Serena Williams has talked for the first time about her six-day health scare following the birth of her first daughter Alexis with Reddit-founder husband Alexis Ohanian, who was born via C-section on 1 September 2017.
The tennis pro, who is the cover star of this month’s issue of American Vogue (alongside baby Alexis), spoke to the magazine about how the day after her C-section, she begun to experience the signs of a pulmonary embolism brought on my blood clots, something that she had struggled with in the past. Following a CT scan, several small blood clots were found in her lungs.
But that was just the beginning: later, her C-section wound would open due to her constant coughing (brought on by the embolism in her lungs), and she would be forced to go back to surgery in order to have a filter inserted to prevent further blood clots dislodging and travelling into her lungs. Finally able to return home, she spent the next six weeks bed-bound.
Unsurprisingly, Williams has revealed that she has struggled with ups and downs during her first few months as a mother. ‘Sometimes I get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this,’ she revealed. ‘It’s that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes. I guess that’s just who I am. No one talks about the low moments—the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry. I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby? The emotions are insane.’
The tennis world has her back, though, with fellow ace Novak Djokovic sending helpful articles and jokingly referring to their children as ‘doubles partners’ as they were only born a day apart. She also told Vogue that there is a community of female tennis players championing each other, going on to say that: ‘I really believe that we have to build each other up and build our tour up. The women in Billie Jean King’s day supported each other even though they competed fiercely. We’ve got to do that. That’s kind of the mark I want to leave. Play each other hard, but keep growing the sport.’
And her ultimate goal? To beat Margaret Court’s 25 grand slam record. If anyone can do it, it’s Williams.