+
Family

Serena Williams almost died after giving birth. Here's what she learned.

She was lucky. Many others aren't, but we can fix that.

In a new blog post, tennis superstar Serena Williams opened up about how she almost died after giving birth.

"I almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia," she writes. "Yet I consider myself fortunate."

Williams explains that after giving birth, she had a pulmonary embolism, or blocked arteries in her lungs. This caused her to cough, violently, tearing open the newly-stitched C-section wound. Doctors discovered blood clots in her abdomen, but were able to treat her in time to save her life. It was the type of experience you wouldn't expect of a wealthy world-class athlete like Williams, but her experience speaks to just how common these sorts of complications can be — and just how lucky she is to have survived.


Infant and maternal mortality is an issue that doesn't get talked about nearly enough. Williams wants to change that.

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women in the United States are over three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes," she writes. "But this is not just a challenge in the United States. Around the world, thousands of women struggle to give birth in the poorest countries. When they have complications like mine, there are often no drugs, health facilities or doctors to save them. If they don't want to give birth at home, they have to travel great distances at the height of pregnancy. Before they even bring a new life into this world, the cards are already stacked against them."

Williams is right. According to the CDC, black women face a maternal mortality rate of 44 deaths for every 100,000 live births. Compared to the rate for white women (13 deaths per 100,000 births) or women of other races (14 deaths per 100,000 births), the black maternal mortality rate sticks out. A 2017 NPR/Propublica investigation into that disparity found that a number of factors, such as income and unconscious bias, likely play some role but other unknown factors remain.

Infant and child mortality rates remain higher in the U.S. than other wealthy countries, due in part to the country's distinction as one of the only not to guarantee health care to its citizens.

Just how I look at her

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

There are things we can do to better protect the health of mothers and their newborns around the world, but we need to acknowledge the issue first.

Williams goes on to share the story of a woman named Mary from Malawi. Mary's baby died shortly after birth. Every year, 2,600 babies will die within 24 hours of birth; 2.6 million won't make it through their first month. UNICEF estimates that more than 80% of these early deaths are preventable, so why don't we do more about it?

"We know simple solutions exist, like access to midwives and functional health facilities, along with breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact, clean water, basic drugs and good nutrition," Williams writes. "Yet we are not doing our part. We are not rising to the challenge to help the women of the world."

"Mary's baby died because there weren't enough doctors or nurses to save him. This is a chronic problem plaguing the most impoverished countries. But what if we lived in a world where there were enough birth attendants? Where there was no shortage of access to health facilities nearby? Where lifesaving drugs and clean water were easily available to all? Where midwives could help and advise mothers after birth? What if we lived in a world where every mother and newborn could receive affordable health care and thrive in life?That world is possible. And we must dare to dream it for every black woman, for every woman in Malawi, and for every mother out there."

Thankfully, both Williams and her daughter are healthy and prepared for bright futures. Let's all do our part to make that a reality for more new moms and their children.

Williams closes her essay by calling on readers to "demand governments, businesses and health care providers do more to save these precious lives" and to support groups like UNICEF in their efforts to reduce infant and maternal mortality around the world.

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

Keep ReadingShow less

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

The far-right is calling this viral Grammy performance 'Satanic.' Don't fall for it.

Sam Smith and Kim Petras' performance of "Unholy" left some calling it a satanic ritual.

K.G/Youtube

Sam Smith and Kim Petras performing "Unholy" at the Grammy Awards.

Depending on which corners of social media you call home, few happenings from the 2023 Grammy awards were as divisive as Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ performance of the song “Unholy.” Was it a historic moment of inclusion or a historic display of a Satanic ritual broadcast to the world?

On the one hand, the pair made music history. After winning the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Smith became the first non-binary artist to win the category, along with Petra who became the first trans woman to win the category.

However, not everyone was a fan of their live hell-themed performance, featuring Smith clad in red leather and sporting a top hat with devil horns and Petras dancing in a cage surrounded by dominatrixes.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz took to Twitter to call the act “evil,” and his fury was quickly echoed by other conservative influencers who declared it an example of mainstream devil worship.

“Don’t fight the culture wars, they say. Meanwhile demons are teaching your kids to worship Satan. I could throw up.” wrote conservative political commentator Liz Wheeler.

However, it doesn’t take a lot of research to find out what the artist’s original intentions were behind the song.

Keep ReadingShow less
Celebrity

Philadelphia Eagles player is bringing his pregnant wife’s OBGYN to the Super Bowl, just in case

Kylie McDevitt's OBGYN is packing a bag to join the NFL star's wife, just in case baby Kelce decides to see the game too.

Philadelphia Eagles player is bringing his pregnant wife's OBGYN to the Super Bowl

Having a baby is an intimate, vulnerable experience, so people get pretty attached to their healthcare providers. I've met women who have planned an induction to have their baby with their preferred doctor and not whoever would be on call if they went into labor naturally. So it may not be a surprise to birthing people that Kylie McDevitt, Philadelphia Eagles player, Jason Kelce's wife, isn't taking any chances when she travels to Arizona for the Super Bowl.

Kelce made headlines with his brother Travis recently when it was revealed that the Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs would be facing off for the Super Bowl, making the pair the first brothers to compete against each other for a ring. It seems that McDevitt didn't want to miss the history-making moment, even though she'll be two weeks shy of the standard 40 weeks of pregnancy.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by alevision.co on Unsplash/ @camerconstewart_uk/Instagram

"Sometimes it pays to learn a language!"

It feels safe to assume that if money were no object, people would always choose to travel business class over economy. After all, who doesn’t want a fast check-in, fancy food and drink choices and more of that sweet, spacious legroom?

However, at anywhere between four to ten times the price of a regular economy ticket, this style of traveling remains a fantasy for many who simply can’t afford it.

Luckily, thanks to one man’s clever travel hack, that fantasy might be more achievable than we realize.

Cameron Stewart, a British photojournalist and camera operator, recently shared how he was able to score business class tickets at a fraction of the price, simply by switching the website language from English to Spanish.
Keep ReadingShow less

Tater Tots, fresh out of the oven.

It’s hard to imagine growing up in America without Tater Tots. They are one of the most popular kiddie foods, right up there with chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. The funny thing is the only reason Tater Tots exist is that their creators needed something to do with leftover food waste.

The Tater Tot is the brainchild of two Mormon brothers, F. Nephi and Golden Grigg, who started a factory on the Oregon-Idaho border that they appropriately named Ore-Ida. The brothers started the factory in 1951 after being convinced that frozen foods were the next big thing.

According to Eater, between 1945 and 1946, Americans bought 800 million pounds of frozen food.

Keep ReadingShow less