Hope for My Daughter
A few months ago I wrote a post about being scared about the fact that I am raising a daughter (you can find it here), a post that has been my most-read, most-shared and most-commented-on piece of writing since I became a blogger. Clearly our fears as Mamas regarding our daughters’ safety, our daughters’ right to an opinion, and our daughters’ rights over their own bodies are at the forefront of many minds. This is a crisis that has faced humanity for hundreds of years. It is a reality that terrifies me, for both my own sake as well as my daughters. Are we safe? Are we taken seriously? Are we labelled, judged or persecuted for our beliefs or actions?
And then came this weekend. The Women’s March held on 21 January in the USA, as well as countries all over the world. While it has very little to do with my political reality, the fact that an estimated 4.8 million people marched in solidarity to draw attention to women’s rights, immigration, health care, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, freedom for all religions and worker’s rights gave my heart hope.
Men and women, young and old, different races and genders and all walks of life marched together in an effort to show unity, to stand by what is right and good in this world. Signs reading “More Love, Less Hate”, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-damental Rights”, “My Body, My Choice” and “Boys Will be Boys Good Humans” were scattered all over the streets, proudly held up by people who just want fairness, equality and kindness. And as a parent, I could not have been happier to see it.
So I jumped at the opportunity to discuss some ideas with Bella. I asked her if she thought her body was important, and to my shock, she said “no because I’m not a grown-up yet”. I could not believe that despite everything her Dad and I teach her, and how much emphasis we place on her confidence and self-awareness, that she STILL thought that her young female body was not important. We chatted all the way to school about why children’s’ bodies are in fact the MOST important, about how they need to be cared for, how they need to be protected and how they need to be loved, because one day those bodies WILL be grown-up bodies. Grown-up bodies who are loved, grown-up bodies who are respected, and grown-up bodies who walk around with mindfulness about what they are worth and who is allowed to touch them.
Then I chatted to my daughter about the female body specifically and why it is so important. We spoke about how our bodies belong to us, and how special it is to be a young girl, because one day you get to become a woman. I told her that without the female body, there is no place for babies to grow, for life to be given to this Earth. I saw my daughter look at her own body with new eyes, eyes filled with wonder at what her body is worth and what her body is capable of (whether she one day wants children or not). The march this weekend sparked this conversation, and allowed me to teach a vital lesson to my girl, and for that I am indebted to all those women, men and children who walked for our right to be seen and heard and taken seriously.
This is the time. This is OUR time. This is our time to raise strong daughters. This is our time to raise kind men. This is our time to raise children in equality, in kindness and in love for all fellow human beings. This is our time to teach that we are all worthy, we all matter, and above all, to teach that when it gets hard to love, we need to love each other even harder. This is our time, and what an exciting time to be raising little people. There is so much hope for our daughters!