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.
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?
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.
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
A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on
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.
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.
Enjoy maternity leave, Serena.
See you back on the court in 2018!