28 years ago, give or take a week or two, I was supposed to be giving birth. My baby was going to have thick curly hair and skin the color of hot chocolate, and she was going to grow up to be a fierce brave woman… Of course, I didn’t really know what gender the baby would be, and in the end it didn’t matter. My baby was never born because she was taken away from me by her father, who pounded his fists against my belly to make sure she would never be born. I miscarried on Christmas Eve and then spent the holiday trying to hide my grief so I wouldn’t be beaten again.
Every year on Christmas Eve, and again in July, I thought about her and who she would have been, and how much I wish I’d gotten to watch her grow up. This year, I’m thinking about her, and who she would have been, and wishing I’d gotten to watch her grow up… and feeling a guilty sense of relief. I’m relieved that I never had to explain to her why her grandmother refused to acknowledge her existance. I’m relieved that I never had to explain to her why I was so terrified of her father. I’m relieved that I never had to try – and fail – to protect her from a world that labeled her as “less-than” because of her color and gender, and went out of its way to hurt and control her. I’m relieved I never had to hold her hand as she tried to decide what to do about a pregnancy she wasn’t ready for. I’m relieved that I never had to comfort her as her friend was lowered into the earth because someone deemed him too dangerous to live – for no other reason than being male and black.
I feel guilty for feeling relief – and I am ANGRY. I am angry at a government that says a woman has no right to determine what happens in her vagina, and I am angry at a judicial system so broken that a teenaged boy is dead while his his murderer not only got away with it, but was only charged in the first place because of public outrage. I am angry and tired of feeling powerless against that government that bears no resemblance to the one I grew up believing in.
I am ANGRY, and it’s time to do something about it.