To the mother of the Trump rally baby
I don’t know you. I don’t know anything about you. I don’t know if this is your first baby, how old your baby is or how old you are. Whether you’re an old hand at this mothering thing or if you’re just figuring it out. I don’t know how you responded to Trump’s words. I do know, or I assume based on your attendance at a Trump rally, that you and I have many differences. One thing we do have in common though, is motherhood. Another is — again, making assumptions — the belief that babies are a part of society.
I have watched the video clip that brought you and your baby infamy, and I cried for you. I know how it feels to have a baby crying “inappropriately”. I know how desperately you try to keep Baby happy and quiet. I know how you would give anything for the ground to open up and swallow you both. How embarrassing it is.
But then to be called out, not once but twice by the speaker, the man of the moment? To be told, even as a joke, even as you hurry to the exit, that your baby is not welcome?
The one who should be embarrassed is Donald Trump.
Even if it was a joke. Even if you personally weren’t offended. Even if you weren’t really asked to leave. His words matter and his reaction to your baby matters. How the world saw it matters. His words say that it’s ok to call out a mom doing the best she can. They say there’s no problem adding public embarrassment to her already full arms.
His reaction demonstrates that mothers and their babies are fair game for public harassment and humiliation. That is not ok.
He is right though, people don’t understand. People don’t understand that it’s hard to take a baby out, but it’s often harder to stay at home and watch life pass you by. And it’s often damn near impossible to leave the baby! People don’t understand that we need to still do things, to be a person instead of just a Mother. People don’t understand that we didn’t have a me-ectomy the moment a baby exited our body.
So what I want to say to you is this: I absolutely salute you for getting out and doing something you believe in. I salute you for bringing your baby. And I beg you to please, please continue to do it.
The only way people will understand that babies are part of our society is to see that they are. The only way people will understand that mothers are people too is to see that we are. The only way people will understand that babies have a right to be out there is to take babies out there. And perhaps one day, Donald Trump and others like him will understand that no country can be great without acknowledging the greatest and the smallest of its citizens.
So take your baby out, wherever you need or want to be. Stand tall with every other mother against the small-minded and the small-handed. Keep your baby happy, not for the sake of onlookers but for your baby’s sake and your own.
Nessa Saurus, co-traveller on this crazy journey called modern motherhood.