Yes, I’m a Single Mother, But Please Do Not Call Me a Baby Mama

Mommy and baby at beach

Not long after my son was born, I knew that single motherhood was barreling my way and, despite our many efforts, there was nothing I could do to dodge it. Rewind to me being 6 months pregnant, sitting in my parent’s backyard talking about my future, I clearly remember my step mother telling me “the last thing I want for you is to be someone’s baby mama”.

Baby mama; a term that is not one indicative of the sacrifices, late nights, and the early mornings that is motherhood through obstacles. Instead, a baby mama is synonymous with bitterness, greed, and the familiar tune of she won’t let me see my baby. I am none of those things.

Growing up for the first 12 years of my life, I was raised by a single mother. One that counted pennies to feed us, plucked eviction notices off of our front door several times a year, and wept quietly at night when she thought we were sleeping. I was raised by a single mother that gave up on her personal dreams a long time ago to allow her children to stand on her shoulders in their path to greatness. A woman that made every single holiday feel like we were the richest, luckiest family in town. A mother that made the projects feel like Beverly Hills. Looking back at what my mother did for me on her own, I realized that calling me a baby mama diminishes all of the things me and many other single mothers really are.

In this country, black women that have split from the father’s of their children are seen as baby mamas. We are these helpless, welfare ridden, bitter, scheming and conniving blood sucking people that are just another notch to the statistic. On the other end of that spectrum, white single mothers are lifted up on a perch as strong and endearing women to be looked up to, not down upon because they are trying their best, after all. While there are a wealth of factors involved in becoming a single mother, neither group should be made to feel ashamed.

I am not anyone’s baby mama. Do not strip away my title as a mother to fulfill your need of putting me in a box. I am a mother. I am his mother and that’s the only thing that counts.

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