Screen Shot 2022-04-06 at 7.27.48 AM

Serena Williams Talks About Fighting For Fair Treatment During Traumatic Birth

Serena Williams wrote a personal essay for Elle this week, and in the beautiful piece of writing, the 40-year-old tennis legend remembered her traumatic experience giving birth to her now 4-year-old daughter, Olympia.

Before she talked about the nearly life-threatening birth, the 23-time Grand Slam champion admitted she didn’t have strong feelings about her pregnancy from the beginning.

I was nervous about meeting my baby.. Throughout my pregnancy, I’d never felt a connection with her. While I loved being pregnant, I didn’t have that amazing ‘Oh my God, this is my baby’ moment, ever. It’s something people don’t usually talk about, because we’re supposed to be in love from the first second.

The feeling she was searching for didn’t come until she actually gave birth to Olympia in September of 2017. The moment she saw her, she felt the love, and when she was able to hold her, the love grew even more.

Unfortunately, the sweet moment between mother and daughter didn’t last long. The birthing process was already a bit dramatic, thanks to an emergency C-section, due to the baby’s dropping heart rate.

But then following the C-section, Serena had to demand for additional medical attention after her stitches reopened due to a violent cough she developed after the C-section.

I spoke to the nurse. I told her: ‘I need to have a CAT scan of my lungs bilaterally, and then I need to be on my heparin drip.’ She said, ‘I think all this medicine is making you talk crazy.’ I said, ‘No, I’m telling you what I need: I need the scan immediately. And I need it to be done with dye.’

The nurse finally listened to her, and that’s when they discovered she had a blood clot in her lung. They were able to break it up before it traveled to her heart, but had they not listened to her, she could have died.

Serena was able to leave the hospital a week later, and while motherhood hasn’t been perfect, she wouldn’t change it for anything.

Despite my body’s wreckage—and the fact that I couldn’t get in much breastfeeding—connecting with Olympia at long last was amazing; it was both the reward and the validation for all I’d been through. I went from not being able to really imagine her in the womb to us being completely inseparable. I still feel like I have to be around her for every day of her life, as much as possible.