Serena Williams recently graced the cover of Vogue with her baby girl, Alexis Olympia, and opened up about her traumatic post-delivery experience. And a few days after sharing her story, she wrote a Facebook post.
The tennis superstar, who had to undergo an emergency C-section after her heart rate skyrocketed during delivery, faced multiple, terrifying complications after giving birth to her daughter. Williams, who has a history of blood clots, even had to advocate for herself and alert doctors that she was having a pulmonary embolism (blockage that occurs in the lungs, usually due to blood clots). Sure enough, tests showed clots in her lungs and she began treatment.
Williams’ Facebook post says she was overwhelmed at the “outpouring of discussion” from women, and black women in particular, who shared how they faced similar complications during birth and after delivering their children. She also posted an adorable video of Olympia, which sweetened the serious message.
“These aren’t just stories: according to the CDC, (Center for Disease Control) black women are over 3 times more likely than White women to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes,” Williams said. “We have a lot of work to do as a nation and I hope my story can inspire a conversation that gets us to close this gap.”
“Let me be clear: EVERY mother, regardless of race, or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth,” the 36-year-old said.
Williams added, “I personally want all women of all colors to have the best experience they can have My personal experience was not great but it was MY experience and I’m happy it happened to me. It made me stronger and it made me appreciate women ― both women with and without kids ― even more. We are powerful!!!”
Williams ended her message by thanking those who spoke up and shared their stories and pushed more women to discuss their own situations.
“This helps. We can help others,” she said. “Our voices are our power.”
Williams sits on the board of advisers to Oath, HuffPost’s parent company.