnessing: Her baby's first steps.

"She took her first steps... I was training and missed it. I cried," she tweeted Saturday.

It's totally understandable that Williams was heartbroken to miss this milestone in baby Olympia's life, but it's a pain many mamas can relate to.

According to the results of a survey released by Motherly, 78% of mothers surveyed say they have mixed feelings about combining a career and motherhood, and that "there are real tradeoffs".

Missing your baby's first steps because you were training to compete as an elite athlete or because you were working a desk job could be considered a tradeoff of working motherhoodbut Williams and other moms should absolutely not feel guilty about missing a milestone while they're working (as Twitter users pointed out).

The truth is, missed milestones aren't just a hazard of working parenthood, they're a reality of parenting, period.

A stay-at-home mom might learn her baby took their first wobbly steps while she was taking a quick shower or loading the dishwasher. A co-parenting mother might learn her baby stood for the first time while they were at their other parent's house. A mom or dad might send their child to spend the afternoon with grandma, only to learn baby's first word came while they were finally getting a desperately needed haircut.

It's heartbreaking when this happens. It's absolutely natural to feel disappointed. It's understandable to cry like Williams did.

It's hard and it hurts and that's okay but it is not your fault, mama.

Parents should try to be kind to themselves when this happens. Because it happens all the time, and (like Twitter users pointed out to Williams) even to parents who don't work outside the home.

When a milestone is missed, take the advice of psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore, who told Working Mother that "milestones are not a single moment."

"You may or may not be there the first time your child stands, but you will definitely have a first time when you see her stand," she says. "That is the moment to celebrate and share in your child's joy."

Williams' daughter Olympia will take more steps, and Williams will get to see them. And the steps she takes for mama will be just as special a momentmaybe even more specialthan the moment Williams missed.

We can't be there every single second of every single day. But we can make the most of the moments we do get. They're the special ones.

[Correction, July 7, 2018: An earlier version of this post contained a photo of Olympia with her aunt, Venus Williams.]

You might also like:

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

FEATURED VIDEO

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less
Life

What you need to know about President Trump's Supreme Court pick

The President has reportedly selected his third SCOTUS nominee.

President Donald Trump has chosen his third pick for the Supreme Court—and he picked a mom.

The New York Times reports President Trump is choosing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee. An official statement is scheduled for Saturday.

Keep reading Show less
popular