5 New Moms On What It’s Like To Raise A Child In The Era Of Trump

In America, many new mothers are continuously learning what it takes to raise a child while living under an oppressive presidential administration. It’s a frightening reality for the countless women who have to worry about their families being affected by everyday issues: from racism and fractured education systems to threats of deportation. In spite of the forecasted chaos in the years ahead, moms from communities across the country are doing their best to ensure that their little ones grow up with spirits led by love and resistance.

The FADER spoke to five mothers about their biggest worries for their children, and the seeds they’re planting to ensure their youth are prepared for the future.


GEORDAN BRISCOE

Daughter, 6 months
Baltimore, Maryland

GEORDAN BRISCOE: I didn’t really think about Trump winning too much. In my mind, I was like, “There’s no way he’s gonna be our president.” I also didn’t think that if he did become president, things would go so left so fast. As time went on, I started to think about things like insurance and the different resources that I had as a single mother, and how the lack of those resources in the future would manifest into future problems.

My daughter didn’t have Obamacare but she does get free healthcare because I’m a single mother. I have been concerned about how her next coverage period would be [under Trump’s health care bill]. Would I have to pay an arm and a leg for her to be covered? Or would she still have the same resources available to her? I worry about the Planned Parenthood situation and how they’re trying to cut funding for programs like that. I’m definitely grateful and happy to have my kid but I’m not trying to have another one for a couple years. Being pregnant or not wanting to be pregnant is a stress that men have no idea about. I don’t come from a family that’s big on abortions, but it’s all relative at the end of the day and it’s circumstantial. So if shit happens and I’m not prepared, I should be able to have that choice to terminate if that’s what I want do and not be forced into something.

How do you want to prepare your child for this world? What do you want him/her to know about his/her self and purpose?

The hardest thing is to be a black woman or a black girl in America. For her, as she grows into a black woman and acquires education over time, there will be men that will think that they’re better than her and I want to prepare her for that competition and to remain a good person on the inside. I want love to be her foundation because when you have that, then you can accomplish and overcome anything. I want her to know that love conquers everything and you can’t allow any type of adversity to turn you dark inside. Even without even thinking about Trump, when I was growing up, I can say that I had a really great childhood and a great family. At the same time, I don’t feel like they properly equipped me with the tools to really deal with the evils of the world because I was just around such positivity. So, I want to prepare her for those types of realities.

Now that Trump is in office, a lot of people are a lot more comfortable with expressing their hatred towards black people or towards women and others. He’s kinda set this tone to where everybody is just so outspoken and confrontational because they think there will be no consequences. I want to prepare her for that reality of there’s gonna be really nasty people and you have to come at them with intelligence at all times, because we got people talking about alternative facts. They’re just straight-up lying and doing the whole gas-lighting thing and telling us that we shouldn’t feel how we’re feeling. I want to equip her for that type of manipulation from society and the government.

ADVERTISEMENT

LAUREN MURPHY

Son, 1 year
Georgia

LAUREN MURPHY: I honestly didn’t worry about who became president because I don’t have faith or put it in the president to determine my future and success, but rather in God. I feel like the tools I planned on giving my child would already sustain and carry him as he grows up in America period, no matter who the president was. The issue of our black boys and girls being discriminated against and targeted carried on as we had a black president. Donald Trump may enforce laws that will target them even more but, as I watched for the past few years, our children were being targeted. I knew that the way I equipped my son to become a black man in America was a task and a deliberate one at that. A task that is informative and transparent where I’ll have to help him to understand how this system is unfair. I knew I wanted to be honest about how uncomfortable it is and the injustice he may feel after getting pulled over for not signaling a lane change. I wanted to protect him from that and that reality.

My child has the bittersweetness of being a black boy in America. He will always have to work 10 times harder for what he wants and to prove himself. His character will be immediately judged depending on how he likes to dress or the way he walks and talks. There is already a preconceived notion on my child’s life because of his color. He will be targeted, he will be set apart, he will experience discrimination in the workplace, he will be denied things for no reason, and he will be categorized.

How do you want to prepare your child for what’s ahead? What do you want him/her to know about his/her self and purpose?

