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Certifiable

I was watching “For the Love of Ray J” and a former contestant returned to the show pregnant.  Her name was “Danger.”  Being on the show unearthed Danger’s tragic story.  She was an admitted former prostitute, victim of abuse, groupie, and overall attention whore.  Her craziness was well-documented throughout the season.  And now, here she was, back on the show, and about 8 months pregnant.  The first thing I said when I saw her big belly was, “It doesn’t seem fair that she gets to have a baby, when there are so many potentially great mothers, who can’t.”  And my friend replied, with a shrug, “Life’s not fair.”

“Life’s not fair” is an aphorism that I think all of us have heard.  It is usually said in response to someone bemoaning a decision, conclusion or event that he/she believes is unjust.  And it generally means that you need to get over it, because there will always be times that things do not go the way you planned, or believed they should.

You don’t get the promotion you think you deserved? Life’s not fair.  Your boss asks YOU to train the person they gave the promtion? Life’s not fair.  Your car breaks down one hour after the warranty expires? Life’s not fair.  And it’s the engine AND the transmission?  Life’s not fair.

But after seeing Danger on “For the Love of Ray J”, I realized that  there are times when it can have another meaning. 

To be a driver, one takes a driver test.  You drive forward, in reverse, you parallel park, you make left and right turns and you switch lanes, and you merge into traffic.  The examiner assesses your capabilities and either passes you and grants you a license to drive, or fails you and tells you’re not ready – you need to put in more work. 

To be a teacher you have to be certified.  You get training in education, and take an exam that shows off your proficiency to the state.  They too assess your capabilities, and either pass you and award you a license to teach, or they fail you and tell you that you’re not ready – you need more training. 

To be an attorney one must obtain a “certificate of fitness” either before, or after taking the bar exam.  The application consists of approximately one million personal questions and extensive documentation is required to support the applicant’s answers.  Exhaustive background checks are run, credit reports are pulled, tax returns are reviewed.  And when it is over, the state either certifies you to take/join the bar, or denies you and tells you you’re not ready – you need to straighten out some things in your life. 

It is much the same process for doctors, nurses,  and even public accountants.   

But to be a mother, there is no license.  There is no certification of fitness.  There are no state-mandated exams.  There is no analysis of skill, or knowledge.  Tax returns aren’t reviewed.  Credit reports are not pulled.  Neither moral, nor fiscal responsibility is established.  A birth certificate is  simply a record of one being born, not a declaration of eligibility for childbearing.  No one checks to see if you are ready, or if you need to put in more work, get more training or straighten out some things in your life.

I’ve seen a woman withhold juice from her thirsty baby, until he gave her a kiss.  I’ve seen a mother walk ahead of her toddler, with him scurrying to keep up, during rush hour in a jam-packed Manhattan train station.  I’ve seen a mother walking with several children, with dirty faces, all in too small clothes and too big shoes – with another one on the way.  I’ve seen a mother driving Britney-style, with one baby on her lap and another in the backseat with the seatbelt guillotine-ing him across the face and neck. 

I’ve heard about mothers who leave their toddlers with boyfriends they met two days ago on Pick-a-felon.com.  I’ve heard about mothers who move their new boyfriends in to live with them and their pubescent daughters.  I’ve heard about mothers who say they would rather their child have s.ex and/or do drugs and drink in the home than outside on the street.

And it is these instances where “life” – as in the gift that is bestowed upon a woman when she becomes a mother, is what’s not fair.  And that’s a different meaning entirely.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. SIP
    December 22, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    The first line made me *BLIND* hard and give you the side eye…but Imma finish reading…

    • December 22, 2009 at 8:37 pm

      ROFLMAO ROFLMAO I started to write a disclaimer, but… to heck with it. Sue me. I watch terrible television and I like it. LOL

  2. SIP
    December 22, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Well…then there’s that.

    HOWEVER…I’m a realist. There are lots of instances where a woman was a complete fuck-up and then became the most generous and loving of mothers changing their life for the better. No…a lot of people they knew didn’t forget they were ho’ish but there are more like me who believe they will recognize the blessing for what it’s worth and follow through successfully because really…who doesn’t pray HARD for a mother to be the BEST mother they can be?

    I suffer from infertility and I hope I’d be the type of mother my mommy was to me and yes…sometimes I feel some kinda way hearing about teenagers and people with the morals of an unpaid porn star getting pregnant at the drop of a hat with men they barely know but I know that’s that “better than” shit I can’t partake in because to do so would block my continued blessings of which I have MANY.

    MANY I tell you…MANY.

    Sometimes life isn’t fair but most times I feel it’s just. There are things I wouldn’t have been good at and I know this. A single mother I could never have been. If God appeared before me tonight and told me that the only condition by which I could become a mother was to not have my husband I would thank him with all of me for thinking of me by appearing before me with SUCH an option but nah…I’ll keep my husband and my life as is please and thank you.

    For me…life is JUST. Does it sometimes hurt? Yes. But I want it all and all starts with my being happily married and ENHANCING that happiness with a healthy, smart, beautiful baby. No other option is good enough for me.

    Am I knocking single mothers? No. Hell no. There are plenty who are the most FABULOUS mothers in our past, present and future. I’m simply speaking from my own opinion regarding my own life. I could have NEVER been a single mother and I’ll take that to the grave.

    Interesting post indeedly. Makes me REALLY wonder where you came from being all prolific and shit.

