As a mother who is an immigrant, I have many thoughts about life. I feel blessed to be able to raise my two-and-a-half-year-old son. Living in Germany, the US, and Nigeria has had a significant impact on my life, and I often wonder how my son's experiences will differ from mine. Like any parent, I have concerns, but I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure that he has a wonderful life.
In this blog post, I will share the five questions that keep me up at night as I raise my son. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
What will his cultural identity be?
The question of who you are as an immigrant is always top of mind. Most of us have lived in multiple countries and had experiences that have influenced who we are today. Being born in Germany, moving to Nigeria, then going back to Germany, to now living in the US, my cultural identity has evolved over time. Our son was born in the US to a German-Nigerian mother and Nigerian-American Father. I really wonder what aspects of our culture he would take as his own.
How will he navigate being black in the US?
Due to my job as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Manager, I am fully aware that raising a black son in the US comes with some challenges. I was pregnant in 2020 when the US went through the most recent racial awakening. It felt heavy to bring a son into a world where he would have to learn to navigate situations based on the color of his skin or heritage. Recently, I concluded that I can't change the world. However, I can raise my son to be fully confident in his skin and equip him with the tools he can use when faced with any challenging situations.
Will our son have equitable access to opportunities?
Living in Germany and the US, I have always fought to get access to opportunities like jobs, financial independence, housing, and much more. There is always a question in my mind about how we can set our son up to succeed and ensure he has access to everything he needs. I am focusing on ensuring our son knows he deserves the same opportunities as everyone else.
How will he build lasting bonds with family and develop his community?
My husband and I were fortunate to spend our childhoods in Nigeria surrounded by extended families. We are raising our son in a city where none of our family members live. Due to the pandemic, he has met some of our family members once and has yet to have the opportunity to meet his grandparents. We never imagined raising our son so far away from family. It is our responsibility to pass on the values of our community and create one that gives him as much as we had growing up. Beyond that, it is up to him to craft his community.
How will our son continue to be his awesome self?
At only two and a half years old, our son has a great heart and personality. I look forward to him living his life to the fullest and giving his gifts to the world. The best times I have had as an immigrant have been those times when I was able to be my authentic self. Bringing my whole self to the space that I occupy has been a highlight of my journey. I am excited to continue to watch him grow into an incredible man.
One thing became clear as I wrote this blog post. I am very hopeful and excited to see how our son's life will be. Seeing him be his awesome self, chase his goals, discover his identity, and build his community will fill my heart with so much joy. I am confident that he will overcome the challenges and live a great life, just like I have done in 22 years of being an immigrant.