I’ve had the phrase ‘the future is female’ rolling around in my head for days now. Sometimes when it pops into my head, I think of the Fast and Female run I just did in Canmore a few weeks back and I smile at all the grandmas and moms and girls running together. And sometimes, when I look at my baby girl in my arms and think ‘the future is female’, I want to cry.
I’ve wanted to write a blog post about the future being female for awhile now, but every time I sit down to type it, I fear being ‘too political’, and I stop.
And that right there is why I must write this post. Discomfort.
This post makes me uncomfortable.
And I hope it makes you uncomfortable too.
When I found out I was pregnant this time around, I let myself get excited. We were five weeks and 4 days along when we found out, and I started telling Ryan right away that it was a girl.
When we saw her heart beating for the first time, I knew she was a girl.
I had told Ryan so many times that she was a girl that by the 20-week gender scan I was dying laughing, picturing the moment the ultrasound tech told us we were having a boy and Ryan had permission to tease me about it for the rest of our lives.
But, sure enough, at our 20 week scan, the tech looked at us and said ‘I do believe you’re right; it appears we’re looking at a girl!!’ And tears streamed joyously from my eyes.
I always pictured myself being a boy mom, and here we were, after a termination that I chose to call Matthew, and a miscarriage that we were sure was a Henry, being told that we were going to be parents to a little girly.
My heart grew a million sizes that day.
A Woman, some day.
And once she came forth from my body, I called my mother- a mother of three daughters- and sobbed some sort of warbled voicemail into her machine.
The moment I held my daughter in my arms, I realized how much my mom had ever loved, and lost, in the raising of her three daughters.
I thanked her on the voicemail for managing to live her life with ‘three hearts beating outside of her body’.
That is what my Sadie Greta is to me. She is a piece of my heart that beats outside of my body, and I would do Anything to never see her in pain.
My mom is at my house now until late July, helping me parent this child while hubby is away at work, and as the days go by, we’ve been covering giant sections of family history.
And it strikes me, in a lot of our family history, that women must bear Great burdens.
In our family history tales thus far, we’ve covered domestic violence. Physical abuse. Sexual abuse. Emotional abuse. Manipulation. Deceit. Extramarital affairs. Financial control. Abandonment. Sacrifice. Alcoholism. A whole host of nasty things that various women in my family history have had to live with, or die from.
They are stories that I know scraps of, as I have collected bits and pieces of them over the years in my own transition into womanhood, but to hold my baby girl in my arms, and hear them myself as a mother, is Quite different.
This morning’s story time involved the tale of one of my mom’s closest coming of age gal pals being savagely raped and murdered in her boyfriend’s apartment while he was away on tour with his band.
Her crime? Being a girl, and alone, in their apartment.
These stories are not new to me, nor are they uncommon.
I know the statistics, that 1 in every 3 North American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. And I can only estimate that with rapes that never get reported, that figure is much more like 1 in every 2.
And I look down at my sweet, sweet baby girl, and I think ‘which one of the coin toss will you be?’. And I know that is a friggin Awful thought to have in your head, and trust me, that thought doesn’t live there all the time and take up any more space than it needs to- but it is there.
Because, by birth right, I have had a girl, in North America. And I worry for her.
She was born in a great country, to a loving family, and she undoubtedly has a wonderful future ahead of her, but she also has some mighty steep hurdles to tackle.
At the time that I write this, the stats are:
That Sadie has a in 1 in 3 chance of getting sexually assaulted in her lifetime (http://sacha.ca/resources/statistics)
That for every $1.00 a Canadian man makes, she will make $0.74. (http://www.payequity.gov.on.ca/en/GWG/Pages/what_is_GWG.aspx)
That she will have only a 10 per cent chance of becoming one of the top executives of a Canadian company, and only a 4 per cent chance of ever becoming one of Canada’s CEOs. (https://www.google.ca/amp/s/globalnews.ca/news/4807359/female-ceo-wage-gap/amp/)
Those are just her absolute stats, the controls, if you will- but god forbid these following stats ever need apply to her as well:
Every 6 days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. Over 80% of police-reported intimate partner homicides are women. On any given night in Canada, 3,491 women and their 2,724 children sleep in shelters because it isn’t safe at home. On any given night, about 300 women and children are turned away because shelters are already full. (https://www.canadianwomen.org/the-facts/gender-based-violence/)
As I hold my sweet baby girl in my arms, and I listen to my strong warrior mama tell me the tales of the women who have come before me, I trust that Sadie will beat these odds. I trust that she will be a trailblazer, smart as a whip, fearless, loving and confident.
I know that she is the future, and that the future is female, but a small part of me grieves for her nonetheless. For the extra obstacles she faces simply because she was born a girl. And I am begging you, my boy mom friends that are reading this- please, Please, keep doing your part to raise strong boys. Strong, loving, fearless, confident boys that can help level these crappy stats into rubble.
The future is in our hands.
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