According to Serena Williams, your mom is totally right when she says you won’t understand something she did or said until you’ve become a parent yourself. On Tuesday, the tennis pro, who is now mother to 2-week-old daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., penned an open letter to her own mom, Oracene Price, in which she thanked her for setting a powerful example of how to be a fierce, loving, and protective mother.
Williams opened the letter, which she titled “Letter to my mom” and posted on Reddit (fiancé Alexis Ohanian](https://www.wmagazine.com/story/tech-nerds-like-serena-williams-fiance-alexis-ohanian-have-never-been-more-desirable) is a co-founder), with, “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.” She also recalled the criticisms her powerful body has received over the years: that she should play in the men’s draw, that she takes performance-enhancing drugs. “I just work hard and I was born with this badass body and proud of it,” she wrote.
The tennis great continued, “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!” She added, “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.”
Williams also thanked her mom for being her role model and giving her the strength to overcome any and all hardships life has thrown her way. “I hope to teach my baby Alexis Olympia the same, and have the same fortitude you have had,” the 35-year-old wrote. “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.” No, you’re crying!
This isn’t the first time Williams has posted a candid open letter. Last fall, in a note addressed to “all incredible women who strive for excellence” and published in Porter magazine, the record-breaking athlete addressed the lack of gender equality in sports (and beyond). “As we know, women have to break down many barriers on the road to success. One of those barriers is the way we are constantly reminded we are not men, as if it is a flaw,” she wrote. “People call me one of the ‘world’s greatest female athletes.’ Do they say LeBron is one of the world’s best male athletes? Is Tiger? Federer? Why not? They are certainly not female. We should never let this go unchallenged. We should always be judged by our achievements, not by our gender.”
And earlier this year, while pregnant with Ohanian, Williams posted a selfie on Instagram in which she cradled her baby bump, captioning it with a short message to her baby. “My Dearest Baby, You gave me the strength I didn’t know I had. You taught me the true meaning of serenity and peace. I can’t wait to meet you,” she wrote, signing it, “Your Mommy.”
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