Is it okay for a woman to name her son Jr. if she was never married to his father?
Category: Black Women
By now everyone has heard the news that recently-married Halle Berry is pregnant at the age of 46 (her first pregnancy was at 42). While I certainly wouldn’t follow in her footsteps, I do question why anyone would want to have a baby at that age. Even with modern technology we all know the challenges that women face having children later in life, such as birth defects and higher rates of miscarriage. Not to mention, the disturbance in one’s career and the sheer physical toll. But even with all of those things aside, why would you want to spend your “middle years” changing diapers & chasing after a toddler?
Other things to consider having children later in life are: fetal distress, cesarean birth, high blood pressure, diabetes, ectopic pregnancy and premature delivery. And that’s just for the mother! The baby is at risk for low birth weight, genetic disorders like Down syndrome, asphyxia, brain bleeds and stillbirth. How terrible is that?! Those are problems that occur during the pregnancy & in the delivery room. Consider what age you’ll be when your child becomes a teenager. How will your parenting abilities be as you age? Can you keep up with your children or their friend’s parents? Will you have the energy? Will you have the patience? Will you be able to keep up with the rigor of raising multiple children as you age?
According to nationalgeographic.com the average life expectancy is 81 for women and 76 for men, so why spend the second half of your life raising young children? I would think that bearing children would be best to do while you’re younger. Instead of preparing for retirement, you now have to focus on raising an adolescent. While you may be more financial stable, the more out of touch you are with the younger generation that you are now raising. Not to mention all of your friends are just about done raising their children so you won’t have the support system that you probably hoped for.
Let’s look at some other famous people who had children later in life:
It is a little different when you are rich – you can pay for younger help. You can also afford the best doctors to make sure that your health & the baby’s health is in excellent condition. Plus, Halle Berry looks like she’ll be young forever! But for the average woman these resources aren’t as readily available.
I am so glad that my parents aren’t “older”. This means that they’ll be around a lot longer J
Today I went to go see Fruitvale Station. Unfortunately, it wasn’t playing in a theater near me so I had to travel a little ways to see it, and I am so glad that I did.
If you’re not aware of this film, here’s the back story: Twenty-two year old African American Oscar Grant, III was brutally shot & killed in Oakland on New Year’s Day in 2009 by an overzealous White transit cop named Johannes Mehserle. Johannes was sentenced to 2 years but ended up serving only 11 months in prison. That’s right – 11 months in jail for murdering an unarmed young man.
Not knowing much about the story of Oscar Grant, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I walked into the theater. But 2 minutes into the movie, I was enraged! The movie started off with the live shooting of Oscar Grant (what I’ve attached here) and sets the tone for the rest of the film. This movie shows the kind of man that Oscar was – an imperfect one, but a seemingly good father and completely innocent young man. His whole objective that night was to celebrate New Year’s with his friends and get home safely by taking the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) instead of driving. But he never made it home. Transit cop Mehserle claims that he was reaching for his taser to calm Oscar down but instead grabbed his gun and shot Oscar in the back while he was lying on the ground defenseless.
Riots & protests ensued in the days following Oscar Grant’s murder, some peaceful and some violent. I can only imagine the heartache that Ms. Wanda Johnson felt in losing her son Oscar considering that he was unarmed & not dangerous. Barely old enough to drink, he simply wanted to ring in the New Year without any trouble. There can’t be any worse way to start off your New Year than to learn that your son’s life was unexpectedly & unjustifiably taken. But through it all, she still fights for hope in our justice system and redemption for her son’s execution.
I did feel as though the movie was incomplete. Before the end credits rolled there was a status update letting us know what happened to Oscar’s family & the transit cop that killed him. However, the battle shouldn’t end with his death. Connect with the Oscar Grant Foundation, whose mission is in part to “Provide comfort, needs assessment, emergency counseling and resource referral information to assist the family through the initial aftermath of a traumatic event caused by violence and treatment for the emotional injuries sustained at the hands of law enforcement officers.”
Fruitvale Station won two awards in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival: the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature & the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film. This film stars Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer and is playing nationwide in a theater near you.
With half the year now gone I’m starting to focus on things that I can do to better myself. I even made a list and here are some of the things on it –
As I think about the type of man that I want to be with and the qualities I would like for him to have, I wonder whether or not I have the qualities that he would want. I do believe that just about every woman has some wifely qualities in her but are they the right ones? I would love to not have a “perfect man” but I man who is “perfect for me”, even though I’m not perfect.
I want a man who is –
Good with money: As the potential head of my household I want a man who is responsible with his own finances. I want a man who knows how to make money and protect the income that we have together. I want a man who not just saves money but is also financially savvy even though I’ve had my share of money problems.
Able to fix stuff: A man who knows how to fix things is sexy. Fix the toilet, change my flat tire, own a toolbox, anything – I like it! I believe that a man should know how to repair things but as a woman I’m not so good at housekeeping. I don’t like to clean & only do it out of necessity. I know a woman should be domesticated but cleaning isn’t really my forte.
Interesting: I am strongly attracted to a man that I find interesting & intellectually stimulating. And even though I’m pretty good at holding up my end of the conversation, when it comes right down to it I’m not always very exciting.
Attractive: I like men who are polished and well put together. Now, I don’t want him spending more time in the mirror than I do, but I think it is important to look as good as you feel. I like a dapper looking dude even though I’m not always looking my best every time I leave the house.
A good listener: What woman doesn’t like a man who listens? Yes, I know we women talk a lot but it’s great to be with someone who is an active listener. But as much as I talk, I don’t always like to pay attention. I get bored when the conversation isn’t interesting enough.
