Serena Williams has powered through her first grand slam appearance since motherhood, but the tennis star has revealed details of the off-court challenges she faced immediately after giving birth.
Williams, who is married to the Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, had an emergency caesarean section and experienced life-threatening complications after childbirth, which resulted in surgery to prevent blood clots travelling to her lungs.
The 36-year-old has spoken about struggling after her daughter, Alexis Olympia, was born in September, revealing she once cried because she could not find her baby’s bottle.
She told Harper’s Bazaar UK: “Honestly, sometimes I think I still have to deal with it. I think people have to talk about it more because it’s almost like the fourth trimester, it’s part of the pregnancy.
“I remember one day, I couldn’t find Olympia’s bottle and I got so upset I started crying … because I wanted to be perfect for her.”
Williams, a guest at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex this month, beat Kristyna Pliskova 7-6, 6-4 in the first round of the French Open on Tuesday. She will compete at Wimbledon in July.
She has previously revealed she had to spend the first six weeks of motherhood in bed, and the medical ordeal combined with the challenges of parenting temporarily overwhelmed her.
Williams told Vogue magazine in January: “Sometimes I get really down and feel like, man, I can’t do this. No one talks about the low moments – the pressure you feel, the incredible let-down 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.”
Her husband told the magazine “I was happy to change diapers”, but he said the hardest part was “not being able to help”.
Williams’s daughter was born by emergency caesarean section after the baby’s heart rate dropped dramatically during labour. But although that surgery went smoothly, 24 hours after giving birth Williams entered six days of uncertainty, which began with a pulmonary embolism.
“This sparked a slew of health complications that I am lucky to have survived,” she later wrote on CNN.com. She had a large haematoma in her abdomen and underwent surgery to prevent clots travelling to her lungs.
Despite the trauma surrounding Olympia’s birth, Williams told Harper’s Bazaar UK she was ready to have another child: “Olympia needs a little sister, and then we can have a boy. I’ve only been around girls my whole life.”
Source: The Guardian