Our guest editor pens a letter to her nine-month-old daughter, Tallulah.
I’ve written you many letters before now, and pages of diary entries detailing your birth and your blissful effect on our family. These letters will never have an audience unless you choose to give them one.
I saw this very public letter as an opportunity to speak more broadly about what I’ve known as a woman and the world as I feel it, my aspirations for you as a young girl navigating this world and my aspirations for myself in the raising of you. I want to be clear and say sorry if this feels inappropriate. I say sorry a lot. Sorry.
You may also like
Jameela Jamil: “A letter to my inner bully”
I always worried about having a little girl. I was delighted and relieved, frankly, when I knew I was having boys. And I’ve adored having sons. I have been constantly surprised by them – how emotional, sensitive and thoughtful they are.
The problem with men begins with the raising of boys, in my opinion. We are too quick to shut them down as children and tell them to be strong when they feel vulnerable; to shame them and yet give them a false sense of entitlement. This has contributed to the creation of a man’s world and one I didn’t want for my daughter. But let me anxiously move on to my next fear: mothers and daughters.
I was so forensic when it came to my own mum. I knew her all too well, even though I spent the best part of my formative years with strangers in Soho.
I adored my mum but I knew why she laughed at the end of everything she said, why she smoked heavily, why she obsessively cleaned. I studied her so intently that I felt all of her happiness and pain at once. I know this is not remarkable and although I am a self-confessed codependent, I am well aware that mothers and daughters have a very specific love and fight on their hands. At its best it’s an absolute lifeline. At its worst, a blood sport.
And, unsurprisingly, I feared that. I didn’t want to be watched that way by my own daughter and, overwhelmingly, I didn’t want to burden a beautiful female with my own endless shit.
You may also like
“What I learned from two years of joint therapy with my mum”
When I was a little girl, I said sorry all the time. I worked extremely hard at school. I was petrified of men but longed to be with a strong one. I always mistook control for strength.
I was fascinated by men and often preferred their company because, on reflection, they had freedom and that was attractive. Men seemed to laugh more; they always ate the biggest plate of food and everybody had to wait for their word before any bloody decisions were made. I decided I’d try and copy men to get what I wanted. This would sometimes work and I’d feel victorious!
But I didn’t want any of this for you, Tallulah. I have spent so much time thinking about the fear of having a daughter, and what I wouldn’t want you to experience, that I had totally neglected the idea of what joy would come from a female arrival.
Tallulah… you are so remarkable to me. You have restored – without knowing it – all my faith in strong female energy. I want to learn from you and revel in your beauty. You are not just female, you are other. And from listing all of my anxieties above (there are many and I promise to always work on myself), I’m at my most calm and able around you. You are powerful.
In many ways, I’m excited by the world today. There is huge change emerging; opportunity where there hasn’t been. Children are becoming increasingly political and want to be heard. I believe you will know respectful relationships, and how to bow out of them if the time comes. I believe you will understand the importance of putting yourself first. I believe in you little girl. And I am blessed to have you.
Recommended by Billie Piper
Billie Piper nails the big difference between life in your 20s and 30s
Perrie Edwards reveals the devastating impact of panic attacks on her life
Billie Piper reveals baby girl name in low-key Instagram announcement
Barbie releases pilot and engineer dolls to encourage girls into STEM