This I Believe

Maria Louise Hilson - Red Hook, New York
Entered on September 10, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.


One day my son out of the blue asked, “Mom, what’s something you believe in every part of your being, like even your cells, that you don’t doubt at all?” He was sixteen and very serious.

Into my mind came the memory of the first morning of his existence. I was tired, weak from loss of blood, and hurt in all the places childbirth makes a woman’s body hurt. But that morning as I held him in my arms for the first time, I knew with absolute certainty that he would live to see a flowering of humanity on Earth the likes of which humans had never seen before.

I shared this memory with him in answer to his question. He responded with, “No, Mom, really, what you believe, not just what you hope will happen because, you know, you love me.”

“That is what I believe,” I said. “It makes no rational sense, but you asked me what did I believe deep in my cells. And that’s it, what I knew the morning you were born. Human beings will create a new way of living on the planet with each other in your lifetime, and it will be beautiful and amaze us all.”

“But how can you believe this, Mom? I mean,” he said, “the evidence doesn’t exactly support you.”

How can I believe it? Is it because, as a mother, I cannot bear to believe otherwise?

Or is it not me that believes, but my cells, that know what birthing demands, what it takes to bring the new into the world? It hurts to give birth. Why should giving birth to a new world be any different? It takes courage to carry a new life to term, knowing that one must commit years of caring for this new life once it is born. Carrying fully to term a new way of being alive on Earth with each other takes courage, commitment, and caring over the long term, too.

When I gave birth to my son, I hurt in ways I had never hurt before. And that’s how I am hurting now about what is happening in my country. There is a pain in my American heart I have never had before.

But I hold to the wisdom of my cells, or they hold me to them, I don’t know. But I do know what giving birth takes, and that’s why I believe that the pain of these times is not evidence against me, but evidence that we are birthing a new world, now, in my lifetime.

I believe there will come a morning when I may be very weak and tired as I was the morning my son was born, but there will come a morning when I will see it, the new world we are birthing now, and look at its beautiful face and be amazed.