Serena Williams’ road to motherhood wasn’t easy.
The 36-year-old tennis champ is usually the subject of HBO’s completely new documentary series, Being Serena, in addition to she’s not holding back. Wednesday’s season premiere documented Williams’ discovery that will she was pregnant before winning her 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the 2017 Australian Open — in addition to her anxiety leading up to the complicated birth of her daughter, Alexis Olympia.
“For so many years, I defined myself in just one way: by success, by championships, by generating history. in addition to then, all of the sudden, my life changed forever,” Williams said. “This specific wasn’t part of any plan to have This specific happen, not while I was still on top. yet two years ago, I met This specific man, almost out of nowhere. We fell in love, in addition to then, This specific unthinkable surprise. I can’t believe how much went wrong on my way to meeting her. I almost died.”
“yet right now, she’s the reason why This specific all means even more than This specific did before. Still, there’s no escaping the fear. The fear that will I might not come back as strong as I was. The fear that will I can’t be both the best mother in addition to the best tennis player from the entire world,” she continued. “I guess my only choice is usually to live in addition to find out.”
The episode documented Williams’ pregnancy, starting with her story of how she found out, just before hitting the court in Melbourne, Australia. According to her husband, Alexis Ohanian, the superstar didn’t drop just one set during the Australian Open “because she just wanted to get off the court. She was looking out for the baby,” while Venus Williams joked that will her sister was able to defeat her “because This specific was two against one.”
With 87 days until her due date, Williams was shown displaying her trophy in her daughter’s nursery “because she should know that will having her in my body didn’t stop me through winning” — yet after that will, the athlete was full of anxiety.
“Becoming a mom, I definitely feel the pressure, in addition to I feel a little anxiety. Am I going to be a not bad mom, a strict mom, not strict enough? I don’t actually know, to ensure anxiety has turned into nervousness in addition to fear, in addition to I’m actually hesitant,” she revealed, as cameras showed her getting an ultrasound 46 days before her due date. “This specific’s the same attitude I have in tennis. I want to make sure I’m the best in addition to I’m not bad enough.”
Williams stressed that will as an elite athlete, she’s learned to listen to her body. She was shown receiving acupuncture in addition to cupping leading up to her daughter’s birth, yet This specific didn’t do much to ease the “fear in addition to hesitation” she felt. Williams checked into the hospital on her due date, yet 14 hours later, her chest commenced to hurt in addition to the baby was in distress.
“The C-section was low on our wish list because of her history with blood clots. Any surgery that will Serena has is usually potentially life-threatening,” Ohanian explained. “yet we decided, ‘Well, OK, for the safety of Mom, for the safety of the baby, we have to proceed having a C-section.”
“One minute, everything’s going according to plan, in addition to then I’m being wheeled off for surgery. I was terrified, in addition to This specific was a whole completely new kind of fear,” Williams revealed.
Williams welcomed her daughter on Sept. 1, 2017, yet was bedridden for six weeks after her C-section. In a powerful essay for CNN, she detailed her birth complications, writing, “First my C-section wound popped open due to the intense coughing I endured as a result of the embolism. I returned to surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma, a swelling of clotted blood, in my abdomen. in addition to then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that will prevents clots through traveling to my lungs.”
The tennis pro continued by thanking her medical team, yet noted that will many different women aren’t as lucky. See more on Williams from the video below.
Being Serena airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.