Our personal Baby-exit could happen any day now. Hopefully, it will be easier and less frantic than the Brexit. It might help that there is little room to negotiate; the baby is now the only one with decision power. And he has a few more weeks to make his entrance into the world.
Obviously, having a baby is not something that you can just organise or make happen yourself. But at the same time, not using contraceptives is a conscious choice for most people, as it was for us. Before, I was never able to understand people who made this choice. I just didn’t have the courage.
How can you justify exposing someone who does not even exist yet to a ‘civilization’ that delivers a new technical breakthrough every day, but leaves desperate refugees to drown in the Mediterranean? Even worse, our child will contribute to all these problems, simply by sharing in our prosperity. God forbid, he might buy a car! He might blissfully watch nature documentaries on his Samsung Galaxy S30, while the last polar bear slowly crashes through the ice.
I can go on listing everything that is wrong with the world. At the same time, I know that when we look our child in the eye, we will see everything that is good about the world. Dangling between hope and fear, that is how everyone begins their life.
I recently came across a poem that beautifully expresses this hope. Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote it in 1877. The sun that rises every day, a baby who is being born: “There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.” U2 joins in with their song ‘Yahweh’.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.