After the birth of her daughter, Olympia, Serena Williams followed a smooth birthing session with a full day of happiness. She held Olympia close, happy to finally meet her like any other mother would.
But just a day after the anticipated moment, her health was in question. In her new op-ed essay for CNN Opinion, Williams cites all of her post-birth complications, set off by a condition she was diagnosed with long before Olympia.
“It began with a pulmonary embolism, which is a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs becomes blocked by a blood clot. Because of my medical history with this problem, I live in fear of this situation,” she wrote. Luckily, Williams had stored the familiar feeling, knowing to alert nurses to the condition at its onset.
Chronic and strenuous coughing tore one of Williams’ incisions, leading her back into surgery. But they discovered a hematoma in her abdomen, further complicating the damage. The condition worsened over the next few days and, ultimately, she spent six weeks on bedrest.
She first revealed information about the difficulties in her Vogue interview last month, closer to her release. The trauma sticks but the tennis star is aware of her luck.
“I am so grateful I had access to such an incredible medical team of doctors and nurses at a hospital with state-of-the-art equipment. They knew exactly how to handle this complicated turn of events. If it weren’t for their professional care, I wouldn’t be here today,” she wrote in her essay.
Now, Williams wants to help women with like conditions. Her essay discusses the privilege it is to have access to exceptional healthcare, for black women and for all women. She doesn’t want to relinquish initiative to the government or organizations anymore. The piece is a call to those with the means to make a change.
Read her essay here.