Monday, November 15, 2010

"I don't need a man to have a baby"

Today was a good day at work.

I find that I like my team more when I have the opportunity to debate with them, and listen to their many different viewpoints on different subjects, usually about relationships and sex. (We are split almost evenly between the sexes.) This is the first time that I have ever been on a team that has consisted of so many different variables: different ages (18-24), different races, religious beliefs/practices, different hometowns, etc.

Today, one of my team's members was talking about a friend who said that she can't wait to have a baby, and that she just wants to go get inseminated; that she doesn't want to get married. I was all on board with the wanting to have a baby (hey, I have some strong maternal urgings myself, though I am in NO rush to have a baby anytime soon, especially with my situation), but when my team member brought up the not wanting to get married, part of me frowned. Part of me frowned even harder when another female team member raised her hand in the air in agreement, stating that she also didn't want to get married.

I've been pondering off and on why that frown inside of me happened. It's not enough that we are told that you're supposed to grow up, get married, and have children. I'm wise enough to know that everything that is preached as should-be-practice isn't necessarily correct. So, my latching on to the ideal of the nuclear family isn't because I've been told that's what's "right" my entire life, at least, I don't think that's why.

I am the product of a nuclear family. Growing up, I had my mother and my father. Mom was the disciplinarian, and she was the one whose word was usually the final one. She was the one who risked my twelve year old angst and pulled me out of my black middle school and drove me across town every day to the whiter middle school so I could get an education worthy of my innate intellect when my father was more worried about my anger over being forced to leave my friends. (I've now caught up with most of them on Facebook.) Mom was the one who wouldn't let me get my nails done until I was 14, the one who wouldn't let me get my second earlobe piercing until I was 15. Mom always told me that she wasn't my friend, she was my mom. And because she took this stance in my life, frequently taking the risk of hurting my very sensitive feelings with her tough love, she is, now, my friend as well as my mother, and I value her opinion and want her approval. I love her beyond comprehension.

But what about my dad? His role can't be trivialized or overlooked. Yes, my father was more of the softy in my life. Despite his towering stature, and infamous attitude, when I look back over my childhood, that attitude was more frequently displayed toward things that caused me strife, rather than actually at me. My dad was the one who would take me swimming all day at the pool every summer, the one who would take me on drives just because. Daddy was the one who took me to the mall on my birthday when I was five, and daddy is the one who listened to my rants and raves via phone calls to-and-from class when I was nineteen. My dad would break himself to get me the Barbie doll I wanted, and to make sure I had extra money when I wanted to go to the mall. My dad is the one who gave up his own vehicle to make sure that I had a car right before I graduated from high school. My dad frequently babied me, and didn't want to risk making me angry, though usually his lack of risk made me even angrier. It is from him that I learned what debating was, because he gave me the floor to speak my mind, even when it was inappropriate for my age and position as his child. Even today, my dad would probably stick his leg through a campfire to make sure I had enough money to put gas in my car.

I think these are the reasons why I internally (and probably externally) frowned when my team member quickly said she didn't want to get married, and wouldn't mind having a baby with no father.

Once upon a time, when I was on the outs with him (which happened more often than it seems it did... in memory, the bad things eventually lose their ability to remain in your conscious, if you allow them to fly free), I felt like this. Rebelling against the system set up eons before me, I decided that I wasn't quite sure whether I wanted to get married. It just seemed so illogical, as I was getting older, and starting to see my parents' faults and their frustrations with one another, and it seemed so unsafe in a life that clearly afforded me no romantic guarantees or longstanding joys.

I, like the young lady today, would have raised my hand in agreement that maybe, just maybe having a baby by myself would be the best option. I pondered that for a moment. You know, on some fly pixie-cut Halle Berry ish. I could meet me a fine, fine man, and we could mutually decide that we liked each other enough, and we could get pregnant, and then we could have a kid, but be unattached to one another. Celebrities from here to the other side of the Pacific are doing it.

I don't quite know what happened to that rebellious emotion, but it dissipated into more centered thinking. As him and I got our ish together (like always, humans are such creatures of habit), I fell more and more into him, and I thought about how nice it must be to be with someone, and to declare your lives to each other, and to have a baby with that person.

And, back we are to where I started. What precisely makes me frown about the idea of a young lady deciding that she just wants to have a baby with no attachment? Well, for starters, it's selfish. And sure, someone could argue that the idea of deciding to have a baby is inherently selfish, since a child never asks to be conceived, but we conceive them out of our own desires/actions, but I think deciding to have a baby without a partner is selfish. What if I'd had only my mom or only my dad because one of them decided that they wanted to do it alone? Regardless of the reasons why, if I had only had one of them growing up, I would not be the person I am today. That does not mean that I would be bad, by any means (who knows what I would have been like?), it simply means that the things I gained from both of them, I wouldn't necessarily have, because I would have only been able to learn from one of them.

