Serena Williams Thanks Mother, Slams Body-Shamers in Open Letter

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On the first of September, Serena Williams gave birth to her first child -- baby Alexis Olympia.

We're confident that she'll be as extraordinary as a parent as she is in every other aspect of her life, but Serena is clearly not so confident. Not yet.

To express her appreciation, Serena is thanking her mother for the amazing job that she did raising five children -- and Serena's taking the opportunity to slam her body-shamers.

Serena Williams and Baby Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

In a post to Reddit, a site co-founded by her fiance and the father of her child, Serena Williams penned a beautiful open letter to her mother, Oracene Price.

Serena took a few swings at body-shamers, too.

"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!"

We love that, even as she writes this, Serena Williams can't contain her excitement at being a mother.

"My exact same strong, muscular, powerful, sensational arms and body."

That's such a great description for Serena's form.

But then it gets sad.

"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."


Serena Williams Selfie

It's not a surprise to us -- we've heard the hateful things said about the greatest athlete in the world.

But it's soul-crushing to hear Serena talk about it, especially in this context:

The context of being a mother who is thinking about what sort of life her daughter will lead.

"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)."

Plenty of athletes use performance-enhancing drugs, but we'd never accuse Serena of it. It's just not like her.

"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 badass body and proud of it)."

Sexism means that people degrade women by calling them men and degrade men by calling them women.

"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."

Serena Williams Poses

When we talk about the hate that Serena has faced, we cannot pretend that it's only about sexism.

Racism is also a tremendous factor.

But a lot of people are seemingly fine seeing a black man succeed in the world of sports, but shun a female athlete.

In terms of racism and sexism, Serena has faced the worst of both worlds -- for all of her life.

"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's standing up for all women here. Because she's wonderful.

And she's clearly filled with love for her mother.

"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."

Hey, life is a journey. And we've already heard that Serena Williams is going to make a great mom.

"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."

We're sure that she will.

Serena Williams, Super Pregnant

"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."

She signs it:

"Your youngest of five, Serena."

We know that a lot of this is going to resonate with a lot of people in different ways.

New parents who aren't sure what they're doing. Kids who aren't sure how their parents did it. Women. Black women, in particular. Female athletes.

Serena Williams is an inspiration, on and off the court.

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