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When Trump won, I was naturally disappointed but not shocked. One of my first thoughts was about how new parents must feel. How terrifying to know that your baby has been born into this nightmare. My daughters are old enough to be solid in their feminist beliefs. They’re strong and ready to fight. But it’s harder when you’ve just had a baby and there is a possibility (if Trump doesn’t get impeached) that your child will be eight years old one day and not know anything other than Trump’s America. Let that sink in for a moment. I decided to talk to new parents to learn about their hopes and fears for their babies during this dark time in American history. This article is the result.
For a lot of people, there was a sense of shattered expectations. I continue to see articles that reference Hillary Clinton’s “surprise loss” to Donald Trump. For many, particularly hopeful new parents, the spirit and excitement of the election felt positive due to a general sense that Hillary was a “sure thing” which lead to an enormous let down.
The day of the election I bundled my baby up in his new snowsuit and walked with him the six blocks to our polling place to arrive at 7 a.m. when it opened. He loves being outside, even in the cold. I was excited to be able to tell him when he was older that he had come with me to vote for our first woman president.– Heather
Of the women I talked to (no men responded to requests for comments), most of them said they had an immediate feeling after the election of needing to protect their children.
I woke up to the results of the election the day after. I looked at my daughter sleeping and felt so many emotions. A man, in the highest office of our country, bragged about sexual assault. I felt enraged and the need to protect her. I’m scared that I may not be able to. –Sara
My son has labeled him [Trump] a bully, and yet he continues to have many questions around the ideas of democracy, why people would vote for that person, why people are upset by this, etc. Though I want my child to be informed, I also want to protect him to a certain extent from the madness going on around us. –Jane
As the reality of Trump’s victory set in, all of us began to wonder how our world was about to change. It was interesting to hear how differently mothers of sons spoke about their fears than mothers of daughters.
I have found myself being thankful that my baby is male and white, and then immediately felt disgusted for thinking that. I then felt hopeful that if I really try to raise him right, he can fight the good fight…..Wondering at what age I will need to talk to him about racial differences, and being clueless. What I assumed I would say has gone out the window because I have no clue what the world will be like when that time comes.– Kristin
For parents of daughters, their fears were different:
What will my daughter’s future look like? Will she be able to make choices about her health? Will she be safe being mixed-race? What kind of future will any of our children have? –Sara
And this makes sense. The fear that it will be harder to prevent boys, particularly white males, from using their privilege in a negative way is real. As the white man continues to rise in the Trump era while people of color and women are oppressed, a horrible message is being sent to our young white boys. It’s up to us to teach them better. Of course the fear that parents have for daughters is that their rights are going to be taken away and it’s up to all of us to fight to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Despite the fact that these parents and many others, I’m sure, are concerned for their children’s future, they continue to have hope for the future and plans to resist.
I continue to hold on the the hope that Trump and his cronies will disappear and things will go back to the way they were. Even though that was also far from perfect, it was a hell of a lot closer.– Kristin
At first, I thought my job as a cisgender straight white woman was to help change the minds of Trump voters/supporters. I don’t know if that’s possible. I’m going to give my time to local organizations and donate money to groups fighting for social justice. I want my daughter to know that millions of us were doing the right thing, whatever the outcome. — Sara
… I do not want my children growing up in a world where bullies win. I want them to see that you may be able to rise to power on a platform of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc, which is scary enough, but you will not stay there because we as a people will not stand for blatant discrimination. We will stand together. — Jane
The day after the election I thought about what I would say to my son in ten years or so when he asked me what I did to prevent that guy from being elected — and my answer would be, ‘Not enough’. I didn’t do enough to prevent him from being elected, but I can find ways to work for change going forward–by speaking up, listening, showing up, reaching out in my own community and my country — as well as abroad. I believe I’d have had this reaction without being a parent, but thinking about my kid gives me an added sense of urgency. — Heather
It isn’t easy for any of us living in Trump’s America, particularly those of us who are not white males, but the worries and fears are a bit different for parents. Being a new parent is hard enough with all the natural fears that come along with it and then having to deal with a fascist dictator taking over the country adds a whole different level of anxiety to it. The good news is that the resistance is strong or at least I believe it is. The resistance is growing everyday and we must all have hope, including new parents, that we can turn this thing around for ourselves and for our children.