    • December 22, 2009 at 8:59 pm

      I completely agree with you, on all points. I don’t begrudge anyone the joy of motherhood, but I hate to see people who get to experience it – get it all wrong. Because it’s not the type of thing you get to do over. When you screw up, you screw up someone’s LIFE. And despite what I said when I saw that chick was pregnant on TV, I really believe that she does have the potential to be a great mother, and overcome all her demons from her past. We all have pasts, and if your past dictated whether or not you’d be able to get pregnant, I’d probably never have the option. I’ve done things that are not so noteworthy in mine. Heck, maybe that’s why I haven’t had a kid yet. *shrug*

      But at the same time, it’s hard to see people who you believe would be great parents, go unfulfilled in that area while there are other people out there getting pregnant who don’t even want to be!

      And I don’t ever do the “better than” thing. I really don’t, though it seems that way by this post. I actually didn’t mean for it to come across that way, though I definitely see how it could have.

      My story’s a little different, I struggle not with infertility, but with the missed opportunity. I’ve been married, more than once and as crazy as it sounds, have still never been in a position to have a baby. And at this point, it’s looking like I either have to just do it, as a conscious choice – single parent style, or forego that dream altogether. And that’s a tough one for me because my ideas of motherhood never consisted of those types of choices when I pictured it in my head. But then again, I’m acting like it’s just up to me. It could be too late and I just don’t know it yet.

      Yes. I agree. I can’t speak in general, but as for me, my life is just. My life might even be fair. I have been blessed beyond belief *pulling tambourine out* LOL, and sometimes I don’t even know why. So I try not to sweat the small stuff and say “it is well with my soul” when things sometimes don’t go my way. =)))

      God bless. Don’t give up hope. I haven’t. There are plenty of people who wind up having “miracle babies” – I hope you turn out to be one of them. *hugs*

      Me? I’m just a regular, 30-something chick who decided that I had a couple of things to say. LOL Thank you for reading, I really enjoy your comments. =)))

  3. December 22, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    I really like your perspective here. Whereas I tend to shun the “life isn’t fair” mantra fairly quickly because what I don’t have I take as a sign that it simply wasn’t meant for me yet (if ever), I believe there is a different set of rules when it involves bringing a life into the world. And as I think you captured well here, sometimes that faux-azz-maxim is simply insufficient.

    When babies are born in Rwanda and Darfur, as products of genocidal rape, into squalor and sentenced to death before they’d have a chance to live, “life isn’t fair” is insufficient. When a drug-addicted, HIV-infected woman pumps out babies that are abandoned and become wards of the state, for that baby, “life isn’t fair” is blasphemous.

    Certainly, we who are blessed can let that phrase roll off our backs and thank the good Lord above for our lives. But when babies are born into this world to be abused, molested, and killed by people who are unfit and uncaring, like you said perfectly, it has a different meaning entirely.

    • December 22, 2009 at 9:16 pm

      And to that, all I can say is, “exactly.”

  4. PHILLYGYRL
    December 23, 2009 at 8:50 am

    I like this post! This is exactly why i constantly, CONSTANTLYYYYY tell my daughter as well as my son who is 18 yrs old, do not make a baby!! Especially if you are not ready to be a parent!

    For anyone who says life isnt fair, trust me, there is someone who always has it worse off than you. Im deaf in one ear, barely hearing out of the other ear. I could easily rant and say life isnt fair but then i realized some folks like me are deaf and mute. At least I had “normal” hearing where I could learn to speak and have a conversation.

    • December 23, 2009 at 11:19 am

      Your comment reminds me of a post I wrote in another life… LOL… And what you’ve said, illustrates exactly why teens shouldn’t even be having sex. And trust me, I know that’s idealistic and almost an impossibility to expect that teens remain virgins, but you get what I’m saying. I would have my daughters (and sons) watching “Teen Mom” and “I’m 16 and Pregnant” on MTV every day. LOL LOL Those shows are veritable PSAs against teen pregnancy. They make a grown ass woman think twice!!! LOL

  5. K.I.M.
    December 23, 2009 at 11:07 am

    The only thing I take exception to, as a CPA, in this entire post is, “….and even public accountants” 🙂

    I wonder why the A word that kinda rhymes with extortion isn’t more commonly considered in some instances. Not all cases, but I’ve seen homeless women pregnant with their 9th child. True story.

    • December 23, 2009 at 11:27 am

      LMAO…

      Yeah, you know, I think the a-word is probably considered, but discounted or precluded in a lot of situations for many different reasons. There are the women who are in denial for so long, that by the time they are ready to confront the situation – it’s too late; there are women who WANT the baby for ulterior motives – whether they’re trying to get leverage on some man, or whatever; then there are the ones who might have the right motivation, but just have rose-colored glasses on about their ability to care for the child; then there are those who just can’t afford the termination; then there are those who just don’t believe in them under any circumstances… there are so many reasons why I think they don’t get done in certain instances.

      And I’m 100% pro-choice, but I know, unless I’m dying, or some criminal act was involved, it would never be an option for me.

  6. Yolanda
    January 13, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Girl, you nailed it with this one. I cannot agree more. Back in the day, long before some of our people were placed in chains and sent across the waters, we had rites of passage for young women and men. After the physical chains and the miscegenation, we might not have had these same exact rites of passage, but mothers were taught by their mothers and these mothers in turn taught their daughters. More fathers were also in the picture, which helped tremendously. They also had something many don’t have of their children today–expectations and standards. Yeah, there were loose and wayward women back then, but even many of those knew that a baby didn’t need to be added into the equation. Now, we got children raising children, with no idea of what it means to be self-respecting, let alone what it means to love something so much you’ll do anything to protect and preserve it.

    • Prime Example
      January 21, 2010 at 8:59 pm

      And if it wasn’t your father, it was your friend’s father, or your neighbor’s father. There were just more fathers around. *nodding* so true, so true.

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