I’m 20 years old. I’m enjoying my life and everything it encompasses as a young adult. That doesn’t mean I don’t imagine settling down and starting a family one day. My parents gave me a beautiful childhood and life filled with up and downs, and I hope that I can relay that to my future children as well. I grew up learning all the life lessons I desperately needed to know, and I want to deliver a legacy that will continue to hold the same values I had growing up.
What terrifies me, however, is the thought of conceiving a daughter. A mini me, someone who’s going to go through heartbreak and pressure, constantly trampled by the sexualizing of female bodies, and the concept that you have to look flawless to be noticed. Someone who has to look at herself in the mirror every day and try and alter her features so boys do a double take. It makes me sick to think that I’ll be raising an innocent baby girl to be someone who gets told that she has to have her first sexual encounter by the time she reaches high school or she won’t be “cool.”
I don’t want to raise my perfect little girl to find her crying in her room because she got used. I don’t want her to grow up afraid of domestic violence. I don’t want people telling her that it’s her fault if that boy hit her, or that her outfit meant she asked to be taken advantage of. I don’t want a boy to give her too much to drink and steal her basic right of choice.
I want to have a baby boy. I want him to grow up to be strong, and compassionate. To love his mother and respect all the women in his life. To look up to his father and admire his intelligence and reverence. I listen to my guy friends talk about girls, and it makes me cringe to hear how much men these days don’t respect women. That lack of respect forces girls to adapt to what they think will catch a boy’s attention. It’s disgusting to know that it’s virtually impossible for girls to find someone who isn’t going to ask them to put out and submit to their double standards because they don’t “want to be held down,” but by all means, they can go around and do whatever the hell they want.
Today, being a woman is both ultimately empowering and extraordinarily difficult. I can’t imagine how it will evolve by the time I have children, and I can’t even fathom having a daughter who has to grow up with these circumstances magnified by any means. I’ll welcome any child into my life, but I pray to God every day that I don’t deliver a girl that will break my heart every time hers is broken, and I can save myself from worrying that she’ll choose the path that she’s pressured into choosing and lose sight of the perfect little girl I once held in my arms.