How Serena Williams Changed Her Own Birth Outcome

And why we need to start listening to Black Mothers in the hospital.

Written by: Janel Duffy
Posted: April 16, 2022
In an essay she wrote for Elle Magazine, Serena Williams talks about her traumatic experience after having a c-section. Where even Serena– THE SERENA WILLIAMS– globally recognized powerhouse: with athletic prowess, accolades, and funds– had to advocate for herself not just to get her medical needs met, but to save her own life. She was shushed, questioned, and gaslit by medical professionals, all before anybody listened to her. Serena saved her own life by fiercely advocating for herself. As an olympic athlete with professional experience in tuning into her own body, experience in surgery and dealing with injury, Serena knew something wasn’t right. But none of that was enough to get the medical professionals around her to listen the first time she brought up her concerns.

And the sad thing is, this story isn’t unique.

Mothers throughout the United States and specifically, Black mothers are having experiences like this where they aren’t listened to. Where they aren’t taken seriously. Where they're gaslit and belittled. Where in the best case scenario– medical professionals finally “give-in” to a mother’s demands and her needs are met, and in the worst case scenario– mothers are dying.

“In the U.S., Black women are nearly three times more likely to die during or after childbirth than their white counterparts. 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.” 

–Serena Williams writes in her essay published in Elle Magazine

Read Serena’s full story here.

In one of the richest countries in the world, the maternal mortality rate is alarmingly high, especially for Black mothers. We pat mothers on their heads after their births and send them home with little to no guaranteed follow-up care. Where these mothers who have been through a major physical event, and sometimes a major surgery are expected to just go back to life and care for a newborn as if their bodies hadn’t just been busted open. 

Be Her Village wants to be part of the change that positively influences the outcomes for mothers. Where every mother is listened to in the hospital because she has a doula advocating for her. Where postpartum care is planned for and paid for. And we’re doing that by creating a registry where new parents can register for the funds they need to pay for the postpartum support they DESERVE. Visit to learn more.

BeHerVillage is a gift registry for parents-to-be to register for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support. Like any other baby registry, family and friends contribute to part of or all of a gift. (Unlike the other registries) The funds that are contributed go directly into the expectant parent’s account to be used when they’re ready and in need of support. Create your free registry at

If you support new mamas you can create a profile at so new parents can put YOU onto their registry.

BeHerVillage is helping parents like you get the funds they need for the support they deserve! Are you having a baby and are looking for support? Create a registry for support today and get gifted funds directly into your bank account to pay for your support team. You deserve this.

Are you a birthworker who supports new moms? Use BeHerVillage to help your clients pay for your support. Create your free profile here and you can be the best baby shower gift a mom will ever get!
Category: Birth Stories
Tags: maternal health , c-section , black maternal health


Check out our FAQ.

Still have questions?

Contact Us