Eight months ago, tennis champion Serena Williams gave birth to her first child, daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. Now the new mother has opened up about her experiences with new parenthood and shared that this life change has not always been an easy road. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK, Williams talked about her struggle with postpartum depression after a difficult delivery.
After her emergency C-section, Williams developed blood clots in her lungs, which caused coughing so intense that it ruptured her Caesarean scar and filled her stomach with blood. She needed more surgery and then weeks of bed rest. Following her traumatic experience during childbirth, depression set in.
“Honestly, sometimes I still think I have to deal with it,” she told the magazine of her depression. “I think people need 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.”
Despite her struggles, Williams said she knows that she is a good mother and that she will continue to try and be “the best mom I can be.” She also spoke about the strength she recognized in her daughter before she was even born.
“I knew I was having a girl, because when I was playing tennis in the [Australian Open] tournament, I didn’t have one day of morning sickness, no symptoms,” she explained. “Australia is really hot, some days can be over 40 degrees [Celcius — about 104 degrees Fahrenheit], which is insane, but she never complained. I said to [husband] Alexis [Ohanian], ‘This is a girl. Only a woman can be this strong.'”
As for the future, Williams hopes that she and her husband will give their daughter some siblings. She also has no plans for slowing down in her tennis career, and has her sights set on winning a title at Wimbledon this July.
On May 29, she made her triumphant return to the court at the French Open, beating Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic in the first round.
Congratulations to Williams on all her success!