Serena Williams’ Enviably Easy Pregnancy Turned into Challenging Motherhood: ‘Everything Went Bad’

Busayo Ogunjimi
Dec 26, 2021
12:00 A.M.

Serena Williams is undoubtedly one of the biggest athletes of the last two decades with a record 23 Grand Slam titles, but motherhood was all it took to turn her life around.


Serena Williams has been in the scene for the best part of the last two decades. Alongside her sister, Venus Williams, the 40-year-old has often been pitched as one of the best tennis stars of all time.

Since she won her first Grand Slam title at 17, back in 1999, Serena has become a fan favorite. The mom of one is known for her passion and dedication to the sport, and while she is often a tough opponent to play, Serena met her match while expecting her first child.

Motherhood has been a different journey from what Serena has been used to in her over two decades career. The record-breaking tennis star has often spoken about how the challenges of motherhood changed her life.


Since meeting in 2015, Serena and her beau, Alexis Ohanian, have become somewhat of a power couple to their fans. The duo shares a cute romantic history crowned by their daughter's birth.

Serena had looked forward to becoming a mom for most of her life, and when she met Ohanian, a famous investor and tech expert, she was thrilled to discover that her motherhood dreams were about to come to pass.


On the 2017 Australian Open eve, Serena surprised the Reddit co-founder with a paper bag containing six positive pregnancy tests. The big news came a year after their engagement.

Serena herself only discovered she was pregnant after feeling weird during her first match at the tournament. She observed she had missed a series of backhands and felt awkward. After taking the test, she discovered a little one was growing inside her.


Following the big discovery, Serena grew concerned about any risks associated with taking part in the tournament, but following a health assessment, she decided to compete.

At the time, tournament officials were kept in the dark concerning her pregnancy, including her coach. There were only five people who knew about the pregnancy during the tournament: Ohanian, Jessica, Jill, Venus, and the doctor.



Serena faced a new challenge in the Australian Open, one she had never experienced before in her career. She didn't have the same stamina after the pregnancy. She noticed that she was growing tired between points, especially long ones, which was unusual.

She knew she would lose if a match extended to three sets; therefore, she was determined to make every match two sets. Serena also had to contend with the Melbourne heat, which can be brutal on the court in the late afternoon.

Despite her dislike of playing in the morning, Serena played as many matches as she could at 11 a.m. in the early rounds since she had the option. With much dedication, Serena made sure to leave the event victorious.



Although Serena had an easy pregnancy, the delivery had heavy health challenges. In the cover story to Vogue‘s February issue, the tennis star revealed that her plummeting heart rate reached dangerously low levels during contractions, leading to an emergency cesarean section.

Although the surgery went well, the tennis legend faced a six-day struggle with a pulmonary embolism, resulting in multiple surgeries and many other medical issues.

Reflecting on the moment, Serena’s husband, Ohanian, told Vogue, “But on top of everything she was going through, the feeling of not being able to help make it even harder. Consider for a moment that your body is one of the greatest things on this planet, and you’re trapped in it.”



Serena is often noted for her bravery and athleticism, but motherhood gave her a test she had never experienced. Serena once took to her Instagram days after her defeat to express her fears of not being a good mom.

The tennis star felt she was not doing enough for her daughter Olympia, noting that she felt more vulnerable since becoming a mom. The 40-year-old has since picked up the pace and enjoys flaunting her mini-me daughter.



Serena and Ohanian, her husband, are enjoying their parenting journey together. The couple, which already marked their fourth anniversary, seems to relish every moment to flaunt their beautiful family. Ohanian shared a captivating post on his Instagram, thanking Serena for making him a happy man.

Ohanian also took paternity leave to spend more time with his wife and daughter. The businessman also considers himself an attached father, and from his social media posts, he is quite a doting father.

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