There are things that weren’t taught to me such as self-love for his color and his culture. Teaching him how to manage his money and how to build a healthy relationship with money so he has the language and tools to become an entrepreneur and not depend on the government and or banks who might discriminate against him when applying for a loan or after his credit is in despair. I want my son to be involved in whatever interests him and build on those interests. He’s really into science and I’d love to send him to a STEM camp or school. I feel like the investments I make in him will last a lifetime in our economy, workforce, and reality and to come.

I want my child to have affirmations early on. I want to speak life into him and I want him to begin to speak life into himself and into whatever he lays his hands on or puts his mind to do. I plan to never talk about the negative but focus on the positive. I want him to be fearless in trying anything and also understanding it is okay to fail at times. Of course, I want my son to be smart and find something he is really good at it, and I plan to capitalize on that skill and show him how to do the same.

ADVERTISEMENT

ANNA CONLAN

Daughters, 17 months and 3 years
New Paltz, New York

ANNA CONLAN: I was scared he was going to win, but I didn’t expect him to win. It was a shock when he did win, and it still doesn’t compute — I still don’t understand how he won but I was scared that he would. I was pro-Bernie Sanders when that was an option, and when that wasn’t an option anymore, I was definitely pro-Hillary.

I wonder what Trump supporters who are parents feel? Do they feel hope, optimism, and encouragement right now for the future of their children? I mean, they must right? That given, I wonder how it can be so different for us. The priorities of the government and how they think society should be organized is so wrong and scary for the future of our children. For a big part of America, that syncs right up with their worldview and it must make them feel great about their children, which is bizarre.

Since Trump got elected, we and lots of other queer families we know have been scrambling to have the non-gestational parent adopt our kids. We need to do this so both parents have legal rights over our kids, and it was necessary under Obama too, but lots of folks didn’t do it because we felt if we were in the courts the government would have our backs. Now, we don’t feel that at all — we fear for our rights as a family. It really sucks, even though we are both on the birth certificates we need to have a social worker inspect our home, lots of testimonies that we are healthy and reliable and fit to adopt our own children, then it goes before a judge to decide. It makes our hearts hurt because we made and raised these babies together. We have to protect ourselves and thank god we can afford the lawyer fees because many can’t.

We worry about a lot of issues the big ones are probably the environment, and what his policies and his prioritizing of oil, and financial gain for a few people and how he’s going to exploit the American soil and water and environment. I think about the ripple effect that it has around the world as well. The climate denying is hugely scary, in terms of the future of my children. Then there’s another level, and a more immediate thing — schooling with DeVos as the Education Secretary. Terrifying. Terrible. My kids got school in two years time and the idea that she has got to go to a school in a classroom that allows guns, is obscene. I’ve got lots of people up here who are absolutely going to homeschool their kids, because they’re not going to let their kids go to school run by this government.

How do you want to prepare your child for what’s ahead? What do you want him/her to know about his/her self and purpose?

As parents you start thinking about these things and you sift through them and figure out what’s important to pass on. At the age they’re at, we’re all about emphasizing being kind, being helpful, saying no to bullies, and standing up for what is right. That’s where our 3 year old is at developmentally and as they get older, it’s just going to be equality, social justice, and being part of community. We’ve already taken them to protests and demonstrations and our 3 year old held signs that she made! It’s also important to educate your kids as well, apart from talking to them, which we do all day, every day about everything. We also buy books about racism and feminism that are suitable for 3 year olds. We just starting to go to a progressive Jewish environmentalist congregation to add another layer of input into their lives during this scary time, helping us with our moral compass and our figuring all this out because it’s so confusing.

ALLY MOSSANENZADEH

New York, New York
Son, 3 years

ALLY MOSSANENZADEH: It seems almost negligent to say it now, but for a long time I’ve been privileged enough to live a life where the swings of politics had very little effect on my day-to-day. As a result, I paid very little attention to what goes on in Washington. Even in the early days of Trump, my husband and I would dismiss him and his hateful campaign rhetoric. I think I really only started to sit up and pay attention in the waning days of the campaign season when even his most deplorable people refused to remove their support. Also, the news media’s coverage of his campaign reached a level of hysteria that I hadn’t really seen in my lifetime.

