I do not know how to raise a child in this America. Moreover, I do not know how to raise a girl from fetus— or heartbeat— to woman in this America.
As of right now, I am not pregnant.
I am not a mother.
I do not know how to be either of those things.
I do not know if I will have wanted you.
I do not know if I will have had the ability to plan the circumstances of your existence.
You will have friends who— or perhaps you yourself— will be brought into this world as a result of violence. There is no therapy in place for the trauma of that— for eighteen years of unwanted, for eighteen years of pain, for the infinity of the repercussions.
Your body is a footnote in the legislature of your time. The men who wrote it will likely be dead by the time you are of age to vote, their wealth safely in the hands of their sons.
I do not know how to explain to you that once, we believed we were free.
I do not know how to explain that we must constantly fight.
I will teach you to carry your keys between the fingers that make up your fists.
I will teach you to use your words, because lashing out hurts both of you— bruised hands, kickback, shoulder sprains— but words can have a lasting impact, in the press, in history books, on the Congress courtroom floor.
I will explain to you how each level of the government works, so that it is instilled in you so deeply that the mechanisms of how to make a change make perfect sense.
You are likely to be unsafe. You are Jewish by my blood. You are woman by your birth. You are a threat to the very establishment that holds this America in its thrall. You are unsafe, and you will grow anyway. You will be the climbing wisteria branches and the tall sunflowers, choking out those who would try to cut you down. You will suck the nutrients from the earth in order to grow tall. You will have to take what you want. You will have to stand your ground.
You will not understand, at first, that you are different. That your rights are diminished, that you have been given an unfair place behind the starting line, that you have to finish ahead for your finish to be counted at all. You will learn, and it will be the world who teaches you that. Not I.
Perhaps you will discover that you like girls. Perhaps you will not consider yourself a girl. I want to say that I will love you regardless, in spite of, and because of the decisions you will make. I want to. I do.
But I worry that I will not know how to love you.
I worry that you will come about because of fear.
I worry that if I do not want you, in your embryonic state, the size and shape of a squashed cherry tomato but perhaps with a bleeding beating heart, I will have no choice but to have you. I worry that I will resent you.
I do not know how to explain to you that there are people in the world who will hate you because of what you are, what body parts you are born with, what blood runs in your veins, what you choose to say and how you choose to say it. They will insult you. They will try to hurt you. There will be days when you are too exhausted and broken and battered to believe that you will rise up again. And you will.
I do not know how to explain to you that I will not be able to shield you.
I do not know what horrors may come next.
I will have to explain the Holocaust. I worry that I will explain it while we live in its revival.
I wonder if there will be days when I am too exhausted from fighting to teach you how.
I wonder if I fight all the time, will you only learn how to fight, and never to love?
I think sometimes it would be better if you never happen. I think sometimes that it would be cruel, to bear you to term, to allow you to breathe in the toxic air of this planet whose ruination seems so imminent.
None of it is your fault. But I wonder that they care about your life when it is not yours, and not mine before, during, or after you.
How can I explain that you are only a body to them, to be used and perhaps loved, but still thrown away when your political purpose has either failed or served?
They will want you to serve.
If I have you, am I succumbing to serving their ends myself?
Or will you be the Revolution, my pushback against their ways, and you the master’s tool to dismantle the master’s house?
The world is large and sometimes beautiful, but also small and cramped and dark, full of the same pitfalls again and again.
I am wrapped up in claustrophobic city walls.
I do not want you born inside of them.
I do not want you born of hate.
Perhaps I do not want you.
But will I have a choice?