Serena Williams reveals 'whole new kind of fear' during daughter's birth

Serena Williams is giving fans a glimpse into her life as a top athlete, wife and new mother in an HBO documentary se...

Posted: May 3, 2018 12:54 PM
Updated: May 3, 2018 12:54 PM

Serena Williams is giving fans a glimpse into her life as a top athlete, wife and new mother in an HBO documentary series, "Being Serena," that premiered Wednesday night.

The five-part documentary opens with the revelation that Williams was pregnant last year when she won her 23rd Grand Slam title. Her husband, internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, says she did not drop a single set during the Australian Open because she was in a rush to get off the court.

"She was looking out for the baby," he jokes.

The documentary chronicles Williams' experience getting married and becoming a mother, along with the challenges she faced with the birth of their daughter, Alexis Olympia, in September. Williams, 36, says thinking about that episode brings her to tears.

Here are other highlights from the documentary's first installment:

Finding love and getting married

"For so many years, I defined myself in just one way: by success, by championships, by making history. And then, all of the sudden, my life changed forever," Williams said. "It wasn't part of any plan to have this happen, not while I was still on top. But two years ago, I met this man, almost out of nowhere. We fell in love."

Complications from giving birth

Williams and Ohanian welcomed their daughter on September 1 by C-section, which she had hoped to avoid because of her history of blood clots.

Then, chaos struck.

"One minute, everything's going according to plan, and then I'm being wheeled off for surgery. I was terrified. It was a whole new kind of fear," she says in the documentary.

What followed were six days of uncertainty, Williams wrote in February in an essay for CNN detailing her birth complications.

"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. And then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that prevents clots from traveling to my lung. When I finally made it home to my family, I had to spend the first six weeks of motherhood in bed."

In the documentary, Williams says, "I can't believe how much went wrong on my way to meeting her. I almost died. ... But now, she's the reason why this all means even more than it did before."

Role as a first-time mom

"Becoming a mom, I definitely feel the pressure, and I feel a little anxiety," she says. "Am I going to be a good mom, a strict mom, not strict enough? I don't really know, so that anxiety has turned into nervousness and fear. ... It's the same attitude I have in tennis."

Returning to tennis

"There's no escaping the fear -- the fear that I might not come back as strong as I was, the fear that I can't be both the best mother and the best tennis player in the world," she says. "I guess my only choice is to live and find out."

The documentary

"It documents my pregnancy, the extremely difficult time I had in the delivery room and all of the emotions that came with it," Williams says of the TV series. "It also covers my wedding, which was so exciting and fun. It was honestly the best day of my life. And then of course, it shows my comeback, because I'm coming back, I'm playing tennis, I'm back on the court, and it's so invigorating."

The rest of the series will air this month.

Huntsville
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 32°
Florence
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 36°
Fayetteville
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 32°
Decatur
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 31°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 32°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 374493

Reported Deaths: 4602
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby48561673
Davidson43546421
Knox19358150
Rutherford18248163
Hamilton17311153
Williamson1168080
Sumner10123137
Out of TN811056
Wilson777980
Montgomery691585
Sullivan6641101
Washington6272108
Maury610667
Putnam600982
Blount575261
Bradley546935
Madison5445111
Sevier512133
Unassigned488822
Robertson389553
Tipton375339
Hamblen360761
Gibson332065
Dyer325451
Greene324872
Anderson310729
Dickson300434
Coffee288642
Carter286057
Bedford285132
Lawrence276134
Obion271751
McMinn267955
Cumberland266536
Roane243929
Warren243120
Jefferson236533
Loudon234819
Fayette230239
Hardeman227837
Monroe223244
Weakley221737
Franklin217935
Lauderdale208023
Hawkins204034
Wayne194610
Trousdale191512
Henderson190134
Macon186028
White180818
Rhea180132
Hardin180025
Marshall179622
Carroll178534
Lincoln166217
Haywood165830
Cheatham165317
Cocke165330
Campbell160323
Henry159319
Overton156435
Giles150249
Smith147720
Johnson144923
McNairy142433
Fentress124420
Hickman121619
DeKalb120422
Bledsoe11895
Lake11786
Crockett117126
Marion112219
Scott11197
Grainger105017
Chester104221
Decatur96112
Unicoi90226
Claiborne8979
Benton84214
Grundy79214
Cannon7864
Lewis77714
Morgan7626
Humphreys7418
Union7375
Jackson69410
Polk69415
Stewart61015
Houston59220
Clay56018
Sequatchie5465
Meigs51013
Perry49221
Moore4043
Pickett39513
Van Buren3792
Hancock1833

Community Events