Motherhood: An Unsung Superpower for Career Women? - Hope 103.2

Motherhood: An Unsung Superpower for Career Women?

While pregnancy and motherhood have their challenges, perhaps this life-changing experience also brings out a unique strength in a woman.

By Joni BoydFriday 19 Jan 2024EntertainmentReading Time: 3 minutes

Is motherhood a hidden superpower? Sarah Snook and Serena Williams are kicking goals, while being honest about the cost and struggle of motherhood.

Everyone’s talking about Sarah Snook’s inspiring Emmy acceptance speech. Sarah thanked her daughter with whom she was pregnant throughout the filming of Succession’s final season, crediting her with giving her strength to perform.

Combine this with Serena Williams’ incredible on-court wins, months after giving birth to her first child and it makes me wonder: do we see pregnancy and motherhood as pure sacrifice – holding women back from their careers and adding nothing to their journey towards success?

(Let me caveat this conversation and say I’ve had three babies… I know the sacrifices involved… and also the joys.)

When Sarah won the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on Succession, her acceptance speech made headlines.

“The biggest thank you I think though is to someone who won’t understand anything that I’m saying at the moment – but I carried her with me in this last season and really it was her who carried me.

“It’s very easy to act when you’re pregnant because you’ve got hormones raging and it was more that the proximity of her life growing inside me gave me the strength to do this and this performance and I love you so much and it’s all for you from here on out.”

Rather than talking about how hard it was to keep to a rigorous acting schedule while pregnant (which no doubt it was!) Sarah highlights the fact that being pregnant brought out a whole new side of her… one which enabled her to better empathise with characters and stories other than her own.

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“The biggest thank you I think though is to someone who won’t understand anything that I’m saying at the moment – but I carried her with me in this last season and really it was her who carried me.

Serena Williams’ career also saw amazing results after giving birth to her first child – despite life threatening complications and a battle with post-natal depression (which she’s refreshingly open and honest about, in real time).

I am not ok today. And that’s ok to not be ok. No one is ok every single day. If you are not ok today I’m with you. There’s always tomorrow 😘 Love you.

— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) November 28, 2023

Speaking to the ABC, sports physician Susan White says she believes it’s possible for women to be become better athletes post-partum, due to psychosocial benefits.

“You are not going to be a worse athlete after you’ve had a baby,” Dr White says.

“Is it going to make you a better athlete? Maybe, because you learn a whole lot of things about yourself and the practicalities of that.”

“The general feeling is that [if athletes do improve] it’s actually combination of things, most of which are psychological and practical.

“If you can come back and be an athlete and manage having a baby and push through all of the stuff that goes with that, then you also understand perhaps different limits than you had before, you have to be more organised, just to be more focused, all of these things.”

While pregnancy and motherhood have their challenges, and are certainly a labour of love (pun definitely intended), perhaps this life-changing experience also brings out a unique strength in a woman.

Having said this, if you’re struggling and need to chat, you’re not alone and there’s help available. As Serena recently said on a particularly difficult day with her newborn and toddler, “I’m not ok today. And that’s ok to not be ok. No one is ok every single day. If you are not ok today I’m with you. There’s always tomorrow. Love you.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, you are not alone – there is help available.

A list of useful resources can be found here. Our Careline is also available on 02 7227 5533, 7 days a week from 9am-11pm.


Feature image: Sarah Snook at the Emmys, Photo by The Age Facebook page