Serena Williams and Daughter Grace the Cover of Vogue

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Daughter of Serena Williams, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr, is already a Vogue cover girl before her first word! Photographed by Mario Testino, Serena Williams dons a red Versace gown with little Alexis in hand. In the February issue for the fashion magazine, Serena Williams opens up about her issues after giving birth and motherhood.

In the interview, the tennis star and husband, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, share the story of William’s post-birth health emergency with writer Rob Haskell. During her pregnancy with Alexis Olympia, Williams had no complications and carried her daughter to term. Although Serena had a fairly easy pregnancy, when it came time to give birth – there were some difficulties.

Due to Olympia’s heart rate dropping, Williams had to give birth via emergency C-Section. “The surgery went off without a hitch” Vogue reports. “Alexis cut the cord, and the wailing newborn fell silent the moment she was laid on her mother’s chest. ‘“That was an amazing feeling,” Serena remembers. “And then everything went bad.”’

While recovering, Serena suddenly felt a shortness of breath, and due to her history with blood clots, she assumed it was another pulmonary embolism. Her suspicions turned out to be true when doctors learned she had several small blood clots in her lungs.

“I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” she remembers telling the team. The ultrasound revealed nothing, so they sent her for the CT, and sure enough, several small blood clots had settled in her lungs. Minutes later she was on the drip. “I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!”

Like a champ, Williams recovered from her health emergency flawlessly and dived head-on into motherhood with her hubby, who took on the tasks when Williams wasn’t able to.

“I was happy to change diapers,” Alexis said. “But on top of everything she was going through, the feeling of not being able to help made 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.”

Along with opening up about her health struggles, Serena got intimate about the ups and downs that come with motherhood.

“Sometimes I get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this,” she said. “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.”

“Obedience brings protection; that’s what my mom told me,” she added. “That’s straight from the Bible, and she wrote it down on paper and gave it to me. I was always obedient: Whatever my parents told me to do, I did. There was no discussion. Maybe I had a little rebellious phase in my 20s, when I tried liquor for the first time. Maybe having a baby on the tennis tour is the most rebellious thing I could ever do.”

Check out more of Serena Williams’ interview at Vogue.

Photo Credit: Serena Williams/Instagram