Serena Williams Gets Real About Her Post-Baby Body Struggles

It's almost impossible to break tennis star Serena Williams. The 36-year-old U.S. champion has won four Olympic gold medals, a record-breaking 23 Grand Slam singles titles, and is the most recent tennis player to hold all four Grand Slam women's doubles titles at the same time along with her sister, Venus. And yet, one of Williams's greatest physical challenges to date was the trauma of giving birth to her (outrageously adorable) daughter, Alexis, last fall via emergency C-section. (And if that's not proof of how badass the female body is, we don't know what is.)

Earlier this year, on her way to post-birth recovery, Williams told People magazine that she was "devastated" over her unplanned C-section, which left her with a painful and permanent scar she hadn't emotionally prepared for. "Motherhood is challenging in ways that I couldn't even imagine," she told Byrdie when we hopped on a phone call shortly after she competed in Wimbledon last month for the first time since becoming a mom. Williams's C-section experience led her to start using Embrace, a scar-prevention treatment that works on any injury by contracting to relieve the skin's tension at the incision site—she swore by the product so fervently that she now works with them as an ambassador.

We were #blessed with an interview with the athlete to chat about how recovery is going almost a year since her daughter's birth—her greatest emotional and physical challenges as a new mom and how she feels about society's standards for bouncing back to your post-baby body. Keep scrolling to read our refreshingly candid conversation.