A Letter to My Unborn Son in the Wake of the Las Vegas Shooting

A Letter To My Son.jpg

By Jillian Stacia

This is a letter written to my unborn son on the day of the Las Vegas shooting. I plan to give it to him when he is older and able to responsibly understand today’s events. I am currently 31 weeks pregnant.

Dear You,

I woke up today to terrible news. 50 people dead in Las Vegas. Another mass shooting, the worst in modern American history.

My heart feels heavy, and I can’t seem to focus on anything. All my other responsibilities feel trivial and unimportant. My mind is numb and my body feels sluggish. This is becoming an all too familiar feeling in America.

Before I was pregnant, events like this sickened me. They outraged me. They disgusted me. But they didn’t necessarily make me fearful for my own safety or the safety of those I loved. Maybe it was naivety, but I never seriously feared that I would be involved in an attack. That has significantly changed since I found out we were expecting you.

I’m 31 weeks and 1 day pregnant, and you are my favorite thing about every day. I’m busy preparing to become a mom, and I love the hustle and bustle of this season. I love how full I feel. I love how grateful and blessed and wide open the world seems now that you are on the horizon.

But I’m also terrified. Days like this terrify me. Since becoming pregnant, we’ve had natural disasters. Mass shootings. White supremacists. The threat of nuclear war. All of this disaster and heaviness, and you’re not even born yet.

It doesn’t seem like the right time to bring a child into this world. I don’t know what kind of world you will be born into. I don’t know what kind of country you will grow up in. I don’t know what kind of struggles you will face.

I’ve always taken great pride in being an American. But lately, I’ve felt ashamed. Ashamed of my president. Ashamed of lawmakers who do nothing. Ashamed of racist rhetoric that still exists. Ashamed, ashamed, ashamed. I want your world to be easy, to be loving and flowing and evergreen, and this simply isn’t the world we live in.

How do I tell you, my sweet son, that there are evil people out there? That there are people who shoot and kill other people for no reason at all? That shoot and kill children in their schools? How do I make you feel safe in a world that is undeniably and unequivocally unsafe?

How can I protect you? That’s my most basic job as a parent, and right now, I don’t know that I can do that. I don’t know how to protect you and keep you safe in your own country.

My mind spins and marinates on all I cannot do, on all the ways I will inevitably fall short. It takes everything in my power to focus on what I can control, on what I can teach you. I choose to believe – I have to believe – that this adversity will soften and shape you into the man you were always meant to become. That these things, these terrible things, will somehow find a way to make us better. I have to believe that we can find the lessons buried beneath the horrible moments.

I can’t protect you physically. I can’t ensure that you are always out of harm’s way. But I can work like hell to increase the chances. And that means action. Prayers and thoughts are nice, but action is what moves us forward. That means gun control laws. That means petitions, and calling legislators, and donating money. Words are not enough. Tweeting is not enough. Empty promises are not enough. This is the time for action.

I want you to know me as a person who lives by her values. And I value things like kindness and service and peace. I want you to watch me live those values every damn day- not just in my words or my prayers – but in my actions and daily activities. I want you to know that I fight for what I believe in, and I want you to become a man who does the same.

I can’t protect you emotionally from the pain and anxiety that you’re sure to feel from living in this difficult time. I can’t sugarcoat war or mass shootings, and it would be a disservice to you if I tried. But I can remind you that most people are good. And that no matter what, we can’t lose faith in each other. And while there are bad people, there are also people who are kind and pure and helpful. I’ll show you how to hold on to this truth, how to remain open and vulnerable and kind, even when – especially when – it feels like the last thing you want to do.

I can’t protect you spiritually when you wonder what kind of God would let these things happen. I can’t help you when your world feels off kilter or unrecognizable. But I can show you how to cling to faith with everything you have. I can teach you how to pray, and how to live out those prayers in your daily life. The world will teach you that horrible things happen, but my love and my actions will teach you that we can keep going in spite of them. I will show you how to rise. How to get up. How to keep fighting.

You’ll be in an interesting position. As a white male from a good background, you will be immersed in undeniable privilege. I’ll teach you to know that privilege isn’t inherently a bad thing. It isn’t a problem, it’s a platform. Use it to pull others up. Use your voice for those whose voices have been silenced. Use your privilege as a way to pave the road for others who have never experienced it.

Today was a horrible day. And there will be more horrible days to come. But I can promise you that there will also be days filled with unspeakable joy. There will also be laughter. There will also be so much love that you don’t know what to do with it all. As contradictory as it seems, we can have and experience all of these things all at once. Faith and fear. Love and sorrow. Beauty and terror. I will teach you how to hold space for it all.

Loving you always,

Me.


Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.

{featured image via unsplash}

3 thoughts on “A Letter to My Unborn Son in the Wake of the Las Vegas Shooting

  1. Anne Hill says:

    My heart goes out to you, our young adults and parents. My only offerings are prayers and something I read somewhere, “Babies are a sign from God that the world should continue” they are signs of hope. Blessings on you and your wee one.

    Like

  2. bone&silver says:

    Terrible times indeed, and from here in Australia, we do not understand why the US doesn’t have gun control!?? My son is 17, and I could have written him the same letter… all we can do is try to live kindly, and help others up, as you say. I just hope Mama Earth forgives us all our climate destroying activities… Blessings on you and your boy, and good luck for the birthing journey, G

    Like

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