Yesterday we went and paid for a gender scan on my ever growing belly to check what flavour we were having. Lovely boyfriend and I are very happy that our family will be completed with a baby girl. I am looking forward to legitimately dressing a small person in hello kitty prints without the frown of disapproval that came when I gave my infant son hello kitty related things.
I am a sucker for cute Japanese things, I just love them, and the older I get, the more people seem to think that I shouldn’t be covered in animated characters. So having children is the perfect opportunity to pass on my love of all things cute.
Obviously there are more reasons than just dressing my daughter up in cute clothes that have filled us with joy at the news of or female child. I hope to raise an accomplished young woman who can go out into the world and achieve all of her hearts desires.
I can’t think about that too much though. Although I still have to wait for three months until I can hold her in my arms and look into her eyes, find out what colour her hair is (fingers crossed for a redhead this time!) I am already so in love with her, I know this will only intensify when I get to meet her on the outside of my body.
Now don’t get me wrong, I worry about my son and what the world has in store for him too. I panic that he will never learn how to talk (he is really taking his time with this particular skill…..) I am scared that he will not like school/be bullied at school. I watch his growing obsession with constantly playing with his winkie and hope that he won’t get in trouble for indecent exposure in later life (actually caught him rubbing it along the living room window, much to the amusement of passers by the other day). Those are just a small few of the things that make me fret about him. Boys have a head start in our society though. My mini man will have an automatic leg up in life just because he was born with a penis. Not fair, but true.
I spend a lot of time reading about global women’s issues. I find it astounding that in this day an age there are still such backward practices allowed to continue towards women. That FGM still continues is a total crime against women, as the world becomes more blended it is happening here in our country more and more. The numbers of reported cases in Birmingham in the last year have gone up by 30%. These are just the reported cases, many of the girls that this happen to are too scared or unable to come forward until adulthood. Earlier this year the independent gave us a statistic that every 109 minutes a case is reported in the UK.
I understand that different parts of the world have different cultures, when my family moved to Brazil my mum would get her friends to send her Bisto gravy powder, baked beans, Bird’s custard powder and pants that covered your whole bottom in the post as there was nothing like them and she missed them too much. I am sure that lots of times we were thought of as weird by Brazilians, but nothing more serious than that. When a cultural difference is something that breaches a basic human right, like not having your genitals sliced off with a rusty knife, I think it should be addressed and stopped as soon as possible.
There are other awful practices going on in the world. The right to chose what happens to our bodies is something that I have taken for granted as a British woman. The rest of the world is not as enlightened. Abortion rights are not in place for everyone, if you are living only a short distance away in Ireland you may only be granted a termination if you are saving life. So if you are raped, which is sadly a very common occurrence, you would have no choice other than to carry that child of violence into the world.
There are women around the world in prisons because they had miscarriages. As a pregnant woman, the thought of losing my baby is one of my biggest fears. I hope that my pregnancy continues safely and that my daughter gets to live in the world with me.
Not every parent gets to experience this joy. They can have a perfectly fine pregnancy but complications in birth can lead to the loss of life. My heart goes out to every family that has had to say goodbye to a baby. It seems like such a cruel twist of nature. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be trying to heal your heart after such a break. Now imagine that you are put in prison for thirty years for murder if this happens to you and your family. If it is not your first pregnancy then your other children are without a mother while you are punished for something beyond your control. The fact that there are women going through this very thing as I type makes me so angry that I could just sit here and cry.
This is why I can’t think too much about what sort of future my little girl is going to grow up in. I thought that my children would live in a country with free health care for them, now that future looks uncertain. I thought that they would grow up as European citizens, now that future is very uncertain too. The life that I thought I could offer them in Britain looks completely different to the picture I had in mind when I found out that I was carrying either of them.
What if my children want to have children but can’t ever afford the hospital bills to be able to experience the joy of having a family? What if my daughter no longer has maternity leave rights from her job to be able to bond with her baby if she does choose to have one? Have I brought children into a world where men are still valued above women for no other reason than their gender? Where the leaders of our country are going to destroy all of our natural resources instead of investing in renewable energy whilst galloping through the countryside with a pack of dogs to rip any and all small furry creatures in their path to shreds. Where a good education is beyond our financial reach.
There are many worries as a parent. I know that they are varied and never ending. I do hope however that we can make the world a more fair and safe place to be in if you happen to have been born with a vagina. I don’t want to have loads of extra added worries before we have even stared to raise her because the world is still not able to give everyone the same treatment.
Sadly, I do have these worries. Which I why I feel the need to do my part, however small in making sure that people know about these injustices. I hope that the more educated people can become about the world and the way that we treat one another, that a change will happen. That in my children’s life time the world will become a better place for them to live, and not a more scary one.