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The Baby Mama Is A Mother Too
(For more details on the origin of these terms, see Where Do "Baby Daddies" Come From? by Julia Turner.)
Before you take offense at the usage of a grammatically incorrect term, know that “baby mama” can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). In 1966, "baby mother" first appeared in the Jamaican newspaper. Hip-hop lyrics used “baby mother,” “baby mama” and “baby daddy” extensively during the late 1990s, and by the year 2000 everyone had heard or read these terms.
According to the OED the baby mama is "the mother of a man's child, who is not his wife or (in most cases) his current or exclusive partner."
The baby mama broke the rules: either by having a baby for a man with whom there was no real relationship, or by forfeiting the relationship after she had the child. Still, she is a “mother.” With good counsel and willingness she can get back on track for her own good and the good of the baby. She also deserves some consideration for her worth from:
- The baby daddy
- The baby daddy’s wife
- Male friends
- Other women
The baby daddy
The baby daddy profile varies. Consistent though, is the fact that there is no marriage, no hope of marriage, no friendly interaction with the child's mother. He may fit one or more of the following descriptions, which are by no means all inclusive:
- Selfishly sowing his wild oats without any sense of fatherhood responsibility
- Insecure in his marriage and desires to prove that he is still wanted
- Claiming the dual capacity to love more than one woman
- Habitual one-night stander, for the thrill of adding to his list of conquests
- Sucker for the tears of a lonely woman
Whatever the situation by which a man becomes a father, the child’s interest belongs on his list of priorities. Immediately, he has to think of how best to make a happy, healthy life for the child. Pretending that the child and mother do not exist; refusing financial support; saying degrading things about the mother—none of these things promotes his stature as a man.
Respect for the child's mother translates into respect for himself and initiates the portrait of a man that his child could respect. Meanwhile, the woman would be wise to see herself not as his baby mama, but as a woman capable of moving beyond that.
The baby daddy's wife
Whether the man fathered the child before or during his marriage, his wife has to deal with the fact that the child is a part of her husband’s world. It is his job to regain her trust; there is no need for discussion with the other woman.
Here is an example of a smart wife. The woman’s husband had a fling with a woman who became pregnant. The man stopped seeing her immediately, but of course, the wife found out. The wife wanted her marriage anyway, so she took control and called the other woman to find out what she needed for the baby. The baby mama was never privy to any disruption that she caused in the marriage.
Some wives are not that wise, as in the following example. Years after the baby was born, the husband and the baby mama hated each other; but when their child took ill, she called to inform him. His wife insisted on being at the child's bedside with him even if it meant that the child’s mother had to leave the room. There is no way that a mother would leave the bedside of her sick child.
The child’s mother has the right to make reasonable requests and the wife must know when to show consideration. No one can make an ideal situation out of one which is not ideal.
Even when a woman is rejected by a man, she still has the right to be respected by other men. Having a baby does not make her a marked-down item. A man who is interested focuses on her beauty instead of her scars, and recognizes her value.
If the fact that she has a baby prevents him from seeing her potential, he should walk on. Leave her for the man who wants the task of helping her rebuild and restore her self-worth. Actually, the woman determines how she wants to treated.
There are many baby mamas who, after their restoration, show no sign of their initial predicament. They improve their relationship skills and choose not to repeat their baby mama performance.
None of the little girls in this picture or any other is born with the desire to become a baby mama. If she makes that decision, it is because she is misguided. If she is seduced, it is because she is naïve. If she thinks that is the right thing to do, it is because she does not realize what is best for her.
The first women available to empower her are her mother and other immediate family members. Their training is never complete. Without trampling on her individuality, they can keep on influencing her with affirmations of her strengths and teaching life lessons from their own experiences.
Female bonding is empowering, and the baby mama needs to be included in the circle. She needs friends to assist her; advise her; affirm her, applaud her and make her accountable. No force is greater for the redemption of one woman, than a supportive circle of other women.
Would you refer to a single mother as a "baby mama" if the definition fits her?
In 2013, Dom Giordano reported on Philly.com about one woman who was receiving $15,000 a month in child support from a NFL quarterback, and then had a second child by an NBA player. She was not in a relationship with either man.
She may not have been intentional about having the babies, but she added to the statistics of the 28% of American women who have babies with at least two different men. She increased the number of children growing up without fathers, or having to adjust to the complications of step parents.
Financial support is only one of the children’s needs, and some baby mamas do not even get that. The familial and moral structure of the home is also important in their development.
There are several factors the baby mama has to think about with regard to her role of motherhood:
- Whether the life she chooses accommodates her fullest potential as a woman, and as a mother
- Whether her child’s interest is in the right spot on her list of priorities
- How she will continue to interact with men
- What her children will learn from such interaction
- How effectively she can teach them respect for her and respect for their fathers
Finally, honest communication between mother and child is important at every age. Children know when the mother is putting forth her best effort; and she can influence them positively regardless of the past. She can create a loving, trusting family if she is intentional.
© 2014 Dora Weithers