Everyday I have to ask myself how am I going to protect my son today?
Bringing my son into the world was one of the scariest things I have been through. We almost lost our lives that day. My stepson and I were coming home after a trip to the hospital because of false labor contractions. I felt a gush of fluid run down my leg. I thought my water had broken. We walked down the hall to our apartment and my stepson told me I was bleeding. I told him it was not blood. When I walked into the apartment I looked down and my pants were soaked in blood. Immediately, I rushed to the hospital and find out that my placenta had separated from my uterus and my son was lacking oxygen. At this point, I had lost so much blood the doctors told me I would need a transfusion. For religious reasons I can not except blood and my surgeon explained without a transfusion I would not make it out of surgery. When I woke up I was not only blessed to be alive but my son was doing great as well. Seeing my son gave me a feeling that only a new mother could understand. We faced death and came out alive and well. Nothing could be more scary than going through this type of childbirth, I thought to myself, but I was wrong.
Now, I feel my son’s life is threatened everyday. People often say that no one will take care of your children like you will, but I’m not sure this is what they meant. As an African American woman who has just given birth to a black son I have to say I’m disturbed by the news. When I read the news about young black men like, Micheal Brown, Trayvon Martin and so many others who have been gunned down by self-proclaimed neighborhood watchmen and the very people who are suppose to serve and protect them, I can’t help but fear for my son’s life. Not because these same officers and vigilantes may run into him, but because the judicial system is telling people a black man’s life does not matter. Not to mention, the countless Black Americans in the prison system who have lost years of their life after being falsely accused of a crime and incarcerated with little to no evidence. I have to say I am scared of the police and the very system put in place to protect us.
But let me say the threat on my son is not only racial. If I was to simply focus on race I would leave my son vulnerable to so much many more predators. I read about a federal task force set up to watch video of infants being molested to try and located the offender. One of the infants mentioned was 8 days old. When did infants become apart of an adults sexual interest? Even kids are becoming sexual predators in Oklahoma City a 10 year old girl was using the rest room at her school while her mom waited for her in the parking lot. One of her classmates held her down while her 8 year old brother raped her. I was absolutely repulsed by this for a few reasons. First the school is not protecting these kids. Second, what are these parents teaching their kids and third, I have to be afraid for my son while he is with his friends at the age of 8. Really?
Children are even dying from the neglectful hands of the people paid to watch them. In Portland, Oregon a 23 year old nanny goes tanning while leaving a 2 month old and a 3 year old in the car in 90 degree weather and there are many reports about infants dying in child care. Next month I’m headed back to work and I have to wonder if I’m going to pick my son up and find him beaten up or dead and when he gets older I will have to wonder if he will make it home after walking down the street in his own neighborhood.
As a new mother, you have this incredible blessing and this incredible fear. Everyday I have to ask myself how am I going to protect my son today?