Incredible Women

Breakthrough Star Mia McKenna-Bruce: A Letter To My Newborn Son

In the past year, MIA MCKENNA-BRUCE has released her biggest project to date – How To Have Sex, the sobering drama that stunned its audience at The Cannes Film Festival – and has just won a Bafta for her heart-breaking performance in it. At the same time, she has also become a mother. Here, she writes a letter to her baby son about her transition to parenthood, the lessons she has learned so far, and her hopes for his future

Mia McKenna-Bruce and her son, Leo

To my son, Leo, my tiny lion cub,

I’m going to start by telling you there will never be the words to describe the love you have brought into my world in the last two months. But, I’m going to try to reflect on this mad time, on our first eight weeks, and what I’m imagining, hoping, for your future. In these early days, watching our family and friends rally around us, going above and beyond, has been my first lesson of motherhood. It really does take a village, and I’ve had to learn to never be afraid to ask for, or to accept, help.

Becoming your mum has unlocked a whole new part of me. I have discovered an inner superhero: pregnancy, labor, and the aftermath are relentless, but we did it. And for you, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Amidst all the chaos and cuddles, I have found pure joy, deeper than any adventure I’ve known.

Having seen your first smiles recently, I never want them to fade. Looking into your big eyes, I see your world of endless possibility. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.

My greatest hope for you is that you grow up in a world filled with love and acceptance. I hope that you keep an open mind and stand up against injustice. I want you to always be aware of the impact your actions can have on others, both positive and negative. I want to support you in becoming an advocate of change. I hope to always encourage your curiosity, and we’ll navigate the challenges that the world presents together, always believing that a brighter and more inclusive future is possible.

Leo, a lion might be strong, powerful and fearless, but you do not need to be any of those things. Strength can be found in vulnerability and empathy. True power is in kindness and respect for others. And fearlessness isn’t about an absence of fear, but the courage to confront it and grow from experiences. It’s about embracing all aspects of you, not just those that society wants you to fit. Being a good person means being true to yourself, with all the beautiful complexities that come with it. You’re our little lion cub, but you are your own man.

I want you to know that making errors is part of growing and learning. It’s OK to fail, but it’s important to use those moments as opportunities for growth
Mia as a two-year-old, pictured here with her doting parents

These past few months have given me a whole new respect for my mum and dad, your nona and grandad. As a child, I regarded them as almost infallible, never able to get things wrong, never able to be afraid. But in having you, I’ve realized that it’s OK not to have all the answers. I’m learning that the most important thing is to be there for you, to provide a safe and loving environment. I hope to be your best friend and your safe space, as my mum is to me – although it took me a while to figure that out; I hope it doesn’t take you quite as long.

I also hope to bring my dad’s sense of humor and ability to make everyday moments special as I raise you, because it’s not just the big moments I now remember and hold close. It’s the Sunday afternoons watching TV, the cups of tea before bed, and mornings eating cereal before school, when we were both too sleepy to have a conversation.

I promise to share my mistakes and the challenges I’ve faced with you. There have been many, and I want you to know that making errors is part of growing and learning. It’s OK to fail, but it’s important to use those moments as opportunities for growth. Even when it feels like the end of the world, you can believe me, it’s not.

Every time you wrap your little fingers around my thumb, I can see how much you’ve grown already and hope you still hold my hand when your hands are bigger than mine. I hope I never forget the tiny details of you. Your teeny hands as they pinch at my skin. Your tired eyes as they fight sleep to look around this new world. Your Cupid lips as they learn how to smile and laugh. Your excitable arms that are beyond your control, and your already-strong legs that make me miss the kicks I felt when I carried you. I study you, our magic tiny human, and I cannot believe our luck. Thank you for joining us here. I promise I will spend my days making sure yours are as wonderful as can be.

Welcome to the incredible adventure of life, my little lion. I am honored to be your guide and your biggest fan.

I love you, forever and always,


‘How To Have Sex’ is available to stream on Mubi


A letter to my future self:

A letter to my future self: