You were at the Women’s March on Washington. You won’t remember it because I carried you. At just 15 weeks along, you were the size of an orange.
Your father and I had first heard your heartbeat just a few weeks before, confirming your impending arrival into our world. I was surprised by how fast and how strong it was, an insistent “I am” as Sylvia Plath wrote. You seemed to have a sense of urgency, and that made me proud.
We woke early that day–you and I–to meet other marchers before sunrise. The hormones my body was making to help you grow mixed with nervous energy and made me nauseous. As we walked, we were surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people who crowded the streets just blocks from where we live. I marched, and chanted, and thought of your little pounding heart, racing with expectation and resilience.
Someday, when you are older, I will tell you about the March. I will show you a picture and point to the little bump of your growing body tucked behind a sign reading, “Feminists Fight Back.” You will probably squint to see yourself, and try to imagine what it was like to be there.
Since that day, I, too, have spent many days imagining. Four months since the March and two months until your arrival, we are living in an in-between place. As I wait for you, I wonder where you will fit in an uncertain world.
I know that you won’t remember the March, but I hope that you will remember a few other things. I hope you will remember that the privilege of your life comes with the responsibility to speak up. I hope you will perceive an attack on anyone as an attack on everyone, and that you will not wait to see your gender, your nationality, your religion, or your sexual orientation targeted before you take action. I hope that you will recognize humanity in all of its forms and always see yourself in the struggles of others. I hope that you will be slow to accept barriers and quick take up burdens and carry banners. I hope you will spend your whole life marching.
You were there on January 21. I carried you. I hope that you will always be there, your heartbeat ever timed to resistance. Perhaps you will use your strength to carry someone else.