When you become pregnant or a parent, it seems like everyone around you has a million questions – “When are you due?” “Is it a boy or a girl?” “Do you have a name yet?” “Where are you giving birth?” “Will you get an epidural?” Humans are naturally curious, and while most questions are fine and harmless, there was one I was not prepared for. Shortly after my daughter was born, people began asking me, “Is she yours?”
My baby is a caramel-skinned, brown-eyed, curly-haired, beautiful soul, and I have green eyes, white skin, and short, straight brown hair. I am the biological mother of my daughter. My husband, her biological father, is a strong, black man from Ghana, West Africa.
When people would ask, “She’s beautiful, is she yours?” I’d calmly answer, “Yes, my husband is a black man,” as if this stranger asking me a deeply personal question warranted a response. I even had someone just blatantly ask me, “Where did you adopt her from?” Some days I would shrug it off, and other days it would sting. Couldn’t they see our connection? That she has my smile? The joy we brought to each other and the hard as hell work I was putting in?
What exactly does someone mean when they ask, “Is she yours?” Just because the person carrying a baby on their hip doesn’t strongly resemble that child doesn’t mean they aren’t the caregiver and that the child isn’t “theirs.” Perhaps the child was adopted or they’re in the care of the godparent or uncle or grandmother. What we should do as curious humans is look past the exterior, look past what we believe someone should look like, and look at what is: a woman holding her child. See the love.
This question isn’t likely going to go away as my daughter grows up, but what can change is my response. I recently heard something that resonated with me while listening to the podcast The Longest Shortest Time. A black mother to a mixed-race baby explained the many questions she was asked while out and about with her infant. Her response was, “Why do you ask?” This may make the curious person pause the next time they want to ask a question that is actually none of their business. Maybe they’ll take a step back and see what they see without perception, judgement, or question.
As I write this, I see my curly-haired baby girl – her hands cupped beneath her cheek and her breath light and simple as she sleeps. For her, I hope for a future of curiosity without judgement. I hope she may see caregivers of all shapes, sizes, and colors, showing love and affection to their little ones. I hope she sees love through mankind.
So, yes, she’s mine. She’ll always be 100 percent, completely mine.