Men are always left out of the equation when it comes to anything that has to do with childbirth. Seems like men are only good for– need I say– their sperm. After conception, the woman primarily takes control over the entire process. From dealing with excruciating birth pains, frequent doctor visits, and even constant bathroom breaks around the clock, it’s easy to see where the power lies.
Hell, women have to carry the baby around, not me. So I get it.
But many times we forget to figure men into the equation–even after the pregnancy. Hence the semantics played when it comes to the term of labeling a father. Words like ‘baby daddy,’ ‘father,’ and ‘dad’ all carry different connotations that speak to the man’s connection to the child. But can we simply not have fathers anymore? In a world where two-parent households are under attack, baby daddies tend to be a variable in the Black community that has not changed.
Women having babies without being married is nothing new either. Although I would never blatantly encourage broken homes or single parent households, let’s face it, pregnancy happens. However, one would think that in this day and age the unwavering snickers and snares would stop when a woman chooses to have a baby out of wedlock. However, seeing how it takes two people to create a child, we should begin asking ourselves why are we so hard on baby mamas yet remain virtually silent about baby daddies?
For the past two weeks, the blogs have been abuzz with details over the recent pregnancy announcement made by Fantasia. The former American Idol winner was performing for a small crowd when she felt compelled to share this information with her fans. Before she started to go into her next song, Fantasia confirmed she was pregnant, and she did not have to hide it anymore. Fanny has been roundly criticized for her relationship with Antwaun Cook, who is rumored to be the child’s father. Although she is not the first woman to have an affair with a married man — and will definitely not be the last — people relentlessly judged her choices. We are all adults, so we know it takes two to conceive. So in this instance, there is no excuse to shift all the blame on Fantasia. However, the guilt constantly falls on the woman, and the baby daddy just becomes an innocent bystander.
While sex might be casual for some, the consequences are definitely not. And I’m not giving baby daddies any passes for anything they have done wrong. However, we have been socialized to believe that it is the woman’s role to control a man’s sexual desires. Since a man does not have to carry the baby, the evidence lies with the woman for nine months. And again, there is no hiding that.
Statistics indicate that if you’re black woman, and you want to get married, you might have a difficult time. Almost seventy percent of American black women are unmarried, and over half of black women’s marriages to black men are said to end in divorce. But what are statistics when we are dealing with real life? Marriage does not negate the possibility of producing offspring — planned or not–who can be abandoned by one of their parents.
With the increasing trend of people having children outside of marriage — among other circumstances –more and more guilt surrounds women and their wombs. This observable fact begs the question…are we are too silent on baby daddies? Women need to make a place for their baby daddy. There has been a shift from saying, “We’re pregnant” to “I’m pregnant.” Because women are typically tied to “the home,” anything that happens there is seen as her fault. Pending the circumstance, it can be very difficult and frustrating, but holding the father accountable is important to a children’s future. If this situation is going to get better, we have to stop being silent on baby daddies; it is not always the woman’s fault.