This weekend, D and I went out with a few of our friends and ended up having an interesting conversation. One of the couples we were out with were talking about a lady they know who is a single mother raising 5 kids on her own, none of whom have the same father mind you, and she is struggling, so they feel sorry for her and want to help her by buying the kids’ school supplies. We definitely know their hearts were in the right place, because lawd knows it’s hard out there for a single mama–I was raised by one, so I do know first hand.
But D and one of the other girls (who is a 4th grade teacher) both brought up the same valid point. They wondered why when a woman sleeps around without children, she’s a ho’ but then if she does the same and has kids by a bunch of men, she’s a victim because she’s a single mom. In all honesty, I have to wonder the same thing.
I’ve seen it happen more often than I’m really comfortable with. I’m using one woman in particular to illustrate my point. This girl, who’s about 3 years younger than me, started out in the youth choir at church, etc etc but as she grew into a young woman she fell hard from grace. She started sleeping around with people in the church, slept with a few married men, and was seen at the “clinic” being treated for ‘that stuff‘; basically acting like much less than a lady. The church women had LOTS to say about her–“that child ain’t nothing but a hoochie now”, “can’t nothin’ but prayer save her behind now”, “both her and her mama should be shamed, with her actin like a slut!”, and so on and so on.
She came back to church a few months later with a pregnant belly. The church women were still wary of her, but softened a bit in their words to her. She gave birth and had a hard time financially like most any single parent would. But five months later, she showed up pregnant again. When asked if the babies had the same father, she put her head down in shame. The church women of course stood by her side, allowing her to take comfort in them. Six months after that baby was born, she had an abortion (my mom was her nurse at the office where the procedure was done)–different dude this time. Three and a half months later, back at the same office looking in my mom’s face again to have another abortion–different dude. Five months later, back in the SAME office in my mom’s face yet again, but this time with a miscarriage–different dude. Seven months later, at the ripe old age of 22, she walks back in church belly pregnant AGAIN. Different Dude. This time a collection was taken up in church to help her buy baby stuff, complete with the woe is me sob story. My mother was speaking to the church women who were sticking up for the girl and explained to them how she came into her office more than twice, and all the women could say was, “She’s just a victim of her environment. She doesn’t know better.”
How is it that she has three babies, and is suddenly a victim of her environment? She was participating in the same behavior as before she became a mother. But she was a ho’ then, and is a victim now. The only victims in that situation are her children.
Now don’t get me wrong, single parents do have it rough. It’s difficult to raise a child with help from no one but yourself. But my sympathy wanes when a woman is voluntarily repeatedly putting herself in that situation. Opinions aside though, the question raised was valid. Why does having a child make a (former?) hoe a victim even when she continues the same behavior patterns?
I wish I had an answer for that. What’s your take on it? Get at me in the comments.