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I can think of a lot of reasons not to bring a child into this world. War. Global warming. The price of college. The cost of health care. The growing income disparity between wealthy and poor. The Real Housewives.

As a kid, I'd figured most of these problems would be solved by the time I had my own children.

But biological clocks tick faster than geopolitical transformation, so we're doing it anyway.

My belly has now expanded well past the point where strangers might wonder if I'm just a bit chubby. And it is the kindness of many of these strangers that reaffirms for me why it still makes sense to have a child.

The other day, while I was waiting in line at a public restroom, the woman in front of me insisted that I go ahead of her. So did every other woman in line. "I remember how it was," the first woman said.


There's a man at the Trader Joe's near my house -- a customer, who has some sort of intellectual disability. Every time he sees me, he grins and says, "Congratulations! Drink more water! But you already know that!"

I've been approached by panhandlers who -- instead of soliciting money -- have glanced at my stomach, asked "Girl or boy?" then wished me a safe birth and a healthy baby.

At the swimming pool, people congratulate me for still swimming. At the gym, people congratulate me for still going to the gym. Little kids offer me candy.

And when random people put their hands, unsolicited, on my stomach, I actually like it. I'd always imagined such touch would feel like an invasion of personal space. Instead, I take those gestures as the blessings I believe they're intended to be.

I think people look at this big, round stomach and see possibility. And when I see their kindness and generosity, I start to see possibility, too. In them. In myself. In everyone, really. Yes, the world is a mess. But I can't wait to show it to my daughter.

With a Perspective, I'm Jocelyn Wiener.

Jocelyn Wiener is a freelance journalist living in Oakland.