A week from Monday I will give birth to my second child, my first Daughter. Her name will be Valorie Cora.
When Leo was born, we got a White House birth announcement, signed by Barack and Michelle. It hangs on my mom’s wall—1,200 miles away in my childhood home outside of Chicago—where she spends her days longing for her grandchildren, shouting at political pundits on TV, and always doing everything for everyone.
I can’t imagine how I would feel if my babies weren’t white, if my existence wasn’t so defined by so many privileges—but as radical leftist activist, and labor organizer, and a feminist, it’s a distressing time to be bringing a daughter into this troubled world.
My mom and I agree politically on most things, but this time she was With Her & I Felt the Bern –I’ve been convinced since long before this election that Hillary Rodham Clinton (as much as I admire her) had no chance of winning (for reasons I really don’t need to get into anymore).
But in the hours and days following the release of President Trump’s “Pussy-Grabbing” tape, my heart filled with hope for the first female president. I dreamed of someday telling a bright-eyed, curly-haired Val that she was born just two weeks after the first time a woman ever became leader of this great country. I soared inside, a narrative to my children revealing itself—my son would be in full-time school before a white man would figurehead our society.
These feelings were somehow only surpassed by the thought of ordering one of those White House Birth Announcements, signed by Hillary and Bill, for my mom to hang on the wall alongside Leo’s signed Obama welcome…
Needless to say, I won’t be requesting a White House Birth Announcement after my C-section, paid for by Medicaid, next week. I’m mostly just super grateful she will be born before the Medicaid expansion allowing my family to qualify for coverage is repealed by President Trump’s administration and a Republican-controlled congress. Hopefully she’s healthy, or else it might be impossible for our family to ever find health coverage without the protection of the Affordable Care Act.
As I was wheeled out of the maternity ward with my tiny baby son in my arms, I spotted President Obama on the TV, addressing our nation. My face flushed with joyful warmth, thinking of how wonderful it was to see President Obama in this great moment of happiness for my family. In that moment I couldn’t hear what President Obama was saying, but I told my son that I had voted for him—the first black President. I told my peacefully sleeping, swaddled baby Leo that he was born during historic times, and that they’d only get more radically wonderful with him in the world.
In that moment, I was only concerned about the good and happy things to come from my status as new-mom, since Obamacare allowed me to stay on my dad’s insurance until I was 26. My prenatal care, labor & delivery with the 4-day hospital stay—an almost $50,000 bill when it was all said and done—was nearly 100% covered by the excellent Blue Cross Blue Shield plan provided by my dad’s Carpenter’s Union.
I’ll have a few more worries floating around in my head as I exit the hospital with my baby girl, but I’m hoping in that moment, with my peacefully sleeping, swaddled baby Valorie in my arms, I can push the concerns of the troubled world aside for just one moment and be only concerned with the good and happy things; remember to take a moment to tell Val how historic these times are and how much more radically wonderful they will be with her in the world.
This time, when I’m wheeled out of the maternity ward with my tiny daughter, I’ll ask them to turn off the TV in the lobby.