• December 2021/January 2022
  • Vol. 22, No. 11

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Oblivious to Trauma

Written by Associate Commissioner Aysha E. Schomburg 

I am planning a baby shower. All I can think about is that this is a surprise baby. My very best friend is having her first baby after many years of praying. All I can think about is the hope I have for this baby, and the love I have.

My best friend and I met in first grade. I remember that she was tall and wore her hair in an afro-puff that sat perfectly in the center of her head. She remembers the gold string that adorned my box braids. I remember that she walked over to me and said my hair looked nice. We remember being permanently connected from that day forward. We were better than sisters, and we grew up like giddy little girls totally oblivious to trauma and to the dangers that may have surrounded us. We were loved and protected—and disciplined—when necessary. Together, we went from sharing Lemonheads in elementary school, to studying for middle school algebra, to swapping stories about high school crushes. When we managed to convince our parents to let us out of the house, we navigated the simple but complex neighborhood of Flatbush. We were never ever separated from our parents or our community; that was inconceivable. We were totally oblivious to trauma. We grew up and blossomed into accomplished young adults, like every child ought to have the opportunity to do. The more I think about it now, the more I wonder if we were outliers—inner-city Black girls with an unencumbered path to success somehow. Because in hindsight, we knew the dangers were closer than we cared to admit—on any given day, a block away, or even a breath away.

I want the absolute very best for this baby. I know this baby will be loved and protected infinitely. The "system" will not know this baby because if my best friend ever needs help, she will find herself square in the center of a circle of arms locked together and stretched out to hold, to rock, to nurture, and to guide. My arms will be the first outstretched, and this baby will have unassailable rights to whatever is in my hand, whatever I have to give, and whatever I can acquire. I want to shower this baby with a lifetime of familial closeness and an unshakeable foundation, one so firm that imbalance is only imaginary. I want to clear a path for this baby that secures every possible need, and I will use the full brunt of my body to ward off danger and block obstacles. This is truly how I envision it—unyielding love and unwavering support in the face of adversity.

I want this baby to live a life so full of everything good—a life free of impediments and oblivious to trauma.

And this is what I want for every baby.

 

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