I’ve always felt guilty about having kids. I don’t know anyone else who really feels this way (or will admit it). It’s the most irrational and selfish thing I have ever done. Every day, I realize that my girls, just by being here, have done more for me than I could ever do for them. And I brought them into a world governed by racism, nationalism, misogyny, and capitalism: the consequence of which in different combinations allowed (a) a B-list, rapist, reality show host to become president of the United States, (b) a cold virus to shut down entire the entire universe, and (c) the guaranteed destruction of our natural world.
I’m not a sunny person by nature, and I totally reject the tyranny of optimism; all of the above is really me on a regular day. So don’t worry, I’m okay. In many ways, this entire pandemic feels both absurd and surreal, but also somehow a logical consequence of all the ways human beings are destructive to the natural world and each other—and maybe in that there is some satisfaction. Like, we’ve finally seen things through to their natural conclusion. It’s given me not exactly vindication but, perhaps, a resting place for my discontent.
And I’m not saying, “I’ve found myself in motherhood”—motherhood, like all our venerated cultural institutions, makes no sense. It also makes no sense that I should be lucky enough to be the mother of my two girls, but they, whose names mean hope and light, are the only things that continue to make sense to me in this broken and yet sometimes beautiful world.