Serena Williams opens up a new personal piece about the hardships she faced during her childbirthing experience. In the Elle essay, titled: “How Serena Williams Saved Her Own Life,” Williams delves into the importance of advocating for herself and Black women.

She began by acknowledging that she had a “wonderful pregnancy” and the beginning of the journey was pleasant for the most part. “I guess I’m one of those women who likes being pregnant. My life was just sitting at home, and it was wonderful,” she wrote.

Throughout the essay, the legendary athlete shares intimate thoughts about how she was “nervous” to meet her baby. Fast forward to delivery day, health complications started to arise, leading to an emergency C-section. Williams reflects on the decision, which was sternly made by her doctor, and says in that moment that it felt good to let someone else take control.

“Being an athlete is so often about controlling your body, wielding its power, but it’s also about knowing when to surrender,” she writes. “I was happy and relieved to let go; the energy in the room totally changed.”

When she woke up from surgery, daughter in her arms, Williams knew something wasn’t right. She felt paralyzed. Williams then recalled her health complications in the past, stretching far back to 2010, where she had blood clots in her lungs and she has been at high-risk for them ever since. Trusting her own body and intuition, Williams kept pressing the staff despite being brushed off at first.

“No one was really listening to what I was saying. The logic for not starting the blood thinners was that it could cause my C-section wound to bleed, which is true. Still, I felt it was important and kept pressing,” the Williams recalled, adding that “all the while, I was in excruciating pain”.

“She said: ‘I think all this medicine is making you talk crazy.’ I said: ‘No, I’m telling you what I need: I need the scan immediately. And I need it to be done with dye,’” Williams wrote. She later on began coughing so hard that her C-section stitches started to burst.

Williams then acknowledged that, in the US, Black women are “nearly three times more likely to die during or after childbirth than their white counterparts” and that many of these deaths are considered by experts to be preventable.

“Being heard and appropriately treated was the difference between life or death for me; I know those statistics would be different if the medical establishment listened to every Black woman’s experience,” she wrote.

This is not the first time that the tennis star has opened up about her childbirth experience, as she previously revealed that she “almost died” after giving birth to her daughter in a 2018 CNN essay.

The piece ends with Williams sharing all the wonderful traits her daughter Olympia currently has and how as a mother, she has finally accepted just “being.”