The Anxiety of Raising a Biracial Child Hit Me
It feels like we have waited to get pregnant for eternity, and it seems nothing else matters now that we did. We have never worried or considered the complexities of raising a biracial child. We live in Oslo, and my hubby is Dominican (and he looks black), and I am Eastern European (and I am white). Perhaps since we do not live in Lithuania, or maybe because we never felt uncomfortable being an interracial couple in the Dominican Republic, it never crossed our minds. Being young, first-time parents, neither my partner nor I gave much thought to anything other than being the best parents we could be, providing a stable and loving home for our daughter. And for the first years, we were right: it seems that is all she needs.
Yet, today, I feel anxious. A few days ago, I shared "a joke" my husband told once to our friends with a colleague of mine. I told her that my hubby jokingly said that he feels that everyone stares at him when he takes a subway home with his daughter. At this moment, he feels like people think that he stole his baby girl. I expected a giggle from her; instead, I heard: "Yeah, I understand him." She continued: "People used to assume I am a nanny/ au-pair to my son." My colleague is Thai, and her husband was Swedish. She shared: "Just because my skin was darker than the child's, people assumed I am not his mother, just someone who takes care of him." It broke my heart just from the thought of how it could be painful to be estranged from your own child.
I am sure my hubby and I are on the same page when it comes to growing Mia. Despite the labels and other people's opinions, we both want our bundle of joy to grow up a confident citizen of the world who has a biracial identity. But the anxiety levels are growing. I cannot help but wonder, am I naïve to think that love knows no language and certainly no race or skin color? With more and more global exposure these days, is it still uncommon to see biracial parents raising a child who is aware of both cultures? How should we prepare? What could we do to provide moral support to boost her confidence and happiness?
She is about to wake up, so I need to pause these thoughts for now and maybe tomorrow develop a plan or two to prepare for the challenges ahead of us.