Serena Williams’ exit from Australian Open sends message to new moms: It’s okay to take your time

serenawilliams(NEW YORK) — New mom Serena Williams’s decision to bow out of the Australian Open was not lost on other moms also finding their way back to fitness after childbirth.

“I think that sets a great example, the fact that she’s listening to her body and not pushing through,” said Anne Mauney, a registered dietitian and blogger. “Someone so talented and athletic sending a message that it’s smart to be cautious is great.”

Mauney, who gave birth to her first daughter in November, delivered her daughter, Riese, via Cesarean section. She was surprised when her doctor cleared her for exercise four weeks after the delivery but gave her no guidance.

“I was surprised because I thought four weeks seemed early so asked if I should be avoiding anything and he said, ‘No, you’re healed … don’t overdo it,’” Mauney recalled. “I’m a marathoner. Does that mean two miles or 20 miles?”

Williams, 36, was in the first trimester of her pregnancy when she won the Australian Open last year.

She bowed out of this year’s tournament four months after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia.

“After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized that although I am super close, I’m not where I personally want to be,” Williams said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. “My coach and team always said, ‘Only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way.’ I can compete – but I don’t want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time.

“With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year.”

Williams later opened up about the complications she endured during Alexis’ birth, telling Vogue magazine she underwent multiple operations after sustaining a pulmonary embolism the day after she gave birth via emergency C-section.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner said she was forced to spend the first six weeks of motherhood unable to get out of bed.

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