By Heather O.
Let me just start by saying that I am overwhelmed with what has happened down in New Orleans. I have spent the last week or so very distraught, trying to figure out what to do, how to help. Come to find out that two men in the ward took off for Housten and the Astrodome. They just, took off. I said to one man’s wife, “Hey, I want to do that! How did they find out about doing that?” She told me how they had managed that, and then she looked at me and said, “You can’t do that, Heather. You have a kid. What are you going to do, take him with you? Or leave him for 2 weeks with somebody else? Just stay where you are, you’re fine. Donate some money.”
We have donated some money, of course, but her words struck me. You can’t do that. You have a kid. In so many ways, she’s right. Am I supposed to take my child into a potential dangerous situation, and deliberately put him at risk while helping others? Should I burden somebody else with his care while I act the hero to assuage my conscience about not doing more? And the people who went were men, one who has no children, and one who is a student and could leave his children with his stay at home wife.
“You can’t do that. You have a kid.” In Martha Beck’s book “Expecting Adam” (and please, let’s not open up this thread to comments about Martha Beck. I just want to say what part I liked in her book and move on), she talks about one experience she had when there was a fire in her apartment building. She was pregnant and had a toddler at the time, and she said she finally understood why there were so many references to the woes of women and children during war in the scriptures. A single woman can run, hid, fight. A pregnant woman, or a woman with a toddler in dire circumstances is, quite frankly, screwed.
I’m trying to find circumstances in which the answer is “Sure you can do that, even if you have a kid.” In a situation like this, though, those are harder to come by. I just hope that I can find something, and I say godspeed to those who are able to leave their children, (i.e, the MEN) to help those people who need it so desperately, because I know there are women down there who are also saying “I can’t do it. I have a kid.”
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