Right after my daughter was born, I remember staring into her face, and feeling so mortal.
Prior to becoming a mom, I was the most carefree person. I was the person that loaded her car down at 19 years old, and drove half way across the country to California to live there for a few months. I never knew fear. I never once worried about things like terrorism (even though it was a reality in our generation), natural disasters, car safety regulations, GMOs, or fever over 101.
If you’re not naturally disposed to anxiety, the shock of motherhood hits you like a 15-ton truck. The enormity of the task we’ve been given can seem overwhelming. I’m not just speaking of the day to day grind (which is its own version of overwhelming). I’m referencing the overall goal of raising a child. The idea that we’ve been entrusted to protect this human life, raise it properly, then send it off into the world.
I’m always amazed how as soon as you have one child, people want to know when you’re planning on reproducing again. While I was having silent panic attacks, everyone from family to friends to strangers at the grocery store would ask the same question, “When are you going to have another baby?”
I really don’t mind the question except for the fact that it is so difficult for me to answer. I usually just smile and nod, and casually respond, “Someday…” while changing the subject.
I try to spare everyone the long answer to the question, “When are you going to have another baby?” but since you’re curious it goes as such…
To be honest, I don’t know. I worry about the world I’ve introduced my child into. Can I protect her enough? Do I want to introduce another child into a world where safe places like schools and churches are shot up? Is it normal to raise a child in a world where girls are traded into sex slavery? Is it fair to raise a child in a world where gender, racial, and overall human inequality is still very alive and active?
The truth of the matter is that there is no simple answer to this question. Have I always wanted a family? Yes. At one point in life I would say things like, “I really want a large family” or “I love the idea of having tons of kids running through my house.” Then, I actually had a child and the reality of it all set in. Don’t get me wrong, I love my child more than anything, but there are many days and nights that leave me wondering whether or not I’ve done a disservice to my child by bringing her into this world. When I look at my child, all I see is innocence.
My desire to protect her becomes so strong that pangs of guilt flow through me for introducing her to a world filled with hate, perversion, pain, and inequality It is in those moments that I want to hug her tightly and promise to always show her and teach her love instead of hate, equality instead of prejudice, patience instead of anger. Then I gently remind myself that in a world full of bad things she can be the good. And, maybe one day she can be a big sister too.