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Serena's pregnancy reminds us to strive for a personal best

BLOOMIN’ AMAZING: Serena Williams won the Australian Open while pregnant

LAST WEEK, Serena Williams revealed that she – with fiancé, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian - was 20 weeks pregnant with her first child.

The announcement was made in a Snapchat post, and later confirmed by one of her representatives. ’Tis true, guys, and we are gassed.

It wasn’t long before many of us clocked that she would’ve been about eight weeks into her pregnancy, as she won her record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open. The 35-year-old athlete did not drop one set.

To refer to the above as 'no mean feat' is an understatement: it’s bloomin’ amazing. It is a testament to the strength of women’s bodies. It is possible to grow babies and still be bosses at what we do.

Our ’Rena’s pal Beyoncé, who is also pregnant at the mo, put it eloquently in her 2011 hit Girls:

Boy I know you love it/ How we’re smart enough to make these millions/ Strong enough to bear the children/ Then get back to business.

By the way, Serena’s news serves a massive two fingers to the Internet trolls, who have spent untold time criticising her body image and femininity. I wonder if they’d like a drink with that humble pie?

Of course, Serena’s announcement was met across social media with immense praise from right-thinking women and men. One user, Travon Free, quipped:

“Serena Williams won a grand slam while she was pregnant so every man should probably shut up about everything forever.”

Many women compared Serena’s pregnant Grand Slam win with their own day-to-day struggles, in attempts to high- light the sheer significance of this event. For instance, Taryn Finley posted:

“I can’t even get out of bed when I’m on my period. Sis is superwoman.”

Charles Clymer wrote:

“I will do good things in this life – maybe greater – but I will never win the Australian Open while pregnant.”

As cute as some of these posts were, it must be remembered that, just as Serena has always worked hard towards being the formidable athlete that she is, this experience would’ve been far from Utopian.

Serena would have grafted for this win, perhaps even more than usual, because of her pregnancy. That is why this particular accomplishment is so admirable.

Women who have been pregnant will tell you that the first trimester can be extremely exhausting. It often comes with a lot of uncomfortable changes in the body such as body aches, nausea and morning (or ‘any time in the day, really’) sickness. Not to mention emotional changes.

Let’s celebrate Serena’s victory and draw inspiration from the fact that she achieved a personal best. Obviously, not every pregnant woman will be able to do what Serena did - that’s fine. If the woman makes it to the shop, she should applaud herself on that accomplishment!

Not every girl on her period will be able to get out of bed – this is fine. Whenever Taryn does, she should give herself a pat on the back.

Once we accept that our personal bests are not uniform, it won’t pale in comparison to even Serena Williams. But her news gives us permission, if ever we need any, to borrow her formula and apply it to our own journeys; stay on our ‘A’ game, work hard and celebrate our triumphs whether that’s in sport, the boardroom or the classroom.

You just have to prove to yourself that you can go out there and be the best that you can be and not prove anything to anyone.

Thank you, Serena – and congratulations on the happy news!

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