Yes, I said it. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a kid.
And no, I am NOT saying it because of the sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and everything else that is related to the exhausting job of being a mother.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a kid when I can’t ignore all the evil, mean things around us. Most of us live in denial, feeling like such things will never happen to us. You know, really bad things don’t happen to us! They happen to people we don’t know, people we see on t.v – not us. It turns out this is NOT true. It could happen to us, too. It might happen to us, too. This line of thinking is nothing but a defence mechanism we resort to so we don’t hide away in fear.
I was, obviously, aware of the terrible things that happen every day around the world. How could I not? I am from Brazil, it is somewhat dangerous there, and I grew up with the constant sense of caution. Of course I did not want anything bad to ever happen to me, but this fear didn’t consume me. Now, however, everything has changed since becoming a parent. The way I see things, the way I fear things … it is from a completely different perspective. I don’t fear for myself. I fear for her. It is almost as if I developed a newfound sensibility to events and to people. I don’t look at children the same. Somehow, I always see my daughter in them, and also in animals – they happen to be as helpless as children. A lot of times when I look at my daughter I can’t help wondering “What if I die tomorrow, who will take care of her like I do?” or “What if she is ever hurt, either physically or emotionally?” I obviously cannot protect her all the time, and it will be even more so as she grows and becomes more independent.
I have also become more sensitive and more outraged by how shallow and hypocritical human beings are. All of us. Including myself, unfortunately. We tend to care so much about what matters so little, and so little about what matters so much. Perhaps we do so because, if we were to truly care about what needs to be tended to, that would assign us some responsibility over things. For instance, I fear my daughter might be disrespected because of her skin colour, or even her sexuality someday. She is not white, she is not latina. She is mixed. I don’t know if she was born heterosexual or homosexual (yes, I said born because, like it or not, it is biological). She is a small child and might turn out to be a small adult. My point is: is any of these anyone’s business? Really, it is not. Not even mine or her dad’s. But we make it our business, and we treat people differently because of these kinds of things THAT ARE NOT EVEN OF ANYONE’S BUSINESS but hers.
Children are so pure. Sometimes I observe her and how she loves everyone. She hugs and kisses our black cats just like she does any other cat. She says hi to everyone. She doesn’t care how old you are, what you look like, and so on. All she cares about is that you are nice to her. She is not the only baby to behave this way, so, what does it say about us as a species? It says we teach hate, we teach prejudice, we teach segregation to every new generation – that is what we do with our gift of thinking. What a wonderful world would it be if we all behaved like a one year old.
I can certainly try and teach my daughter to be strong, to fight for her rights and not to care about things people can do that might hurt her. But, can I protect her from rape? From murder? From being hit by a drunk driver? I don’t think I can. And as I am writing this to you, I am trembling, my heart is pounding, it is so hard to picture these scenarios, but I can not live thinking these are the kind of things that only happen to people I see on the 6 o’clock news. They are real.
And even though this concern eats me alive from inside out, it is still not the reason why I sometimes wish I didn’t have kids. Worrying is part of the parenthood package along with all of the sleepless nights and dirty diapers. So, no, this is still not the reason why.
The true reason why I sometimes wish I did not have a kid is because, if something really bad ever happened to her, I would feel so guilty. I would feel more guilty than the perpetrator, I would blame myself more than I’d blame the perpetrator for why on earth would I have planted the seed of the most beautiful flower into the grounds of such a broken garden?
Helena, meu amor, know that no matter what I love you and I will always be there for you.