A Letter to My Unborn Daughter

What I wish my mother told me, and what I wish to say to women of the upcoming generations.

A Letter to My Unborn Daughter
Photo by Bence Halmosi on Unsplash

What I wish my mother told me, and what I wish to say to women of the upcoming generations.

When I was young, my mother told me to be strong.

Strong didn’t mean having courage enough to carve my own path. It meant I should pick the template generations of women before me have chosen, and stick to it no matter what.

Strong didn’t mean choosing a career that quenches my heart’s thirst for adventure. It meant I should find a high-paying, “stable” job that pays my bills and lets me support my family.

Strong didn’t mean finding family in strangers, and filling my world with people who see the world through the same lenses as I do. It meant finding a man, having two children, and starting a family to ensure I’m not lonely and sad in my older years.

My mother defined strength the only way she knew, the way her mother had done before her: Strength is when you learn to endure

When you can take on the pressures of the world and still fulfil your duties as a mother, wife, sister, and daughter.

I have the privilege my mother never did.

I’m born in an era where we have the luxury to choose what dreams we want to chase. This is possible only because of the sacrifices generations of women before me have made.

And I choose to exercise this privilege.

I choose to take away the endurance aspect of strength and add to it something that would make my mother roll her eyes and ask the heavens for guidance: freedom.

Redefining strength as the freedom to choose

If I have a daughter, I’d tell her to be strong.

Strong doesn’t mean let the world walk over you and still bear a happy smile. Strong means you have the power to choose who stays in your life. It means you get to choose your family, and if someone doesn’t value you, you have the right to walk away.

Strong doesn’t mean holding on to whatever you have because that’s the best you can do. Strong means walking away from toxic situations and having the courage to start over again.

Strong doesn’t mean finding a 9-to-5 and letting the comfort of a monthly salary delude you into thinking this is all life has to offer. Strong means doing what fulfils you, enriches you, always gives you chances to grow, and keeps you creatively challenged enough to feel the sense of accomplishment frequently.

Strong doesn’t mean you need to be a certain way to make anyone else happy. How others feel is their choice. You don’t need to sacrifice your happiness to accommodate other people’s whims.

My daughter needs to know the life she has isn’t beautiful because of her alone. She gets to live in peace and sunshine because women before her have given up their lives to make a life like this possible.

She should honor this sacrifice by being true to herself.

She needs to know the world is full of abundance. 

There isn’t only one way to live. She’s free to pick and choose who she wants, how she wants it, and when she wants to start.

Redefining freedom as the peace to be

If I have a daughter, I’ll tell her not to let imaginary timelines tie her down in knots.

She gets to pick her pace and stick with it.

If she wants to wait until 40 to get married, she should.

If she wants to switch careers at 50, she should.

And the only person who can give her this power is herself.

If she wants to live a life true to herself, she has to choose herself no matter what. She has to wake up every morning and pick her happiness over everything else.

She has to show up for herself when no one else does.

Her grounds for self-esteem shouldn’t be rooted in another person, her job, or how productive she manages to be on any given day.

Her self-esteem should come from within, and I want to empower my daughter so much, that she never looks to another human for validation.

Redefining peace as the will to be limitless

If I have a daughter, I’ll tell her not to limit her dreams and imagination because the world teaches us to think a certain way.

If you don’t get married by 30, you’ll never find happiness.

Even if a long-term relationship doesn’t work, you need to stick with the person because being together and being sad is better than being alone.

Children are a must-have. If you don’t procreate, you won’t be accepted in the society we live in.

I want my daughter to know there isn’t such a thing as “The Universal Truth.” 

Reality can vary depending on what narrative you tell yourself. 

What’s true for me might not be true for you, and that’s okay. You get to choose the kind of life you want to live, and this shouldn’t depend on the opinion other people have about happiness.

To the daughter I’ll never have; to the future me I always will

I’ve lived for 30 years trying to appease people around me. I’ve grown weary of the disapproval of others, and the need to fit in to appear socially acceptable. 

I don’t want my daughter to fall into the same patterns.

I want her to live free, to know that self-worth comes from within, and not from the approval of others.

I want her to own her time and her life, and not depend on anyone else to make life-changing decisions for her.

I want her to never feel the need to justify her actions or choices, or to seek validation from anyone else.

I want my daughter to have the best life, and you know what, at this point in my life, I’m not sure if I’d ever have a daughter. But I know I might come back to this post every once in a few years, and I hope my future self reads this and feels proud that she chose to walk down this path.

I hope she chooses herself over everything else.

“Oh simmer down you drive me crazy
I can feel my body shaking
Shedding all the fear you gave me
I don’t know why I’ve been here waiting
Diamond underneath the pressure
I can feel so much better
I choose me
I choose me
I choose my body now”
— Amanati, I Choose Me

For more such stories, join my email family of 5000+ people for insights on creativity, productivity, and writing to create your dream life.

More tidbits on life and living here — 

I Stopped Wearing High Heels at 30
My feet are happier but my outfits might not be
If Your Dreams Don’t Scare the Sh*t Out of You, Are They Worth Pursuing?
Your cue to set unreasonable goals this year
The Zen Life Hack You Didn’t Know You Needed
Getting to decide how you feel decides how your life will shape up