September 11, 2001, began as a beautifully warm, sunny, and cloudless morning. I remember precisely how vividly blue the sky was. I was three months pregnant with my oldest daughter, Nyah, and headed into Manhattan to my fashion job. As I disembarked the train and prepared to grab breakfast, I heard someone yell that the World Trade Center had been hit by an airplane. Passengers began running toward our offices to find out what was happening.
Pandemonium ensued. Everyone from the office huddled in the kitchen and watched as the towers crumbled on a small television. I almost passed out, and my coworker and close friend Carol grabbed me, sat me down, and gave me water.
She was one of a few coworkers that knew of my condition.
You see, there had been no communication that morning with my then-sister-in-law, who worked in Tower 1. My brother was panicked, so I had been trying to calm him down moments before the first tower fell. Many of the mobile carriers were out of commission, so only landlines were functioning. Thankfully, she was running late for work that morning, and her train had been rerouted since the first tower was hit before 9 am. We heard from her later that morning and were relieved from our anxiety about her safety. Unfortunately, everyone in her office at the time perished.
I'm a born and bred New Yorker who grew up in lower Manhattan. The view from my bedroom window offered a straight, beautiful view of those two gleaming towers that once lit up our skyline. Suddenly, our skyline—and our lives—had been changed forever.
For the moms that were pregnant and the ones that gave birth that day, September 11 represented something more than the profound loss that we felt. Many lost family members and friends, and we mourned as a nation and as a globe. As mothers, however, we were bringing new life into the world, which we wanted to celebrate and enjoy.
Can you imagine having your birthday associated with one of the most tragic and devastating events in recent history? So many grieved through losing a loved one that day, and September 11 will always represent a day of mourning and sorrow. But for moms that gave birth and were pregnant, like me, making sure that we gave safe to healthy babies after that tragedy was paramount.
I had to train myself during the days and months that followed to turn off the news and stop taking in current events day by day as they searched through the rubble for survivors. I was becoming depressed, sad, and fearful, and it was unhealthy for my daughter in utero and me.
I want those September 11 babies to know that we are so happy you were born and that you're here. You gave your families hope. Your birth became a reason to celebrate welcoming new life while processing the realization of so much death.
While we will always be mournful on that day, I am also thankful that I was pregnant with Nyah during that time. Knowing that I had her in my womb made me more aware of my purpose. Nyah is now 19 and an aspiring Marine Biologist with a beautiful heart and a free spirit. She is thoughtful and kind and loves animals and children. I know she will affect the world through positive change, though I carried her during a period of heartache.