Snot, drool, vomit, diarrhea, messy diapers and sleepless nights don’t scare me. I helped raise all of my siblings, growing up with a single mom required me to step up not just as an older sister but as a second mother.
My fears of motherhood are deeper than the average fears and it’s mostly influenced by my immigration status. Many believe becoming a parent is an isolated issue, for me, it’s intertwined with all my other struggles and identities.
When my mother was 21 she already had a child, me. I’m constantly being reminded that I’m the same age she was and I haven’t started to build my family. Some prioritize a job and building a career before even considering becoming a mom. I worry about bringing a child into the world that will have a mom who can barely fund her own education, much less have an established career. I worry that working more than one job to provide a better life for me and my child will result in my absence from special occasions that can’t be relived. I worry that I won’t even have a flexible, stable and well paying job that’ll enable me to raise a family.
While becoming a mom for some is the most joyful experience of their lives, I’m terrified my child will hate me for not providing a life worthy of their acceptance. I know my child will be born into a mix status family, like the one I was raised in. I experienced first hand the lack of resources and how it’s affecting my siblings despite their citizenship. Having to pick which high school senior event I wanted to go to because mom couldn’t afford all of them. My siblings will be repeating that pattern. I’ve seen my documented siblings stay in the states during summer vacation because they didn’t want my mom and I to feel bad, or excluded, from outings we wouldn’t be able to participate in. Yes, sometimes there wasn’t enough food in the fridge, and I would reduce my servings so there would be enough for everyone else. I ask myself, if my mom would have been documented, would it have made a difference growing up? Yes, I think so. I’m not embarrassed of my family or our struggles anymore. At some point I used to be, but it took time, critical thinking and being slapped in the face by life for me to understand and see things differently. I embrace our story wholeheartedly. However, what if my child is spoiled because of the privileges that he/she may acquire for being born here, if they are born here? What if in the process of raising a family, my child grows to be embarrassed of his/her undocumented mother?
It’s different when I struggle with my own future. Figuring out where to work, how to pay for school, crying and being depressed. However, it’s completely different when there’s a little person that depends on me and looks up to my every move. While the government continues to stall on passing a bill that would provide relief, I still see myself being undocumented in the future. I worry that in the late hours of the night I could be taken away from my child and possibly deported. Leaving behind a little person with an incomplete future and memories of a mother he/she may never see again.
What annoys me the most is that so many areas of my life are affected by my immigration status to the point that it dictates my next steps and plots out my future. Everyone, should have the opportunity to have children if they please and their only worry be labor pains. My mother had me in a time where she did not know what “undocumented” meant or “deportation”, but I do. She is stronger than I am for being able to raise me and commit lots of sacrifices for my future and her well-being. I wonder if I’ll be a good enough mother, despite all the injustices around me, and pass down all the things I’ve learned while still being able to provide a better life for my child.