Shaming babymamas doesn't just happen by folks discriminating explicitly against us. It doesn't just look like statistics & direct ignorant, Facebook comments. It happens in smaller ways. It happens in ways of not happenings: where single folks don't create conscious spaces for children, & therefore, babymamas.
Today (3/16/15) my daughter asked me, “What do I need to do if I don't want to have a baby?” I was a little confused by the question bc I wasn't sure how involved I should get with my answer.
My response was, “You just don't have it.”
She looked at me confused. What do you mean, her face asked.
I said, “When I was pregnant with you, I made a choice on whether I wanted to keep you or not. I decided to keep you.”
She then smiled & hugged me & said that she did not want to have a baby bc it would hurt.
She is right. It does hurt. & I am not referencing the pain of labor. When folks deliberately & consistently don't make considerations for Zi, it shows the lack of community. It assumes that it is my sole responsibility to figure out childcare. Which translates into, you don't give a fuck about my motherhood, so you don't give a fuck about me or the Earth.
Yes, it is extreme. But it is also real. My feelings.
Nowadays folks aren't just tripping on whether or not you are a virgin.
They trip off of your desire to have babies & to move on from those partnerships bc the assumption is that Zi should be taken care of by her biological parents at all times, or that it is solely my responsibility.
I don’t disagree with neither of those statements. Nor can I agree with them bc those statements are not my reality, nor do I think it is real or reasonable for me. As a black person from the hood, who is also in conversation about community, I see my role much larger than being Zi’s mom. Like how I see your role, much larger than being a non parent.
I get that some folks do not want to have children & that’s cool. However, that doesn’t mean that as activists, people who push for stronger community, for the end of institutional racial discrimination, police brutality, safer communities, & empowering relevant schools, that you don’t have a role in the life of my daughter & all the other children in your world.
This lack of parental awareness is lonely. It perpetuates this idea that children are just for parents & people who work with them.
It is unjust to deny us entry into your circles bc I am a mama, the most universal kind of love, the love that brought you physical here, the love that lets you stay.
I can’t say I am surprised. If we look at the way the Earth is shifting from global warming; the way California’s heavens hasn't cried enough; the way we keep taking of her waters; the Earth becoming numb or delayed in the seasons. She is adjusting to the cold realities of your heart.
Extreme, I know. But, it doesn't make it less real or feel less true.
I haven’t seen many take the Earth's considerations into their relationship to small people, women, & the mamas in the hood.
I am not hurt per se. I am ironically understanding of it all. I see the ways in which I participated in her exploitation: buying bottled water, throwing recyclable materials in the trash, or purchasing chicken from factory farms, to name a few.
I have too limited the Earth over convenience, ignorance, & the lack of imagination.
I've become numb, too, like the Earth.
It's a metaphor to how mothers are treated, especially black & brown mothers, babymamas.
Birthing a child has taught me how lonely the world is, how isolating it could be. As if the only community is immediate family, but I digress...
The work in poverty with babymamas, in particular, is crucial. If we really care about the future generations of the hood, of keeping Oakland black & accessible, it is important for the sake of black love & our children that we band together- parents and non-parents alike.
We are all in this together. Right now, a lot of us are just living side by side. But if your vision is for the world to evolve your, ours, & their (our children's) birth story, the question is, when we deny children & their mamas are we healing & evolving the narrative between black women, black mothers & patriarchy, white supremacy, & capitalism? Are we clearing those intersections? Or are we unconsciously participating in this set up that our parents, their children, & their children keep falling prey to.
The next time you go out for a drink or watch an adult movie, ask yourself, is there something more pressing I could do with my time & my dollar? Or a more specific questions, "When was the last time juju went out to dance?"
The answer is, months ago. Why? Because my daughter wasn't invited & I am not dropping my daughter ANYWHERE for the sake of a good twerk. I don't always want to party with my kid. But, most days I do.
In African traditions, once a child is born, they are no longer yours. They belong to the village. My child belongs to you as well. So, throw a party, we can all dance together too... Don't worry, Zi is sex positive, just don't try to fuck her, or my community WILL show up to see me beat you down. We do stick together too.
I made this little rant video. I was sassy & I thought you should know that I am tired of my community being undercover douche bags. I love you. Change your ways. <3