For your daily dose of adorable, Serena Williams and her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., are on February’s Vogue cover. In the interview, Williams discusses everything from her post-birth health emergency to the emotional ups and downs of motherhood.
Shortly after giving birth, Williams complained about having shortness of breath, and with her history of blood clots, she assumed that she was having another pulmonary embolism. When she prompted nurses for a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin (a blood thinner), they didn’t oblige right away:
“I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” she remembers telling the team. The ultrasound revealed nothing, so they sent her for the CT, and sure enough, several small blood clots had settled in her lungs. Minutes later she was on the drip. “I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!”
Shortly after that incident, another health crisis occurred:
C-section wound popped open from the intense coughing spells caused by the pulmonary embolism, and when she returned to surgery, they found that a large hematoma had flooded her abdomen, the result of a medical catch-22 in which the potentially lifesaving blood thinner caused hemorrhaging at the site of her C-section. She returned yet again to the OR to have a filter inserted into a major vein, in order to prevent more clots from dislodging and traveling into her lungs.
A week after giving birth, Williams was sent home, but she was confined to bed rest for six weeks. Although Williams wanted to enjoy being a new mother, she found it hard because of the emotional roller coaster she was riding:
“Sometimes I get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this,” she says. “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.”
Read Williams’ entire interview at Vogue.