Right now, you are a wide-eyed 1-year-old who toddles by your big brother’s side. You are my first, and currently, only daughter, and I have waited for you my whole life. I was so excited to find out our second baby would be a girl, a little bit of pink and sparkle being added to our world of trucks and trains. While being your mom is so much fun, I know I have a huge responsibility as I raise a girl who will one day grow into a woman.
I was raised in a house full of boys, the only girl out of four kids. I remember thinking that my brothers had it all: boys were faster, stronger, tougher, and sometimes it seemed they were smarter too. My brothers were wild and free, and they didn’t have to wear bras, deal with periods, or worry about things that were in the future like the pains of childbirth. To me, everything seemed restrictive, painful, and unfair. I didn’t want my hair pulled back into painfully tight french braids, I just wanted to run like they did and be free.
Now that I’m older, I find beauty in femininity, a beauty I didn’t see before. I find something oddly comforting and renewing about the monthly cycles that remind my body of its ability to create life. My breasts are not a hindrance but have been a food source and a place of comfort for you and your brother. The personality traits that make me different from your dad don’t make me weaker, they make me the woman our family needs.
Society taught me those things were curses rather than blessings, but I have been learning to redefine them.
I promise to open your eyes to the gift of being a girl and a woman. I want you to understand the importance of embracing the body you were born into and using it to fill the world with your goodness. Puberty can be hard, but I will navigate it with you and help you see the beauty of transition. There will be voices that shout lies about womanhood, your body, and your worth. I know I won’t be able to silence them, but I will stand as a sentinel to guide you to the truth.
While the world will fill you with the need to compare and compete with other women to have value, I’ll teach you to be confident enough in yourself to lift others and help them find their own confidence. I hope you will be authentic and true to yourself in a world of filters and photoshop. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of makeup and some pretty clothes, but you have an elegance without them.
I know the best way I can show you the beauty of being a woman is through example. I’m as imperfect as they come, but I will try my best to speak positively of my appearance and to never say anything negative about another woman. I will show you the joy that filled my life by embracing my identity as a woman, wife, and mother.
I know if I can be comfortable in my womanhood, you can be too.
I will help you feel connected to the women who came before you and me, the women who passed on to us many of the exact physical and personality traits that are a part of our lives. In knowing their stories comes a greater sense of identity and direction. If one day you create a family of your own, it’ll be a joy to see you carry on the pattern of creation and mothering. Even the pains of childbirth are a promise of future love and sacrifice rather than something to fear.
You can be whatever kind of girl or woman you want to be, you get to define your femininity. Lucky for you, I never learned how to braid, but if long braids are what you want, I will learn. I love that you enjoy playing with trucks just like your brother, and I hope you will always pursue your own interests, despite whether or not they fit into gender stereotypes.
I’m not saying it’s better or easier to be a woman than a man, but that it’s just as wonderful, and I hope you won’t feel the way I once did.
You are capable of grit, courage, strength, and reliance, despite the age-old myth of us being the weaker sex. You will prove to your family, friends, and the world that even with its own challenges to navigate, there is something joyous in the female experience. I can’t wait to watch the life you will create, the rules you will break, the stories you will tell, and the beauty you will discover.
My daughter, I’ll show you the beauty of womanhood.