What Serena Williams wrote to her baby on Instagram and why it matters.

Serena Williams, the #1 tennis player in the world, probably the #1 tennis player ever, recently added "noted pregnant person" to her list of flattering descriptors.

Photo by William West/Getty Images.

Williams' pregnancy became an especially big deal with the revelation that she won the Australian Open while growing a human inside her body — just another day at the office for the 23-time Grand Slam winner.


America was faced with a choice. How could we continue to appreciate competition-slaying all-time sports great Serena Williams when she's going to be, like, a mom now?

How much more of this is in the pipeline? Photo by Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images.

Fortunately, Williams cleared this all up for us by posting a selfie and writing a letter to her soon-to-be-born child on Instagram.

The champ clearly has a handle on this whole parenthood thing even before she's officially gotten there.

Here it is (emphasis added):

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. I can't wait for you to join the players box next year. But most importantly, I am so happy to share being number one in the world with you.... once again today. On @alexisohanian bday. From the world's oldest number one to the world's youngest number one.

— Your Mommy



The letter makes it clear that Williams plans to go right back to kicking ass at tennis next year with her child cheering her on from the stands.

Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

It's cool to have babies! They're cute, they smell good most of the time, and they bring a new layer of depth and responsibility into the lives of those who make them. But many women who do choose parenthood face immense pressure to be mother-of-baby first, person-who-lives-in-the-world-and-has-interests-talents-and-goals second.

Thankfully for fans of excellent tennis (and fans of women's autonomy and independence), Williams has decided that motherhood won't be the Single Thing That Defines Her Forever From Now On. And she's setting a good example by doing so.

She's looking forward to meeting her kid.

And she's looking forward to showing her kid just what Mom can do.

Williams' post is an important reminder that it shouldn't have to be a choice between mom or tennis player. Or mom or accountant. Or mom or deep sea commercial fisherman.

It can be both.

Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images.

Enjoy maternity leave, Serena.

See you back on the court in 2018!

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less