New York, January 11: The birth of your first child should be a thrilling experience, but 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams had some scary side effects after her daughter was born.
Williams – who has withdrawn from next week's Australian Open as she attempts to return to her best form – revealed she had blood clots after baby Alexis Olympia was delivered on September 1 last year via emergency C-Section.
"Sometimes I get really down and feel like, 'Man, I can't do this,'" the former world number one told Vogue. "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."
Williams – who has a history of pulmonary embolism – began experiencing shortness of breath the day after Alexis was born.
Because Williams had blood clots in 2011, the 36-year-old American knew the sensation and asked the nurse to have a CT Scan performed on her immediately. Sure enough, the scan revealed several small blood clots were in her lungs.
Williams was put on blood thinners, but she was not out of the woods yet. Her Caesarean incision opened due to the coughing fits she would have from the clots. She had to go back into surgery, and doctors discovered she had a huge hematoma (a mass of clotted blood) in her abdomen. Likely the blood thinners that initially saved her life caused the hematoma.
Now, six days after giving birth, Williams had to have a filter inserted in a vein to make sure no more clots broke off and made way to her lungs.
After the ordeal, Williams was unable to get out of bed for six weeks. It was an experience that really tired Williams.
Williams is on the mend and played in her first match since giving birth on December 30, though she lost the exhibition match 6-2 to 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi.
Williams initially wanted to return to the Australian Open later this month — which she won last year while pregnant — but pulled out as she eyes a return to the court at Indian Wells in March.