Baby Mama





Baby Mamas

By Will Baker


"This shit ain’t fair," laments Fantasia Barrino in her hit song "Baby Mama." Barrino, recent winner of the TV show American Idol, is a single, unwed teen mother and her song referenced above is one of the more extraordinary things I have listened to in some time. Extraordinary in that one could argue that Barrino has managed to distill some of the characteristics of urban social decay into an anthem of sorts, which seems to resonate with many unwed teen mothers. And sadly, our nation has no shortage of them: According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, in excess of 25 million children in America (over 36%) live apart from their fathers. In the US, on average a third of all births are to unmarried women and this is a continuing trend. And according to a study described in the scientific journal Child Development Magazine, teen aged girls raised in these households were more likely to engage in a variety of at risk behaviors, including, you guessed it unprotected sex leading to teen pregnancy.

It's about time we had our own song
Don't know what took so long
Cuz now-a-days it like a badge of honer
To be a baby mama

Wow, so it’s a badge of honor to get pregnant, drop out of school and if you are lucky have a parent of grand parent with whom to burden with your child, not to mention your own silly ass.

Cuz we the backbone (of the hood)
I always knew that (that we could)

It seems to me that unless an unwed teen mother can land a recording contract or win the lottery, they are likely to subsist on the good will and/or charity of others (read: public assistance and sponging off of family members). If unwed teenaged mothers are the "backbone" of inner city neighborhoods, and if these lyrics are indicative of their mindset, it seems to me that it might be time to tear those buildings down and raze those neighborhoods to remove the critical mass of whatever it is that’s contributing to what amounts to a possible public health threat.

We can go anywhere, we can do anything
I know we can make it if we dream

I agree that our nation is a land of amazing opportunity. But it seems to me that one who suggests that a "baby Mama," one who decides to get pregnant and drop out of school can "go anywhere and do anything" isn’t necessarily grounded in reality. The fact is that a "Baby Mama" has a higher statistical probability of living in and raising her children in poverty. In addition, her child is more likely to have a teen pregnancy, go to jail or both.

And I think it should be a holiday
For single mothers tryin' to make a way

This strikes me as a fine idea. Perhaps single teen mothers should have a national holiday and the grand parents who are raising their children for them can throw them a party at taxpayer expense. Of course we might be opening the door for other groups worthy of such recognition. Let’s see, how about Recovering Drug Addict Day?



 (Essay Collection)






Life's meaning