For most of her life, Maria Sharapova has thrived on routine. As a retired professional tennis player who played the sport for 28 years, being extremely disciplined in training and recovery helped her achieve important goals, including being number one in the world and winning five Grand Slam titles.
When she became a new mother in the summer of 2022, Sharapova, 36, continued to lean on a steady, albeit more flexible, mindset to achieve another goal: this time, to be the best she could be for her son, Theodore. “All those lessons I learned during my career, I really applied them in this next chapter,” she tells SELF.
One, in particular, was the importance of consistency. For example, in her son’s newborn days, Sharapova timed her feedings and tried to match her nap schedule to hers during the day, which helped her log enough cumulative rest despite the interruptions. of night sleep. She was also diligent in maintaining her milk supply and would regularly wake up in the middle of the night to express milk.
While welcoming a new baby has brought a lot of changes to the Unstoppable Author Sharapova says that being routine-oriented with some proven self-care practices has improved her approach to motherhood. “A lot of people think it’s all about the baby, but in order for your baby to feel their best, you also need to take care of yourself,” she says.
During a photo shoot near her home in Los Angeles, Sharapova caught up with SELF to share the ways she’s making self-care a priority as she navigates her new role as a mom. This is what she has learned so far.
Never underestimate the benefits of the basics.
For Sharapova, sleep and hydration are vital, especially when she’s not feeling her best amid constant demands for feedings and diaper changes.
“As a new mom, it’s very common to forget about yourself because you have to take care of this new being,” she says. “(The basics) are a good refresher and are simple, but you have to be consistent to get results.”
Take the dream, for example. As Theodore approaches her first birthday, he now sleeps through the night and she no longer has to wake up at random times to pump. But taking care of a baby is exhausting in general, so she often lies down for a little nap while Theodore sleeps, similar to her previous routine on the pro circuit after tough training sessions.
But she doesn’t push herself to sleep: she just takes the time to rest, put her phone down, and enjoy the calm, quiet space — a respite that provides a “big boost of energy,” she says.
Then there is hydration. Especially in the first few months after giving birth, Sharapova made it a priority to drink enough water as part of the postpartum healing process. “You’re giving your body a chance to heal,” she says.
That’s why Sharapova, an Evian ambassador, always keeps a bottle of water nearby—she needs easy access to fluids throughout the day. “There’s always a bottle of milk for baby and a bottle of water for mom,” she says.
Aim for a gradual and consistent training and recovery routine.
After the enormous strain of childbirth, Sharapova wanted to give her body the time it needed to heal, so she took her return to fitness slowly. When Theodore was around six months old, he began a gradual buildup of strength training.