A Mother’s March

Photo by Mark Dixon

I took my 16-month-old daughter to the Women’s March today.

When my husband picked us up at the skytrain station, he said to me, “Are you okay?”

My response was: “I just feel like crying.”

It was exhausting, surprisingly exhausting. It wasn’t just about getting down to the march with a stroller and a baby and all the baby paraphernalia. And it wasn’t just about the two pee soaked pairs of pants and the diaper change on the floor in a random building. It was this: today, one day after the US presidential inauguration, I felt a profound sadness for my daughter.

I don’t want to take anything away from the hope inspired by so many people coming together, but it breaks my heart to feel a palpable sense of regression around the rights afforded to women. I feel sick to my stomach when I think about many of the things that have been in the news since my daughter was born: that a man can rape a woman and then, with regard to the length of his sentencing, have people say, “What about his swimming career?”, that a presidential candidate can be caught on tape saying, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p—y, you can do anything,” and still become president.

I am still unpacking and wrestling with my own beliefs that come from being raised in a patriarchy. How do I raise a daughter to challenge the prejudices I can’t see? How do I explain to her why it is important to fight for gender equality without making her feel like she is limited because of her gender? How do I teach her that men have been privileged in our culture but that men are not the opposition?

Through my yoga practice, I am learning to hold conflicting emotions and different stories. My daughter has been incredibly fortunate in her young life. She is truly blessed. I know this. I am deeply grateful.

In the past, the pain and heartache of this time would have consumed me. It would have pulled hope from my heart and left me feeling trampled upon by this cruel and unjust world. I would have lost track of the good stories and would have become an embodiment of sadness, anger, and despair, my world coloured by misogyny and sexism.

Today, I find myself able to feel the pain and see the beauty. I still don’t have the answers about how to raise my daughter in the midst of the messiness, but I have a hunch that teaching her to be able to see beauty while feeling pain will help.