Serena Williams’ beautiful Vogue cover inspired lots of oohs and aaahs, but the story that accompanied the cover has caused a stir online. In the interview, the newly married tennis pro shared scary post-partum moments that many women on Twitter could unfortunately relate to and they noted how Williams’ celebrity did not spare her from what seemed to be dismissive treatment from hospital staff.
According to Vogue:
“She walked out of the hospital room so her mother wouldn’t worry and told the nearest nurse, between gasps, that she needed a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin (a blood thinner) right away. The nurse thought her pain medicine might be making her confused. But Serena insisted, and soon enough a doctor was performing an ultrasound of her legs. ‘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!’”
After that harrowing situation, Williams popped open her fresh C-section wound from the forceful coughing caused by the blood clots. Williams and her daughter are now faring well, but women on Twitter rallied together to highlight that Williams’ post-partum experience is not uncommon for women, especially Black women.
This happened to Serena Williams.
Remember, she's a world famous multimillionaire.
This happens to black women EVERY single day. This is one reason our #MaternalMortality rates are ridiculously & disproportionately high.
Please pay attention. https://t.co/mTJad6PFr8
— Kim Love (@kimmaytube) January 10, 2018
Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications. The lack of disdain and trust from doctors factors into that, even when the Black woman is as powerful, famous, and wealthy as Serena Williams. https://t.co/XqUOW6MQIZ pic.twitter.com/Z9QgRKxKcm
— Evette Dionne ? (@freeblackgirl) January 10, 2018
Twitter Data Editor Elaine Filadelpho tweeted “It’s appalling & terrifying what Serena Williams went through post-delivery. I tweetstormed the other day about how women’s pain (esp for birth) isn’t taken seriously – and that’s so compounded for black women. listen. to. women.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die during pregnancy or childbirth. This chilling fact has been noted for decades.
Given this known and dangerous racial disparity, doctors and nurses would do well to listen to Black women when they express pain and discomfort. If doctors don’t even listen to a famous multi-millionaire, imagine what the everyday Black mother endures.