Serena Williams is opening up about life after giving birth.
The 37-year-old tennis pro covers Allure‘s February issue and opens up about loving “everything about” pregnancy — even her body — after giving birth to her 1-year-old daughter, Olympia, whom she shares with her husband, Alexis Ohanian.
“I loved being pregnant. I loved everything about it. I was one of those weird people that loved being pregnant. Those annoying people,” she admits. “…. After I came out [of the hospital], I had a stomach, but I thought, This is kind of cool. I have a stomach because the baby was there.”
“I’m feeling pretty good about my body,” she adds. “I worked hard at it in the past eight months to get back from the baby. It hasn’t been easy. I’m not 21 anymore. But I did it slow and steady.”
As she finds the similarities she shares with her daughter, Williams has made it a point to think about what she wants to teach Olympia about beauty.
“I have a picture from when I was, like, two years old. My arms are ripped. If you look at my daughter, she has a very similar body type,” Williams says. “When I tell her she’s beautiful, I want to teach her that she’s beautiful from the inside. Giving is beauty. Being kind and humble is the ultimate beauty.”
In addition to beauty rules, Williams wants to impart her knowledge about being strong onto Olympia.
“I want her to know that being strong is never easy. Not in this world we are living in… Standing up for yourself is not going to be easy, but it’s always eventually respected,” Williams says. “Those are the people who’ve made a difference in this world, people that stand up for what’s right. If you look at history, those are the people that you really remember. And at the time, oh, my God, it seemed impossible.”
That confidence, Williams says, comes from her own mother, Oracene Price.
“I think my mom instilled in us to be confident women, to really believe in ourselves, be proud of our heritage, our hair, and our bodies. That was something that was really important for her to teach us,” she says. “I’m definitely teaching it to my daughter.”
When she’s not gushing over her daughter or on the tennis court, Williams is marveling about her happy married life with 35-year-old Ohanian.
“It just hadn’t happened, and I really didn’t think about it much,” she says of their engagement and marriage. “I was so committed to my job, and to being the best and working the hardest, and I think I still am. Not to knock anyone else I was with before, because they were all mostly amazing, but I know now I can be selfish, have a great career, and a great partner, someone that believes in me.”
That great partner came in the form of Ohanian, who fit Oprah Winfrey’s rule for relationships to a tee.
“Oprah said, ‘Never let anyone dim your light.’ That really stuck with me,” Williams says. “Alexis doesn’t dim my light. He doesn’t try to dim my light. He puts me in the light, even if I don’t want to be. He pushes me to further points I never thought about. It always was something that I could see in some relationships — my light would be dimmer.”
“Now I feel like I can shine really bright and still do everything that I want to do,” she adds.