I also am (clearly) not sure how I feel about this generation deciding to flip what has (seemed to have) been working all.these.years. Now, instead of a culture of impassioned, empowered, single parents, we seem to have developed a culture of unaccountable baby mamas and baby daddies.*

I myself have said that marriage is simply a matter of legality, and that you can be with someone without necessarily taking that step, but I think that was a bunch of bullshit I said when my heart was hurting and longing, much like how when you talk to your friend, she tells you how done she is with so-and-so, and then she tells you she has to go, because he's on the other line. (I know. I've done it.)

All I know is that I'm not as free of the system as I thought. I want to get married. I want to be someone's wife. I want to be someone's mother, who has a healthy, consistent relationship with my children's father. I want to be able to interact with my children's father as my husband, not as the man I used to date, or the guy I used to fuck, etc. I want my kids to grow up in my house seeing their mother and their father, and I want my kids to go to sleep at night knowing that their mother and their father are both in the house.**

And don't get me wrong--if I were a lesbian, I would still want my kids to go to sleep knowing both of their mothers are in the house with them. There's just something about two parents over one.

And maybe that's just because I was blessed enough to have my mom and my dad. But I do know that my kids will have the same, God be it so.

*--that is a generalization; I definitely know people who are not married, but have children who seem to be on their grind and taking care of their family, and who aren't out there all loose and ish.
**--there's something indescribable about knowing both my mom and dad are in the house at the same time. I still don't sleep the same if one of my parents are at work. When both of them are there, I feel complete.


Miss Avanti J said...

I really enjoyed this post and I will probably write too much about why.

As a single mother, when I got pregnant, I approached the situation as not wanting to become married at the time, but wanting to be in a committed relationship with my son's father and raise him together, ring or not. As the situation progressed and we split up before Aydin's birth, I never once thought that doing it on my own was a better situation. i felt that declaring "My son doesn't need his father" would be selfish and foolish.

It's been a little over two years now, and while my ex and I have gotten together and broken up more times then I can count, we both maintain that it would have been better to have been fully committed from the beginning, once again ring or not. Having a baby by yourself should never enter a females mind as the best option, unless there is abuse or some other drastic malfunction with the man that warrants complete and utter separation.

A few months ago I got peeved by a female who sent me a message saying she was not looking forward to being a single mother and alone. I was taken aback by her statement as the rest of her message took that stance of she was better of alone. Umm excuse me, but is your child better off alone?

Making the decision to have a child means that you are going to have attachment, whether good or bad, so trying to purposefully eliminate that in my eyes is down right wrong. If that is the woman's goal, maybe they should rethink their decision on motherhood.

I like to say that I am not single, but unwed, because both Aydin's dad and I made the decision that even if we decide to forgo any romantic relationship, OUR child will always know the love and support of both parents, both separately and together. We make it a point to show that regardless we are still a family. I want to be married one day, and who that is to, only the divine knows, but having that 24/7 or at least close to it as possible support from both his mother and father is extremely important to Aydin's well being.

I was reading in NWOS how the word baby mama, baby daddy shows a lack of connection or support for one another and I wholeheartedly agree. I will always say Aydin's father, because while our situation is not the societal ideal, we have made those steps to be a proactive unit for our child. Deciding beforehand for your child that you are not even trying to provide that cohesive family is a recipe for disaster and like you said overall selfish.

It's kind of disturbing that someone would even say that. I think your post is going to make me write one too.

Miss Malorie said...

Centered writing could never be "too much" :)

I appreciate your commentary, and your viewpoints, especially considering that you have Aydin, and that you are making sure that he knows that he has the support of both his mom and his dad.

I absolutely detest the term "baby momma/daddy" and I have always said that I will NEVER be called that, even if I was to find myself unmarried and with child. I just think the term sounds degrading, and rather cheap. I would rather be someone's mother than a baby momma. (Sorry, Fantasia.)

Why wouldn't you want your child to have a familial unit? Just because you're trying to avoid heartbreak by attempting to have a child sans attachment to the father? Like you said, there's inevitably going to be attachment, so why would anyone even set themselves up for that, is beyond me.

I'm glad that I've experienced this line of thinking, so I can better understand where it comes from. For me, I was hurting, deeply in love with a man whom I considered (and still do) marriage material. Because of this hurt, I decided that it would be stupid to want to get married (and thus run the risk of further hurt), and that since I knew having kids was something I absolutely want to do, that it would be better for my heart to go it alone.

Selfish, selfish, selfish. To cause inevitable pain and confusion on the behalf of a future child, in order to try and save myself from the inevitable pain and confusion that comes from being involved with, or caring for, another human being.

Making sure I provide a cohesive familial unit for my future kids (Lord willing) is up on my top 5 life priorities.

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