Angelina Jolie Pens Powerful Essay Detailing Daughters' Surgeries

Strong mom. Angelina Jolie revealed that she spent two months “in and out of surgeries” with two of her daughters in a powerful new essay commemorating International Women’s Day.

The Oscar-winning actress, 44, admitted that her daughters “encouraged her to write” about their “medical challenges” in her latest contribution to Time magazine on Sunday, March 8. Jolie opened up about what it was like to not only watch two of her children “go under the knife,” but also to witness the ways in which their siblings supported them through their recoveries.

“I have watched my daughters care for one another,” the Maleficent star wrote. “My youngest daughter studied the nurses with her sister, and then assisted the next time. I saw how all my girls so easily stopped everything and put each other first, and felt the joy of being of service to those they love.”

Jolie continued, “I also watched them [face their] fears with a resolute bravery. We all know that moment when no one else can help us, and all we can do is close our eyes and breathe. When only we can take the next step or breath through the pain, so we steady ourselves and do it.”

Throughout her family’s stressful moment, Jolie reflected on the “supportive and sweet” nature of sons Maddox, 18, Pax, 16, and Knox, 11. Jolie also shares daughters Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 13, and Vivienne, 11, with ex-husband Brad Pitt. (She confirmed in the essay that Zahara underwent surgery, but did not name the other daughter.)

As the Salt star penned her thoughtful essay “from the hospital,” she took time to address the expectations that society places on girls — to be careful, gentle and nurturing — and how she hopes her daughters will challenge those stereotypes as they grow up.

“Girls are often conditioned to think that they are good only when they serve others, and selfish or wrong if ever they focus on their own needs and desires,” she wrote. “Little girls’ softness, their openness and instinct to nurture and help others, must be appreciated and not abused. We must do much more to protect them, in all societies: not only against the extreme ways girls’ rights are often violated, but also the more subtle injustices and attitudes that so often go unnoticed or excused.”

The vocal humanitarian concluded with a call to action, writing, “So my wish on this day is that we value girls. Care for them. And know that the stronger they grow, the healthier they will be and the more they will give back to their family and community.”

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