I watched from a hospital bed as the Twin Towers fell, with a fetal monitor attached to my round belly. Once it was determined that I was not, in fact, experiencing early labor, I tore the transducers from my skin and let the nurse know that I was going home, where my two toddlers were watching Barney with their Grandma.
A few weeks later, those kiddos and I were at a playground in town. Because life goes on.
"I can't believe you're actually bringing a child into this world," another playground mom said, noticing my obvious state of pregnancy.
This was a long time ago, but as far as I can remember, my response was "Hmm."
As in: Hmm, I'm 7 months pregnant. Do you have any advice as to what I might do at this point?
Or: Hmm, should I give birth and send the baby off to live in a different, less violent world?
I think of this conversation often these days, because really, why would someone willingly bring a child into this world? I mean, what a freaking mess.
We have people living among us who believe that those of other ethnicities don't belong here in America. We have people without homes, food, and basic health care. And we have CEOs earning $10 million a year who stare straight ahead as they walk past them at lunchtime every day.
We're broken. We're on edge. Read the comments section below just about anything online (other than kitten videos) and you'd think the year was 1861.
We're a few stupid remarks away from nuclear war. Crazy people are running the world. Even as a news junkie, I'm afraid to turn on the news sometimes because I know that overnight something terrible happened. Every. Single. Day.
So why would someone choose to willingly bring new life into a world that's this unstable, angry, and dangerous?
The obvious answer is that maybe that pregnant woman you saw at Stop & Shop is carrying the next world peacemaker. Or the next brilliant scientist who will cure cancer and Alzheimer's Disease.
But I don't think we have to wait that long for someone to come along and make everything better. Those people are already here.
For every angry white guy who wants to make America whiter and angrier, there are thousands of others fighting every day for social justice and equality.
For every elected leader trying to show how much of a big tough guy he is by threatening other countries with missiles, hundreds of other elected officials are doing what we elected them to do: Represent us.
For every horrible person chaining dogs to signs in highway medians, thousands of heroes take these dogs into their homes, give them everything they need and deserve, and find them families to love them forever.
For every person who uses religion to discriminate against others, millions more use religion to help communities and those in need.
For every billionaire televangelist closing his mega-church's doors to those displaced by Hurricane Harvey, there are guys like "Mattress Mack," a Houston furniture store owner letting folks stay in his stores, and first responders and regular people rescuing people from rooftops.
It's hard to convince ourselves — no less our children — that the good people outnumber the bad ones. But it's true. We don't need to wait another 20 year for the next Gandhi because he's already here. Go ahead and bring new life into this crazy world, because we've got your back.
Teresa M. Pelham is a Farmington-based writer. She is the author of three children's books, and frequently visits schools with her therapy dog to share her message about animal rescue. Contact Teresa at firstname.lastname@example.org.