Serena Williams is opening up about the life-threatening complications she experienced after giving birth to her daughter, Olympia, in 2017. In her own words, the tennis champion and venture capital boss is describing how she had to advocate for herself to save her own life.
Williams penned an essay as part of a new book, Arrival Stories: Women Share Their Experiences of Becoming Mothers, comprised of other stories put together by Amy Schumer and Christy Turlington.
Williams writes about delivering her and husband Alexis Ohanian's baby girl via emergency cesarean section four years ago, and how she had to "call out" to get help for herself.
"Giving birth to my baby, it turned out, was a test for how loud and how often I would have to call out before I was finally heard," the King Richard producer writes. An adaptation of the essay was published on ELLE.com and details the three surgeries she underwent after giving birth due to complications including a hematoma and a clot in one of her arteries.
"In 2010, I learned I had blood clots in my lungs –– clots that, had they not been caught in time, could have killed me. Ever since then, I've lived in fear of them returning. It wasn't a one-off; I'm at high risk for blood clots. I asked a nurse, 'When do I start my heparin drip? Shouldn't I be on that now?,'" Serena wrote, referencing a medication that helps fend off blood clots. "The response was, 'Well, we don't really know if that's what you need to be on right now.' No one was really listening to what I was saying."
Serena wrote that she believes she survived the experience because she "was heard and appropriately treated."
Unfortunately, Serena's story is not uncommon to Black women and not all of us are heard and adequately treated by medical professionals. The world class athlete acknowledged this writing, "In the US, Black women are nearly three times more likely to die during or after childbirth than their white counterparts. Many of these deaths are considered by experts to be preventable."
The book is available for purchase online at this Black woman-owned bookstore by clicking HERE.