52 Series: Tips for New Parents

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As I observed her tiny bodily features, I kept thinking about the possible futures ahead of her. Will she be able to become whomever she wants? There is an autobiographical background to this question. I was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina into a secular Muslim family, and lived in the country for most of the first 30 years of my life.

Coming of age during a brutal ethnic conflict in the early s, I was corralled into a cultural identity I was told belonged to me. Being persecuted for being Muslim generated a personal and cultural resistance in me. I adopted and celebrated that scorned identity. Gradually, I became a Muslim.

I embraced the target on my back and made it my own. But adopting an identity as a form of resistance, as I learned quickly, can take one only so far. Like an ill-fitting polyester suit, this identity itched, and I yearned to wear something more comfortable.

First Time Parents Tips: Essential Product List For Infant Baby! (New Dad Mom Guide)

Philosophy has been an invaluable part of my process of self-creation. It helped me learn and accept who I was, but it also gave me tools I needed to change the itchy suit for something more fitting. One of the first thinkers who inspired this process was Hannah Arendt. When I first learned about her understanding of freedom, I immediately recognized myself in her thoughts. For Arendt, freedom means the capacity for a new beginning.

It is realized in the human capability for action, a feature all new human beings are endowed with. Children are something radically new, a true embodiment of freedom and a guide to structuring our social world. I realized that my longing for the New World was a form of longing for a new self. Once I settled in the place of perpetual novelty, New York City, I had another beginning to deal with: a child of my own.

I thought of Hannah Arendt a lot during those sleepless nights, as my daughter was adjusting to life outside the womb. If she is a radical novelty in this world, I remember asking myself, how can I help her preserve that novelty and not suppress her uniqueness? How can I raise this tiny new being and let her be herself and not somebody else?

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What could I do to raise my daughter as an original, and not merely a copy of me, my background or the cultural expectations of the time and place of her birth? The sleepless nights were productive in more ways than one. First, I realized that Arendt was right: Children are radically new and must be treated as such.

Will her identity confirm to my expectations? I have no right to expect that. Gay conversion therapies and estranged relationships between transgender children and their parents are the perfect example of parental expectations gone off the rails. Meghan Regan-Loomis. Anxiety and Panic Attacks, You're not Alone.

A Ronk. The New Dad's Survival Guide. Scott Mactavish. Exploiting My Baby. Teresa Strasser. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More. My Formerly Hot Life. Stephanie Dolgoff. Bro Code for Parents. Barney Stinson. Fun Facts About Babies. Richard Torregrossa. Pacify Me. Chris Mancini. Between a Rock and a Hot Place. Tracey Jackson.


52 Series: Tips for New Parents

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