The Baby Blues

January 22, 2009
I called my grandmother on MLK holiday. Seems my ears were burning as her and my aunt were just talking about me she says. They wanted to know if my high school band was in the parade:) After we chat, my aunt gets on the phone, who I share a special bond with as we graduated the same year, me from high school, her from college for her bachelor's degree in her mid-50s. Loves it!

After small talk I ask her how everyone is doing, she hits me with, "well, we've got some sad news."

I brace myself for a sickness or death or family drama. This family has had it's share, including the crazy story of the minister announcing in church my uncle had been suspended from the deacon board for smoking "refa" by the baptismal pool, but I digress . . .

"Tyreika is pregnant," she says quietly

I sigh. Ohh. that news. I pretend it is new to me, put my 9 year-old sister is the grapevine and always knows all the family news first, including stuff my aunt didn't mention. Tyreika is pregnant. Not the greatest timing for my little cousin who graduated high school last year and after being dropped off at college on Friday, had her "Pa Pa," the grandfather who raised her along with my aunt, her grandmother, pick her up by that Wednesday.

Not the best new development to make a third generation of young moms following her mom and grandmom (I don't use the term, out of wedlock, one of my friends said it the other night and unintentionally stepped on a feminist time bomb for me . . ).

But a baby being sad news? naww. I realized the small-town thinking had now made a prison for my aunt who was now embarrassed after raising this granddaughter as her own child and spoiling her to pieces. It took me a second to process the news just because this was the same girl I remember holding when she was three years old. But we grow up and its more important she know we have her back, and remind her this isnt the end of her life, but the beginning of a new one and she can still reach for her dreams, just put in more work. But walking around acting like someone died isn't helping anybody. As a young women I feel for my little cousin, and have that sobering moment of that could have been me - and was the aunt Im talking to who had a baby in her 20s, rumor has it with a man she didn't know was married. So I know it hurts them to see the next generation make the same mistakes.

But they have to get over feelings of discomfort that their baby girl is having sex, and deal with helping her mentally prepare for the change. But of course I say none of this and just give the appropriate "uhh hmm" and sigh.

And just as quickly she asks if I have found a special young man. I sigh and laugh and skirt the question. When what I wanted to say was, "Babies are blessings."


  1. la negrita said...:

    This issue is something I feel very strongly about and to be honest, I'm extremely judgmental when it comes to children out of wedlock. Funny, because I was born out of wedlock to a teen mother. And I really have no desire to get married. I do, however, desire to see Black people rise above this single motherhood epidemic...post haste, if we can.

    I'm not very fond of the "babies are blessings" phrase because people really only use it in a bad situation. If someone does things the "right" way, there is excitement. No "babies are a blessing" because that's a given. But for those "ut oh" situations, it's used to comfort.

    I agree that there is nothing you can do but be supportive (or not) once the mother decides to have the child. But the sense of disappointment will remain for a while. I am learning not to beat myself up over my views or feelings. I feel the way I feel. Most of the baby showers I've attended over the past two years have been to college friends who've had the "ut oh." I struggle really hard to smile and be there for them, but who am I kidding? Everything I'm feeling is written on my face. It just pains me to see so much potential slip away. Maybe it's just those in my circle--and perhaps it's just too early to tell--but very few are able to attack their goals the way they were before becoming pregnant because yes, it IS hard. Very hard. The one who I saw rising above it all was killed in a car crash. God rest her lovely soul.

    Anywho, I can write my own blog post about this. Black folk always manage to make a way where there is none. But we need to teach our daughters better. Single motherhood, IMHO, is not acceptable. A child deserves to be raised in a home with two loving parents. Another reason why I love the Obamas. We as a people need to be reminded of the Black family unit. Our children need to see it--especially those who grew up without--because while there may not be a "right" or "wrong" way, there is definitely a better one.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Good write up roomie and I also feel the above comment. BUT "my uncle had been suspended from the deacon board for smoking "refa" by the baptismal pool, but I digress . . ."

    I don't know if you intended that to be funny... But I am ROLLLIN at that! Charanna and I might have to borrow that one for sketch comedy. I'll give you a credit for it ;-)

  1. Arlice Nichole said...:

    Coming from a family full of women, I've witnessed this seen more than a few times. Though I did get married while I was still in college, I did not plan on having children until I was done with school. That plan didn't work out and I did in fact get pregnant. However, I refused to act like having a baby without a degree would end my life. I did end up earning my degree and not dropping out like many said would happen with a new baby. Tell your cousin she can do anything she put her mind to. Even with a baby. She's just got to mean it.

  1. Tara said...:

    Being a young mom myself, I know firsthand the disappoint that comes with along with the big announcement that a baby is on the way. It is quite honestly, the worst feeling in the world.

    I do think babies need both parents, and unfortunately that doesn't happen nearly as often as it should.

    I always tell people, "Don't date/sleep with anyone you wouldn't marry." If you honestly know that this is just a casual thing and he's not husband material, then you've got to stay vertical! LOL.

    Tell your cousin she will be okay, just as long as she knows what is most important!