Just weeks after giving birth, Serena Williams, the champion tennis player has written a heartfelt letter to her own mother, about what it has been like to see life through her point of view. After giving birth to her first child and daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr., earlier this month, the tennis pro penned the letter to her mum, expressing her pride in her daughter, her own body and her mother’s ability to handle every ugly, sexist and racist criticism of Serena with grace.
In the letter, the 23-time grand slam champion wrote about the difficulties she’d faced growing up as a black woman and the hopes she has for her daughter. She also thanked her mother for being such a powerful role model in her life. Her words:
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.
I’ve been called a man because I appeared outwardly strong. It has been said 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 badass body and proud of it).
But 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.
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!
You are so classy, I only wish I could take your lead. I am trying, though, and God is not done with me yet. I have a LONG way to go, but thank you.
Thank you for being the role model I needed to endure all the hardships that I now regard as challenges — ones that I enjoy. I hope to teach my baby Alexis Olympia the same, and have the same fortitude you have had.
Promise me, Mom, that you will continue to help. I’m not sure if I am as meek and strong as you are yet. I hope to get there one day. I love you dearly.
Your youngest of five,
Since the tennis star welcomed her daughter Alexis, Serena has shared images and videos documenting her pregnancy on her social media channels.
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