Although I voted, I just wonder what would have happened if people that thought like me started paying attention earlier? We took for granted that there are a lot of people in this country that don’t share the values that we do, and that have day-to-day concerns that are different from ours.

Trump was a setback and his administration will undoubtedly do some irreparable harm to this country, but to use my president’s favorite quote, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” There will be bad people in the world after Trump is long gone, and in order to live in it I will teach him the same values that I would have taught him anyway: to be kind, to be smart, to respect women, to fight against hatred, and bullies. The best way I can equip him for the future is to assure him that it is within his power to make the future what we believe it should be, and not to get dragged down by the setbacks that he has no power over at present.

How do you want to prepare your child for what’s ahead? What do you want him/her to know about his/her self and purpose?

I might also enroll him in self-defense classes. It never hurts to know how to throw a punch with a strong wrist. I don’t want him to go through life with his head bowed, caged in by artificial barriers imposed on him from the outside. I’m scared that the world will assign him an intrinsic value because of who he is, how his name is spelled, who his parents are, and that he himself will believe in that value. However, that’s not a struggle unique to this America.

ADVERTISEMENT

I want to pass down dissent to him because it’s important. No one is always right by virtue of who they are or what they do or how much money they make. Even your parents can be wrong and sometimes we will, intentionally or not, give you the wrong answers. It isn’t because we don’t love you, it’s because we’re human and can only make our decisions based on the facts that we have. You have a right to dig deeper when the answers aren’t satisfying, and you have a right to use your voice when you see something that you know is wrong.

I want him to know, your mother came from a tiny chain of islands in the middle of the Pacific. Your name is Soheyl, it’s a Persian word for “star.” In the past, navigators at sea used to follow the stars at night in order to understand how to get to where they needed to go; it was human instinct to follow the bright, unwavering points of light in the sky when everything around them was darkness and ocean. Your name was intentional.

TERSA MOSLEY

Son, 20 months old
Baltimore, Maryland

TERESA MOSLEY: I honestly wasn’t thinking it would happen. I was pretty surprised. When I woke up after the election and found out that he’d won, it was a pretty big shock. When I was pregnant it was the beginning of his campaign. When he first came out, talking about becoming president, I was actually kind of open to it. I was interested in hearing what he had to say. But as he continued, it just seemed off the wall to me. There was so much racism, discrimination — what he said about Mexicans, Muslims, these people, that people, it all just seemed very polarizing. I voted for Clinton. And I expected her to win.

When I found out he was president, I was scared. We’re Muslim. I know what Trump has said about putting Muslims on registries, and all these things. It’s scary to think about. People said, “Oh, that’s not really going to happen,” but I mean, it hasn’t exactly happened yet, but I worry for my son. He’s only a baby now, but he’s Muslim, and he’s black and the racists are coming out of the woodwork. They think they can do whatever they want and say whatever they want without consequence.

We live in Baltimore, Maryland and I know there’s some fear in the local Muslim community. There have been a few random situations with hate or bigotry that I’ve heard of in the community. Personally, I’ve only really had one negative interaction, that caused me to be fearful. But in general, my neighbors, my work, my community, we don’t really have issues in our interactions with people. I think there’s definitely a lot of worry in the community, not just the Muslim community, about what’s going on and how it’s going to affect everybody.

How do you want to prepare your child for what’s ahead? What do you want him/her to know about his/her self and purpose?

I think it’s important to teach my son about both of his cultures, to make sure he has strong foundations in his dad’s West African culture. I want him to have connection with his background there, and hopefully with his family. Just to raise him to be a good person. To stand up for people, who can’t stand up for themselves, to be loving and accepting. Just because we’re different doesn’t mean we have to hate each other. I don’t want him to grow up angry or marginalized or anything like that. I want him to do good. I want him to change the world, whether he’s a lawyer or a doctor or whatever path he takes, I want him to excel and to work to make the world a better place — to not keep his head in the sand.

As parents, it’s getting harder, not easier. We just have to try to do our best to raise our kids to be open-minded and loving. They are the future of this country, they are the future of this world. We have to pass down love and understanding, not hate, fear, and bigotry.

Powered by WPeMatico

eBay