Desire for Protection
What are things you do to stay safe?
In a world full of so many dangers, we try hard to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. We teach children to wash their hands and to look both ways before crossing the street. Loving parents and guardians go to every measure to protect their children from diseases. We receive vaccinations for illnesses like measles and the flu to protect ourselves.
Thetis Dipping the Infant Achilles into the River Styx
What length will a mother go to protest her children?
In this scene from Greek mythology, Thetis submerges her son into the sea of the underworld to protect him from harm. Despite this mother’s efforts to grant her son immortality, he died young in battle. When caregivers have their babies vaccinated, they are acting like the mother in this painting and trying their best to protect their children from the dangers of the world.
Painting by Peter Paul Rubens, 1630-1635
"...I tended to believe that confidence was less important than the kind of trust that transcends the self. Even now, years after my son's birth, I remain interested in the precise meaning of trust, particularly in legal and financial terms. A trust-- in the sense of a valuable asset placed in the care of someone to whom it does not ultimately belong-- captures, more or less, my understanding of what it is to have a child."
-Eula Biss, On Immunity: An Inoculation
A Nurse Practitioner and Her Daughter
During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents faced many challenges while caring for their children.
Healthcare workers faced an extra burden, as they were at a higher risk to become infected themselves and bring germs home to their families. Many faced hard choices, like how much information to share and whether to vaccinate their children. Some parents, like the mother in this image, sent their children away to live with relatives.
Photography by Salwan Georges for The Washington Post