To be honest, there aren’t many.
If anyone says they aren’t the slightest bit terrified to be expecting a baby girl, then they’re either: ignorant, physically powerful, or in a position of power. I am none of those.
I want my daughter to be strong. I want her to be brilliant, insightful, charming, intelligent, witty, funny, smart, opinionated, creative — you name it. I wish the world for her.
But not this world.
I’m pessimistic to say the least. I want my daughter to be confident and strong and a leader, without being a “bitch”. I never want her to be in fear of the words slut, skank, whore, tramp, bitch, any of that. I want her to live free of the constraints society implements on us as women.
“There’s no point to a guy yelling, “Hey sexy baby” at me out of the passenger window of a car as it speeds past. Even if I was into creepy misogynists and wanted to give him my number, I couldn’t. The car didn’t even slow down. But that’s okay, because he wasn’t actually hitting on me. The point wasn’t to proposition me or chat me up. The only point was to remind me, and all women, that our bodies are his to stare at, assess, comment on, even touch. “Hey sexy baby” is the first part of a sentence that finishes, “this is your daily message from the patriarchy, reminding you that your body is public property”.” Source
My body has always looked older than it actually is. I got my period before anyone else in my elementary school, and I started wearing a bra before anyone else too.
When I was 13, I started walking to the grocery all by myself. One summer day it was hotter than hell outside, and I was wearing a tank top and shorts. I was waiting to cross the street to get home, when I got honked at. I looked to my right, and there was an old brown car with all the windows rolled down full of what appeared to be adult men. They were calling out to me, saying things like, “Hey baby girl you need a lift?” “How about you hop in with us and go for a ride.” I doubt they knew I was 13. I doubt they knew I was terrified. My heart was pounding by the time the light changed, and I walked as fast as I could across the street. To my alarm and dismay, the car was slowly following me down the sidewalk, with the men still calling out to me. After a few more calls they drove away laughing, but I wanted to cry. I thought I could have been kidnapped or raped or murdered.
When I was 17 (a senior in high school), I was sexually harassed in the middle of a crowded hallway. I was trying to get to class, and there was a group of loud obnoxious boys at the end of the hall. They were catcalling and laughing, and I was doing my best to ignore them and not make eye contact. When I had to pass by, one of them grabbed my chest and the other smacked my butt. I just hurried away, wanting to cry. A crowded hallway and no one said a word. I told school officials, but all they said was, “If you don’t know who they are then we can’t do anything about it.” Which, unfortunately, was true. I wouldn’t have been able to identify them, what did I expect the school to do? We have anti-bullying weeks, but never sexual harassment awareness. Way to go, public schools.
I think of these moments in my life, and many more, and I’m terrified. If anything happens to my daughter, I don’t want to be the one to say, “If you don’t know who it is, then we can’t do anything about it.” I don’t want her to think people can attack her and just get away with it. I don’t want anyone to make her sad. I don’t want the same things that happened to me to happen to my beautiful baby girl. I don’t want her to face what I had to. It breaks my heart just thinking about it.
I talked to my boyfriend about a dream I had the other night. I dreamed my daughter grew up to be a successful UFC fighter. Not the typical dream a mother would have, I know. But I believe I dreamed of it because I want her to be strong. I want to have the peace of mind knowing that if my daughter walks down the street she’ll be able to take care of herself. When she leaves the house I want to be able to say “Have fun” without tacking on “–and stay safe”.
Some people think it’s too early to be thinking about these things, but it’s not. Even if I wanted to put these things out of my mind I wouldn’t be able to. I guess that’s what being a mother is — worrying about your child even when she’s still a fetus.
All I know is that I’ll do everything in my power to make her strong, in every sense of the word.