“I don’t know how I would react if she has to go through what I’ve gone through,” Serena says.
Here’s the thing about incredible women: fierceness tends to be a generational thing. That means if your mom, grandma, and great-grandmother before you have led inspiring and empowering lives, they have likely encouraged you and motivated you to follow in their footsteps… and then some. Well, that is exactly what superstar tennis pro Serena Williams is sharing with the women in her family with her latest open letter.
The athlete wrote a powerful piece for Reddit, directed at her own mother but also in honor of her newborn daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian. It details not only the things she has learned about herself over the years, but also her hopes that her own child will grow up not only WITH strength, but WITHOUT the hardships of haters criticizing her appearance or body type.
“Dear Mom, You are one of the strongest women I know. I was looking at my daughter (OMG, yes, I have a daughter ??) and she has my arms and legs! My exact same strong, muscular, powerful, sensational arms and body. I don’t know how I would react if she has to go through what I’ve gone through since I was a 15 year old and even to this day,” Serena wrote. “I’ve been called man because I appeared outwardly strong. It has been said that that I use drugs (No, I have always had far too much integrity to behave dishonestly in order to gain an advantage). It has been said I don’t belong in Women’s sports — that I belong in Men’s — because I look stronger than many other women do. (No, I just work hard and I was born with [this] body and proud of it).”
“Mom, I’m not sure how you did not go off on every single reporter, person, announcer and quite frankly, hater, who was too ignorant to understand the power of a black woman,” she continued, expressing how impressed she was that her mother has been a warrior against body-shaming. “I am proud we were able to show them what some women look like. We don’t all look the same. We are curvy, strong, muscular, tall, small, just to name a few, and all the same: we are women and proud!”
Serena thanked her mom for instilling these values in her and helping her to understand these important truths about herself, which she hopes she can continue passing down to future generations.
“Thank you for being the role model I needed to endure all the hardships that I now regard as a challenges–ones that I enjoy. I hope to teach my baby Alexis Olympia the same, and have the same fortitude you have had,” Serena added.
She also shared the sweetest side-by-side collage of her and her baby’s photos on Instagram!
How truly inspiring! With a mama like Serena, baby Alexis is sure to grow up embracing all of the features that make her unique, powerful, and strong.
Written by Kristine Hope Kowalski