My husband and I decided NOT to find out the gender of our second child before he was born. In part because the mystery allured us. In part because we secretly hoped for a daughter, and we only plan to have two children. We knew we would love regardless. All through election season we waited to find out - would it be a boy? Or a girl?
Two days before the country, we too delivered a boy. When one is expecting a female, and a male is named, there is a pause before emotions flood in. Now, in the case of my son, the pause flooded my mind with thoughts of the brothers that I would raise, and the fortune that I would save in toys. However, in the case of my country, the pause feels longer, and more like the one that comes after you've spun too fast on a tire-swing.
Although I hope we are living in a time and place where gender matters less and less in terms of what one is capable of accomplishing and experiencing, I know it matters. Had we had a girl, she would have been born with all of her eggs. That is one of my most favorite reproductive facts. When a female is born, she already carries all of her eggs - all of her unborn potential-children are present for her first breath. Talk about an enduring flame! That's some torch. In fact, the word torch derives from the french word, torche, meaning twisted thing. Like a double-helix of combustible material our light passes on from mother's hand to daughter's, and this passage is as old as Eve. To mother is to pass on what you know, what you love, and what you hope for the future. To be in touch with one's feminine side is to walk down the street and see the people walking among you, and to think, "you were born, and you were born, and so were you, and so on." And you know that any mother who looses a child, or a potential child, no matter what the circumstance - she agonizes. The monthly passing of an egg can cause a women to recoil, and to feel humanity in the depths of her belly. The regular confrontation with blood causes a woman to reflect on the tides, the light, the shadows, and the sediment of her life - sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. Is it too much of a leap for me to assume that to bring a girl (into power) in this world is likely to bring a biologically earned compassion that extends to all other living beings who were born? That is a power I was interested in witnessing in new ways, and I will do my best to instill in my children.
In the same way I was anticipating the birth of a daughter, I was anticipating the election of our first female president. While It turned out to be a tough week for my feminist desires to shape the world, as I look into the awakening eyes of my little guy - I have never felt stronger, more courageous, more full of love for humanity, more capable, more hopeful, more surrounded by love, as I do as a woman today. Although, when I read the news, I am more trepidatious. Well, then, I can't just wait around and hope for what I want. I want to continue to move towards empowering other women (other people), for the benefit of the greater good. I may not raise up daughters biologically, but I will continue on with my life's work of raising up women's spirits in all the ways I can.
On November 8th, I received a poem in my inbox from a newsletter I subscribe to. The poem is called: Moon For Our Daughters by Annie Finch. Annie was one of my professors in college, in fact, she is one of the few I am still in touch with. She has given me permission to share her poem with you here.
Moon For Our Daughters
Moon that is linking our daughters’
Choices, and still more beginnings,
Threaded alive with our shadows,
These are our bodies’ own voices,
Powers of each of our bodies,
Threading, unbroken, begetting
Flowers from each of our bodies.
These are our spiraling borders
Carrying on your beginnings,
Chaining through shadows to daughters,
Moving beyond our beginnings,
Moon of our daughters, and mothers.
By Annie Finch