If I had a baby girl, I’d tell her she was pretty. But that it didn’t matter anyway. Because pretty is just a label society creates. And those labels might as well be written in Greek. They have no meaning here. You’re not pretty or smart or skinny or fat or successful or stupid. You are my baby girl. You are perfect in every way. Society’s Pretty never met no one like you.
If I had a baby girl, I’d tell her she is worthy. A complete worthy being. Just for being born. Just for existing. And one day some freckle faced boy who thinks he’s a man is gonna come along and try to change your mind. You’ll think he’s giving you the world when really he wants to take it all away. And you might make a mistake or two. Thinking you’re in love. But when it’s all over and you’re crushed and confused, I’ll tell you you’re just as worthy as you ever were.
If I had a baby girl, I’d tell her life doesn’t start when you’re 13 or 16 or 18 or 21. Life isn’t womanhood or adulthood or maturity. It’s all the mistakes and magic that happen in between. Life is sneaking out at night with your best friend or losing the biggest game of the season. Life is the first time you drive a car. The first time you ruin dinner. The first time you kiss a boy. The first time you get caught telling a lie. Don’t spend a second thinking you can’t wait until … .Until is now. This is your until. Live in every moment of it.
If I had a baby girl, I’d tell her we’ve come a long way in how the world thinks about women. But we’ve still got a long way to go. And someone is going to look at you like an object. And someone is going to tell you what you can and can’t do with your body. And you’re always going to be seen first and foremost as a woman. And you’ll get used to that because you have to.
You’ll probably do more cleaning and cooking and laundry and child-rearing than your other half despite the fact that you too, have a full-time job. You’ll probably be expected to put your career on hold if you want to start a family. You’ll be expected to lose that baby weight and stay in shape and look beautiful or else lose your value in the eyes of society.
So you’ll have to create your own sacred space where society cannot reach you and tell you who to be and what to become and what parts of you are important and what parts aren’t.
If I had a baby girl I’d tell her that girls aren’t sluts for having sex. And when you think you’re ready, you’re probably wrong. That food is not the enemy. That all bodies are different and perfect and right. I would tell her that life is really tough sometimes, but that’s part of the journey. And I’d tell her to trust the soft little voice in her head that always knows the right thing to do.
If I had a baby girl, my heart would break each time she walked out the door. And I’d hope my words were enough to keep her safe. Or at least enough to keep her going.
I don’t think I’ll have a baby girl. I’m just not that kind. But if you do, please tell her she’s the brightest light in the universe. Please tell her all she ever has to do is shine.