Keeping My Future Child Safe

I have just been so sad since the story of the Trayvon Martin case came out.

I’m pregnant but don’t know if I’m having a boy or a girl. I have to admit that one little part of me, deep deep inside, has hoped Honey Badger is a boy. Someone to carry on the family “name,” which is an absolutely archaic conceit that I’m ashamed to admit that I even give any credence. But, there it is. And of course, I would love a girl too — any baby is a blessing.

But I’ve just been feeling so much pressure now of what it means to possibly be bringing up a black boy in this world. And I am so pre-emptively afraid. What if I don’t teach this kid about how to act in front of police officers? How do I help him understand that he needs to be compliant around people who would find him “suspicious,” even if he’s done nothing wrong, without breaking his little spirit?

This is really the first time I have felt the huge responsibility of doing this without a man in the house who may be able to explain life in a way that I simply cannot. Because although I am black, I’m not a black MAN, facing the unique concerns that exist for black men.

I imagine that it’s the pregnancy hormones that are getting to me right about now, but I just can’t think about Trayvon and his family without wanting to cry. I’m not going to go into what I think about the shooter’s guilt or innocence — there is a lot that is not known, and that’s a different topic. I’m just thinking, how do you keep your kids SAFE? I have wondered recently whether I’m actually brave enough to do this. Bad time to suddenly develop misgivings….

6 thoughts on “Keeping My Future Child Safe”

  1. I think most women feel the same as you. I’m black, DD is biracial. There will always be challenges no matter what. We all fear for our children, biological or not. And, unfortunately, when something like the Trayvon Martin case happens, you’re forced to deal w/ those fears again. I don’t want to live in fear of all there is out there but I don’t want to bury my head in the sand either. Although I will admit that I did just that when I was pregnant and probably for the first year after DD was born. I couldn’t and didn’t watch or read the news for almost 2 years. Too depressing and scary. Finding the middle ground between being over protective and care free is the challenge. My parents were overly cautious with my sister and I when growing up. We weren’t allowed to leave the house without them. And I’m finding that I am a more laid back mother (or try to be). I’ll still jump up whenever I see DD fall down, I just might not run over and soothe her immediately. She needs her independence, even at age two. And I constantly have to talk myself out of rushing to her side every time she tries something new or fails at something. We all just have to keep searching for the perfect balance.

  2. I can totally relate to your fears as a black woman who is considering becoming a SMC.

    First, I was comforted to see that there are other women of color who have made this choice.

    Having lost a baby brother (25 years old), I can certainly identify with what you’re going through. Add that to the unfortunate statistics that perpetuate the lack of positive male role models in the black community (which is why I am choosing to do it on my own– simply no black men in my life that are stepping up to the plate or that even WANT a woman of color by their side), and it causes one to take a breath when thinking of bringing a child into the world…especially a black male.

    I would say turn your fear into LOVE. Your choice alone demonstrates that you have an open mind and will pass that along to your child, and a child that feels truly LOVED will often avoid the influences of the streets. Teach him / her pride in their race and in their natural beauty and simply let your strength shine through. Bringing a child of any race into today’s world can be scary, but embracing your own strength and having determination to LOVE your child no matter what will help.

    Many blessings to you sister! I wish you and your little one all the best!

  3. I’m a black SMC but I did not use a black donor and I have two daughters (mixed). Your fear is a very real one felt by many black mothers. There is nothing to be ashamed of since the reason for the fear is not your fault.

  4. As a white woman, I obviously can’t know exactly what you are going through. I too have been saddened and sickened by the Treyvon Martin case. I almost married a black man and envisioned how our child would likely face challenges and discrimination I never had to experience. It’s true there are so many things parents have to worry about, and at the same time raising a black child, presents it’s own set of challenges and fears in this imperfect and often unjust world we live in.

    Somehow, though, i think the answer is the same for single mothers of any race- to make every effort you can to find black male role models who can mentor, or guide your child.

    I wish you all the best!

  5. Our outlook on the world changes so drastically as we embark on parenthood. I worry about my daughter doing some of the stupid and dangerous things I did as a teenager and young woman–drinking and driving; going home with a guy she doesn’t know well, etc. Now as a 40-something my hindsight is 20/20 – OK – at least 20/40. But young people think they are invincible. I see stories about kids dying on the news and I look at them differently now that I’m going to be a parent. Kids get abducted, they have accidents, they get molested, they get bullied. It seems like a risky and dangerous world out there. We have to teach our child stranger danger, the dangers of what lurks on the Internet, the dangers of using social media sites for chatting and posting information. But keep in mind that for every bad story we hear, there are many more stories of kids having a normal childhood, never having anything horrific or terrible happen to them and just going to school and having happy childhoods.

  6. I completely feel the same way as you. I’m hoping and praying to adopt a baby (birth to 1 yr. old). I really want a girl the first time around. However, I’m open to having a boy too. I believe you speak to the fear many black women (or women of color) have for their sons, nephews, and brothers though.

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