Romantic: What woman doesn’t like a little romance? I expect a little romance every now & again, but I’m not very romantic myself. Why you ask? I’ve always thought romance should primarily fall on the man so that’s never really something I’ve put too much effort into.
Sane: There are a lot of weirdo’s out there so it’s not easy to find & connect with somebody who is not crazy! I am moody but I chalk that up to being a woman. J
Even tempered: I don’t want a man with a bad temper or someone that I have to argue with all the time. I have my own attitude but I chalk that up to being a Black woman. J
A Gentleman: I like a man that opens my door (actually, that’s a requirement) & gives me compliments, even though I’m not always lady-like. For example, I talk about my menstrual cycle sometimes and have been known to put my feet up on the dashboard when I’m sitting on the passenger side.
Sometimes I think about what my mother-in-law will be like. Will she & I get along? Will I like her? Will I call her “mom” or by another name? (Hopefully not something that rhymes with witch) Will she teach me the family recipes or back me up when she knows that her son & I have been arguing? Will she be proud to call me her daughter-in-law? Will she & I hang out together and talk often? Or will I despise her and complain to my girlfriends about her? Maybe I’ll dread the holidays when & if I come to visit. Maybe she and I will be complete opposites or worse yet, she’ll think I’m not good enough for her precious son. Whatever the case may be I know that once I get married, I’ll have to deal with (or put up with) not only his entire family but also his mother.
Of course, if my mother-in-law (MIL for short) & I don’t get along I would think that it would greatly affect my relationship with my husband, especially if he’s close to his mother. I wouldn’t want him to be stuck in the middle but that just may end up being the case. Who should a husband side with – his mother or his wife? I say his wife, because according to the Bible, “…shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” (Gen 2:24) Plus we all know the saying: Happy wife = Happy life. Not to mention as his wife I am the one that is committing to him for the remainder of my life, sticking by his side through sickness, times of poverty, bearing & raising his children and will be there for him when he puts his mother in the grave. Yes, that’s morbid I know but that’s all a part of being a wife. So with that said, if I happen to have a MIL that I don’t get along with wouldn’t it be in her best interest to make a special effort to get along with me?
Just think about – if I knew that someone had the power of possibly putting me in a senior home once I got older or letting me move in with them instead, I would try my best to be on that person’s good side. If I knew that someone else was largely responsible for my child’s happiness and my grandchildren’s wellbeing, I would do everything in my power to build a good relationship with that person, especially being as the elder. Sure, there needs to be mutual respect between me & my MIL, and deference on my end since this is the woman that created the man I love & have pledged my life to be with. But don’t think that just because I tolerate you that I like you because those are two totally different feelings.
Until I get married or have children of my own that one day get married, I won’t know what it’s like to have a mother-in-law or to be one. Hopefully I’ll have a good relationship with my own mother-in-law but if not, I may have to prepare to not have a relationship with her at all.
On the heels of Mother Day, I started wondering whether or not I would make a good mother. I mean, I’m not sold on having children in the first place but in the event that the Lord sees otherwise I don’t even know how the whole motherhood thing would work for me.
I have so many hangups on what motherhood is supposed to be like that I don’t even know if the actual role would match up with the job description I have in my head. From what I can tell raising a child properly takes a lot of ingredients that I don’t have:
Would having these things make me a good mother? No of course not, but I do think that you need more than just “love” to be a good parent. So how is someone supposed to know if they would be a good parent? There’s no checklist or survey to fill out. There’s no application required or background check that will determine whether or not you’ll be a good parent. Do people think that just because they consider themselves a good aunt or a good uncle that they would make a good parent even though having nieces & nephews is nothing like having your own children? How is a man supposed to know if the woman he wants to marry will make a good mother? How does any woman know that she’ll be a good mother to all of her children and not just her favorite? The conundrum is that you don’t know what it takes to be a mother until you are one. But the problem I have with parenting is that once I decide to become a mother, I can’t take it back.
So all in all, I guess I’ll never really know what kind of mother I’ll be until I become one (Jesus, help me!).
My parents have been married for over 30 years. Correction: My biological parents have been married for over 30 years. Although their marriage hasn’t been perfect and I’m sure there were times when one or both of them wanted to call it quits, they were committed to their marriage. They were committed to their commitment. And that’s exactly what I want in my mate.
Unfortunately, coming from a two-parent home seems to be a rarity these days (especially within the African American community and there are various reasons for that, all of which will have to go into another posting). Because of this it seems that a lot of men are not equipped for marriage, let alone to be a good husband or father. Now of course, there are some exceptions to this rule (President Barack Obama, for instance) but for the most part in order to be a good leader, you need a good example of leadership.
Sure, it’s nice to have a strong male example around like a grandfather or an uncle. But an example is not the same as the real thing. That’s like saying a substitute teacher is just as good as a regular teacher. While both might be good at teaching, it is always best for the students to have their full time teacher in the classroom.
Now don’t think I’m saying that having a bad father in the home is better than no father at all. But the argument for having a bad father in the home is that you can at least see what not to do. In other words, you are able to see how to overcome adversity when the strife is right in front of you. People always say that it’s not healthy for children to see their parents argue. But if you’ve never seen your mother & father argue and then make up, how can you possibly know how to handle arguments as the head of your own household? Yes, you don’t have to see an argument to know how to handle one, but it’s always better to learn by example rather than by trial & error.
Men like to think that they have so much to lose when they get married. But as a woman I have to give up a lot as well, particularly letting a man take over my household. I want a man who knows what he is doing. And if a man has never seen an example of how to lead how can I trust that he will know how to lead our household?