Serena Williams, one of the most famous and sought-after athletes in the world gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian on September 1, 2017. While the world has been in an awe of the adorable Olympia, the backstory of her giving birth leading to Serena facing a near-death experience has rarely seen the light of day.
While expressing her emotions surrounding the ‘life or death’ experience Williams underwent, she quoted “giving birth to my baby was a test for how loud and how often I would have to call out before I was finally heard,” recalled the American as she went through 4 surgeries during Olympia’s birth.
The legendary tennis player Serena Williams discussed how giving birth to her daughter Olympia, who is now five years old, led to potentially life-threatening complications.
In 2017 when Serena went into labor, her daughter Olympia’s heart rate drastically fell down with the increase in contractions. “I was scared,” Williams recalled. But after 20 minutes of deliberation, her doctor determined that she would be having a C-section, as there was not enough time to safely deliver the baby without one.
The experience that followed changed her life forever. After her C-section, Williams asked her nurses whether she should be put on blood thinners as she had a history of being at high risk for blood clots but she was dismissed. Being under “excruciating pain” and unable to move her legs or her back, she was then seized by “full-body” coughs.
The tennis icon shares one daughter with her husband Alexis Ohanian and reportedly stepped away from tennis last year after her final appearance at the US Open to be a better mother to Olympia.
Over one week, Williams underwent four back-to-back operations, including a C-section. She admits she might not be alive had she not advocated for her health, emphasizing that the type of dismissal she endured is one Black people encounter far too often.
Black Women Experience
While narrating her ordeals, Serena explained that “In the U.S., Black women are nearly three times more likely to die during or after childbirth than their white counterparts,” wrote Williams, a statement which is also supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It comes as a shock and surprise knowing that black mothers are often neglected or ignored by medical care providers, a sad fact to which known celebrity Williams was no exception.
The growing concerns surrounding better health care attention to black mothers and the black community alike needs upliftment as stated by the 41-year-old star and various advocates working towards its betterment.