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Last week, tennis champ Serena Williams gave birth to her and fiance Alexis Ohanian’s first baby, a daughter who they called Alexis Olympia.
The 35-year-old star shared a moving video diary of her pregnancy journey shortly after announcing her exciting news, and she has proudly shared pictures of her daughter with her millions of followers.
Now Serena has turned her attention to her own mother, Oracene Price, writing an emotional open letter where she opened up about her body image struggle growing up, thanking her mum for her strength.
Posting the letter on reddit, the site co-founded by her fiance, Serena wrote: “Dear Mom, 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 man because I appeared outwardly strong. It has been said that 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 bad*ss 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!”
Serena went on to say that she hoped to be just as good a mother to Alexis as Oracene was to her, adding: “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 a 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, Serena”.
Serena was quickly praised by her fans for how candid she was in the letter, with one commenting: “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.”
Back in April, Serena was forced to respond to “racist” comments that were made by former tennis pro Ilie Nastase shortly after she announced her pregnancy.
Writing at the time, the sports star was inundated with support from fans as she wrote: “I have said it once and I’ll say it again, this world has come so far but yet we have so much further to go. Yes, we have broken down so many barriers – however there are a plethora more to go.
“This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything that I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what’s right.”