These are the women that I come from. Working women. Sacrificing women. Women who have sown the seeds of the future with their very hands. Women who have covered me in the prayer and poetry of their tongues. These are the women that I give praise to.

It goes without saying that mothering takes a village, and you all have been there through sleepless nights, questionable diapers and marital advice. You have lifted me through some of the most overwhelming moments I have ever endured. So to the women in my life—my mother, grandmothers, mother-in-law, sisters, aunts, cousins and friends—thank you.

Empowered Motherhood class

You all taught me that mothering—or womanhood—does not always have to be synonymous with strength. That there is room for weakness and error. That I have somewhere to rest my weary head until I have the wit to rise again. Thank you for being a resting place and a rising place all within the same breath.

On those nights when all I could do was cry, you all caught my tears and made oceans out of them.

I have been raised by your glory. I have been led by your examples and guided by your wisdom. I do not know the type of woman that I would be without your direction, but I thank you for the way you have ushered me into womanhood and motherhood. Your presence in my journey has been gentle yet affirming, and it is just what I need.

You all have stretched for me, in the literal and metaphorical sense. This taught me the beauty of taking up space without shying away from who I am. On those nights when all I could do was cry, you all caught my tears and made oceans out of them. You taught me that motherhood is a surging tide of unconditional love and patience. Even in the midst of every storm, you taught me how to dance with ease. And so when those sleep regressions hit or my little one got sick for the first time, I made it through those trying moments with the support of my community.

To my own mother, you held my hand through the birth of my child. You covered me in your strength as I became a mother. From you I have learned my lineage and liberation. You taught me the language of mothering. Of becoming undone and becoming anew. 

Mothering is a communal experience, and I am far blessed by these women who have helped to shape me into the mother and woman that I am today. There has been so much to learn and unlearn, but you all have been by my side every step of the way. I owe it to you. You all have woven generations in your wombs, and now I have done the same, giving my offspring a beautiful heritage to carry. I could not mother in such a revolutionary way without the support of my village. I could not have gathered such valuable lessons to guide my own children without the teachings from the women around me.

I carry your proverbs and hope to pass them down to my daughters someday, for they will be the next generations of women who will rise and continue to shake up the world around them.

You all have shifted the narrative, challenged the conversations of what it means to be a woman. And I stand a witness to the grace of women, everywhere. So to those women in my life, though these words may not sum up the extent of the gratitude that I have for you—thank you. 

A version of this post was published March 8, 2022. It has been updated.