American professional tennis player, Serena Williams is the latest cover star of Vogue magazine , where she talked about her near-death childbirth experience.
This revelation has generated a lot of conversation on motherhood and prompted an American journalist, Keli Goff to share her thoughts in an article titled, “Serena Williams’ Shocking Near-Death Childbirth Experience Isn’t as Rare as You Think.”
Although Serena had an easy pregnancy, she had her child through an emergency C-section after her heart rate suddenly went low during contractions. The next day, while recovering in the hospital, Serena suddenly felt short of breath, which is because of her history of blood clots.
While being treated, her fresh C-section wound popped open from the deep coughing spells caused by pulmonary embolism. One week later Serena returned home and she spent the first six weeks unable to get out of bed.
“Sometimes I get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this. 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,” Serena shared.
Unlike some celebrity moms who show off their post baby body weeks after childbirth, making the process look so easy, Keli describes Serena’s childbirth revelation as revolutionary because it represents what women all over the world go through but not openly discussed.
Even though Serena has a great body, she confessed that she became physically vulnerable due to childbirth. This confession, according to Keli, is what many women need to know that they are not alone.
The physical toll childbirth takes on a woman is rarely discussed publicly because the realities of childbirth is as messy and imperfect as one can get.
While Serena Williams’ near-death experience after childbirth may sound extreme, Keli thinks it is not as shocking as the statistics of women who lose their lives to childbirth, become wounded permanently or are injured.
Thus, Keli hopes that Serena’s confession to the rigours of childbirth will change the way society, and men in particular, talk about pregnancy and motherhood.
She explained that whatever decision a woman makes concerning motherhood should be respected especially when it has to do with their physical well-being.
To be clear, I’m not saying women should avoid motherhood. I am saying it should no longer be treated the way it long has been: as the default choice for all women. Instead it should be treated as what it is: a really serious choice that should involve consideration and contemplation because giving life is a big deal—a big, risky deal…..we should stop judging womanhood on whether or not one embraces motherhood.
We should celebrate women brave enough to face the challenges of pregnancy and motherhood. But we should also celebrate women like Serena Williams who are brave enough to tell the truth about motherhood’s pitfalls, and celebrate women courageous enough to make the decision to challenge society’s definition of womanhood by saying motherhood isn’t for me.