I love my little girl. I love her SO MUCH. And lately, I feel like the world is against her in ways she can't imagine (and I wish nobody else could, either).
I remember hearing when I first got pregnant with her, "When you have a little boy, you only worry about one penis. With a little girl, you worry about ALL of them!"
Cute, right? It's a joke, right? Yeah. Right. Cute. Funny.
Except... not really.
Because penises, while they can be fun, can also be weapons. They can be used to intimidate, to demean, to hurt. They can turn your life upside down in an instant and change you from a confident person into a fearful one. Into a victim.
You can't really say that about vaginas.
I guess reading in the news last week that a five year old girl in India died of injuries sustained during a rape, then this week about those poor women in Cleveland, held and repeatedly raped for a decade, really affected me.
I can't imagine how horrible their experiences were. And I know that these few stories are just drops in the ocean of abuses towards women worldwide. I've had my own experience with rape. As awful as that was, it doesn't compare to the horror that poor child, and those poor girls went through. Or the misery, pain and terror that other women and children are going through every hour of every day, somewhere.
I weep for them. I hurt inside thinking that something so awful and cruel could happen. To a child. To a young woman. To anyone.
And I am terrified for my own daughter - that she will grow up too trusting and become a victim. That she will not trust anyone and live a closed-off life. That there is no safe zone, there is no avoiding the random, there is no possible way to tell who is going to be a "Bad Guy" in the worst, most evil sense of the term.
The thought of something awful happening to her makes my heart stop, my gut clench, my adrenaline rush and my arms want to hold her close to me forever and never let her go. It's not fair for me to have this worry for her. It's not fair for me to want to keep her tight to me when she has the right to explore, to range, to wonder at the world in complete freedom from fear.
I hope that when we add our boy to this world in a few weeks, we'll be adding one more Good Guy to the mix. Helping to tip the balance towards decency, kindness, and respect. Raising a son that's a helper, a thinker, a boy and a man with a kind and generous soul. We will raise him with love, overflow his cup with love, so he's got lots to share. I hope with all my heart that he can make his partners feel happy, safe and loved in relationships (whether they be male or female). I hope to give him that with the lessons we teach him about how we treat other people. I can't imagine any mother wishing for anything different, really.