One of the most difficult discussions when it comes to the OOW rate among black women is acknowledging that it is a problem. Mainly because black women often erroneously draw the conclusion that to call OOW births a problem or mistake means that the child is a problem or mistake.
This is why every related conversation, such as “No Wedding, No Womb”, is often attacked by either OOW children or the mothers of OOW children.
It’s often clear to see that at the heart of the attacks is usually personal shame and guilt or a sense of/fear of rejection.
If black women were to realize that no OOW child is a mistake, no matter what circumstances led to their birth, perhaps this can allow for honest proactive dialogue.
An unintended pregnancy can be the result of a mistake (the condom broke or was removed without knowledge, you had sex while intoxicated, etc.) or naiveity (thinking that becoming pregnant will save a marriage or entice a man to marry/love you). However, once a child is born no matter what is said by whom, the child is not a mistake. It is simply impossible.
Where African American women are concerned, they live in a country where abortion is legal. Even if local politics dictate that it be made hard to get morning after pills or operate an abortion clinic, there are ways to terminate a pregnancy if one really wants to. Truth be told, these methods were available long before abortion was legalized.
If a woman feels morally obligated to go through with the pregnancy, she still has the option to give the child up for adoption or perhaps place the child in the care of relatives. Or it is simply within a woman’s power to abandon a child however she wants to if she doesn’t want that child.
Or a woman decides to keep the infant and raise it.
Whether a child is kept by the mother or abandoned, it is irrelevant; a series of decisions were made that brought that child into existence.
Once a conscious effort has been made that allows one to be born and exist, they cannot be a mistake.
Since we accept that children are born on purpose, we can move on to why this logic is in fact a red herring. Namely, adults attempt to use OOW infants and children as a mask for their own thoughts and feelings about their life and experiences.
Black women who have no father or father figures experience life differently than those black women who were raised in a two parent home. Black girls who grew up in a two parent home who had a questionable and abusive relationship with their father or father figure will also have a different perspective than black girls who did not.
Therefore, it is illogical to expect other people to live their lives according to your experiences.
– A mother of an OOW child should not expect schools to cancel Daddy/Daughter dances because she resents not having a father in her child’s life that can take her to these type of events.
– A woman who was raised by a single mother and herself became a single mother should not encourage her young daughter to have a child she isn’t financially and emotionally prepared to take care of just because she herself did and, “I turned out alright”.
You cannot rationally expect the world to adjust itself downward towards the less optimal reality of being a black single mother with no money or connections. Making life harder on one’s self goes against human survival instincts. In addition, making decisions that move one up socially is more logically sound than encouraging your children to do the opposite. A mother who encourages her daughters to become single unwed mothers, especially when they know the daughters lack the finances, emotional wellbeing and mental health to be able to take care of any children is actively HANDICAPPING their children.
If you are encouraging your daughters to make these decisions to validate your own life choices or to hide your own personal guilt and shame, you are acting against their best interests and that is why you should be ashamed.
Instead of going through life thinking of every interaction as centered on rejection, center them instead on “opportunity”. For instance, rather than think of your child as abandoned by the father, think of this as an opportunity to actively seek the sort of father or father figure you’d want in your child’s life. After all, a child has no control over who his or her family is, but as the mother, you control who you allow in that child’s life. You have the opportunity to show this child that they can choose positive sources of love and reject dysfunctional relationships.
As for being an OOW child, your life is an opportunity to live it however you will:
At the same time, please be aware that irrational jealousy can take hold of the women closest to you! You may be resented for recognizing this opportunity and acting on it. The same goes for the mother of OOW children. Opportunities breed resentment in those who do not have them or are afraid to act on them.
The issues that such persons have are not your problem.
You must recognize that life isn’t about being limited by or refusing to learn from mistakes. It also means being accountable for yourself and your decisions. This sort of thinking can allow black women to stop talking in circles about whether or not a child is a mistake and move on in a productive fashion.
Once again, NO CHILD IS A MISTAKE! Continuing to allow meaningless derailment to get in the way of making optimal life choices for yourself and or your offspring is a mistake. One that can be extremely costly!