They say you'll never understand what it's like to be a parent until you become one yourself. And that's exactly what Serena Williams learned after welcoming her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., earlier this month.
"Dear Mom," she began. "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."
Williams went on to note the constant criticism she's received over the years for her appearance, referencing instances when she was called a man or accused of taking drugs to enhance her performance on the court.
Not apologizing for her body, she wrote, "I just work hard and I was born with this badass body and proud of it."
The new mom then went on to thank her mother for showing class to every 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 wrote. "You are so classy, I only wish I could take your lead. I am trying, though ... I hope to teach my baby Alexis Olympia the same, and have the same fortitude you have had."
Williams published her heartwarming letter on Reddit, which is the site her fiancé Alexis Ohanian co-founded. While she revealed she hopes to live up to her mother's example of strength and love, many of the tennis star's fans noted that she already has.
Your strength and courage is remarkable ... You're going to be an awesome mom because you're already an awesome role model.
Deeming themselves her number one fan, one Reddit user wrote: "Your strength and courage is remarkable. You are a hero to many, especially me. Watching you throughout your career and the way you handle the different obstacles you face only encourages me to be better. You're going to be an awesome mom because you're already an awesome role model."
Another added, "You've been an inspiration and role model to me since I was a kid. And I know I'm not the only woman who looks up to you. Alexis is very lucky to have you as a mother."
The Reddit users are right, as Williams has constantly set a positive example throughout her career. Not only has she risen above the body shaming she's received, but she's also used her status to speak out on important issues, such as the gender pay gap and sexism in tennis.
Without a doubt, baby Alexis Olympia will grow up to be a strong woman thanks to her inspiring mother and grandmother.
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