My dearest Ella Grace,
I’ve been learning and reflecting what it means to be a woman. What it means to come into my own as a mama and a wife and as Racheal in the world. International Women’s Day celebrates and honours our work as women and I wanted to welcome you and your journey into becoming with a few things I hope with my last breath and heart that you’ll know.
Little big girl, you carry within you the strength and love of your mama and all the mamas before me. You carry within you tenacity and grit, wholehearted faith and grace that surpasses all understanding so when you feel like you can’t, when you feel unsure, or scared, know that we are right here with you. Know that we too have felt scared, unsure, lost, confused, as we walked these sacred halls with you, before you, beside you. You aren’t alone little big girl, deep breath in. We’ll figure it out.
And when the world gets too loud, too noisy, too much, I pray you’ll know that it’s always okay to take a step back. To put in new boundaries that choose to say no, so you can say yes to all the places and people that nourish and nurture you. Your no is just as important as your yes.
Even when your voice quivers, when your heart pounds out of your chest, even when the white noise amplifies in your head as you try to find your words, I hope you still speak your truth. I hope you share your thoughts and your opinions. I hope you come to the table because your voice matters so much baby girl. Your voice is important….no matter how small it might be at first.
Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes courage is the little voice within that whispers, I will try again so whisper Ella Grace, whisper that it may turn into a roar with practice because oh how I know your roar matters.
But more than anything, I hope you know that there is strength in diversity and unity in our differences. I know that sometimes it may seem that it is us against them, the boys, the patriarchy, other women, or the other narratives that differ from ours as we break glass ceilings, but oh my heart how I hope you’ll always know that we are better together.
A few years ago, I learned that you would be our only and last baby. I grieved and felt so incredibly guilty and heartbroken as if my body had failed you somehow, so this is what I want you to know about you and your body. There will be many many times you will question, there will be many many times the world will tell you you are not pretty, skinny, beautiful, worthy, enough. And when you become a mama, that guilt, pressure, perfection will explode exponentially.
You are wonderfully and fearfully made. You with your special heart that doesn’t beat like others or your lungs that don’t breathe quite the same, you with your skin of royalty that sometimes separates you from others. There was no mistake in the making of you.
So when the world holds up an image of what the current ideal might be, I hope most of all that you will hold up a mirror to yourself and know that every inch of your body inside and out was created, prayed for, conceived, in love and that your gift to the world is just to be wholly and uniquely you.
The world needs you as you are.
I asked you the other day what your favourite thing was about yourself and in your five year old wisdom you answered: “My brain”. I love your brain too, Ella Grace. I love how it imagines and creates, dreams and fights, feels and thinks. I love it even when you use every last cell to challenge me, because within that big bold beautiful brain of yours is also all the amazing pieces of you.
But most of all, I love how you love.
As I write this letter, I am struck that the biggest lessons I want you to learn is something you have taught me most of all. Our everlasting capacity to love and be loved. To love ourselves, to love others, to love and lose and to grieve as a measure of how deeply we loved.
My work everyday is to lead mamas and daddies to coming together in the spaces that they love, lead, and parent. My work everyday as your mama has been to teach you that you matter, that you are important, that you are loved but most of all, that you belong.
But the biggest gift you’ve given me most of all is to learn to love myself as a mama and a woman. To do the hard heart work of forgiving and healing, reparenting and relearning, making space and welcoming because I knew that for you to be at your best, I too had to learn to be at my best and we all do our best until we know better and when we know better, we do better.
So baby girl, make space for failure and mistakes, whispers that turn into roars, nos so you can say yes. Remember that everyone has value, even the last, the least, the lost have something to teach you. Shake what your mama gave you, dance till you jiggle, celebrate the big bold beautiful brain of yours and know always and always that your mama loves you and love always always is the answer.
Racheal Kwacz is a Child and Family Development Specialist, mama tribe advocate and writer. As creator of the ‘RACHEAL Method’, she combines her 20+ years experience working with children in the USA and in Asia with the foundations of ‘Respectful Parenting’, leading parents and teachers around the world to raise kind, confident, compassionate, resilient little ones.
As a firm believer of the urban kampung, she moved to Malaysia with her husband, determined to raise children with the incredible gift of community and mama tribe, standing up and showing up for each other. She is a mom to a joyful, curious, and fiercely independent foodie who is her talking, walking, poster- child for the ‘RACHEAL Method’. To learn more, connect with her on her website or follow her on social media!