‘Campaign Against Normalizing the “Baby Mama”‘

05.23.2011, 7:28 PM

Who is better placed than a midwife to speak on behalf of babies and mothers and why marriage matters? Who has greater moral authority to speak to the family crisis of our time besides the woman who is on call 24/7 to bring new life into the world?

Check out the South Carolina-based Urban Midwifery Inc. and their 2011 “Campaign Against Normalizing the ‘Baby Mama’.”

At Urban Midwifery we believe that there are NO healthy babies, without FIRST healthy mamas! Urban Midwifery believes that there is a strong connection between the “Baby Mama Epidemic”, (single mamas having babies) which disproportionately affects the Black Community, and the high infant mortality rate, causing Black Babies to die more.

We know that married women typically have more financial resources. Also they have more emotional support and involvement from their spouses. This leads to more stability, better nutrition, and less stress. One of our largest goals is to promote marriage and family within the Black Community to ensure that pregnant women, and those planning pregnancy have the proper support, resources, and education. more

I have chills. Support the work of this 501c3. Something big is brewing.

16 Responses to “‘Campaign Against Normalizing the “Baby Mama”‘”

  1. La Lubu says:

    Went to the website, and was pleasantly greeted by Lauryn Hill’s “To Zion” (dedicated to her firstborn son). That’s the song that was playing in my hospital room when I went into labor—well, I had been de-facto “in labor” for some time (footling breech, cervix dilated to 4cm, bulging bag of waters—the idea was to keep me on bed rest and prolong the pregnancy as much as possible, but once it gets to that stage it’s…pretty much impossible to stop the inevitable). Anyway. That’s the song that was playing when when my girl decided she was going to be born; I was wheeled out and into the operating room for an emergency c-section. I suspect there’s a lotta kids that were born to that song!

    But…it’s probably worth mentioning that Lauren Hill is not legally married to the father of her five children (Rohan Marley—he is married to another woman). Ms. Hill identifies publically as being married to Mr. Marley; he identifies publically as being a single man (no, he is not divorced).

  2. ki sarita says:

    actually I don’t think midwives are any more qualified than anyone else to have an opinion about the subject

  3. Jill says:

    I get that having a spouse can often provide additional support in the sense of caring for children, but when you’re talking about poor women, you’re usually talking about poor men, too. The problem with pushing marriage is that, yes, the couple together is making more and sharing more duties than either alone (we hope!), but then the mother also wages out of a lot of social services, without adequate income to make up those services through the private sector. This isn’t true in every case, but in my field work with low income teen girls, many talked about the desire to marry boyfriends or their mothers’ expressed desire to marry their partners, but knew they would no longer be able to access the things they need to survive if they did so, because their incomes would be “too much” to qualify for the services they were receiving.

    So this is an overly simplistic answer. If you want to improve the health and lives of low income Black women and their babies, you need to start by promoting economic growth in low income communities so that folks have a fighting chance of financial independence, rather than the combined lack of educational and economic opportunities. And you need to provide better nutritional and medical assistance. If you don’t have marketable skills, and you don’t have access to affordable healthcare, no amount of husband will improve your health or your baby’s.

  4. Brian says:

    Jill raises some very important points. If you are poor getting married is not always the wisest choice in this country because, as Jill notes, it will often result in making a person ineligible for any social supports, housing subsidies, medical care, food stamps, etc..

    The response of the right wing in this country is to abolish the little that is left of a social safety net and to rely instead on stigmatizing out of wedlock births and single parenthood. I am surprised how little attention Family Scholars Blog gives to economic policies that impact people’s choices about marriage and raising children.

  5. Alana S. says:

    The people at the Institute are working *very hard* to eliminate the marriage penalty.

    You’re making wrong assumptions.

  6. Brian says:


    Sorry, I was not trying to make assumptions but looking at what I posted I see it could be read to suggest I was accusing bloggers here to be supporting economic policies that undermine the goal of strong families. That was not my intent and from what little I have read by Elizabeth Marquadt on these issues, I suspect she and I would agree on a majority of issues.

    My point was more that Jill raised issues that I don’t believe get enough attention as to why people may choose not to get married–economic issues that go beyond the marriage penalty. One example is the 1996 welfare law that created TANF. The statute goes on and on ad nauseum about the dangers of single parenthood, the importance of 2 parent families, etc.. But the irony is that once you look beyond the platitudes the bill makes it economically impossible for states to actually provide income supports for 2 parent families.

    I think more attention to these issues could create some common ground about the goals of IAV and those who may not share the same cultural politics. It is clear from the endless debates here on gay marriage that neither side is going to convince the other side. But regardless of one’s position on gay marriage wouldn’t most people agree that it is not the most significant issue harming families.

    Where I do make an assumption–and I could be wrong here– is that the issue of gay marriage has led to a strategic alignment with the right wing and IAV and, at least some of the bloggers here. Yet it would seem that the primary goal of creating strong families would be better served by focusing on liberal/left economic policies.

  7. Jerry says:

    Brian says:

    But regardless of one’s position on gay marriage wouldn’t most people agree that it is not the most significant issue harming families.

    Unless you happen to be gay or have a family member who is gay or be the child or parent of a gay person.

    Just as a matter of fact, the alignment of IAV with the right-wing predated the same-sex marriage debate.

  8. admin says:

    @Jerry stick to the topic of the post. This is your last warning.
    @Brian stick to the topic of the post. Here is some literature about the marriage penalty:

  9. Brian says:

    Sorry. But not sure how what I said was off topic. I am familiar with the attached report, and though I am not in complete agreement I think it includes some good recommendations.

  10. Erin says:

    The African-American family has issues that can be quickly or easily solved by government policies or economic initiatives. Many more black children were born inside of intact marriages before the War on Poverty was enacted in the 60′s.

    African American families have been slowly falling apart for years, and leadership is needed from inside the community–not the government. I worked for years in low-income black neighborhoods, and there is definitely a culture of poverty and low expectations flourishing in such settings. Kids grow up thinking that single-mother families are normal and expected, food stamps and WIC are part of every family’s budget, and free medical care is par for the course.

    More government initiatives and reform are not the answer. Leadership from within is what’s called for.

  11. Marilynn says:

    I think its wonderful to encourage marriage prior to childbirth and to work to build healthy marriages in low income communities. Those of you whose fathers were anonymous at birth may want to look at the rise in births to single women in a slightly different way though.

    I LOVE the rise in births to single women, because 60 years ago those babies would have been given up for adoption and separated from mothers and fathers who want to raise them, who want to be involved in their lives from birth forward. My state provides the same level of assistance to poor married women with working husbands as they do to poor single women. The benefits are no different. There is supplemental support for working families and health care for those with jobs that dont offer health care, Ill link to that at the bottom for those who want to read it. My state has taken the penalty out of marriage and the penalty out of working.

    What you have now is a situation where fathers can be sure that a child is really theirs before spending 18 years supporting the child. Again that is great because for those who believe in the biological model of family – you want the father supporting his child and bonding with his child, not just any random old guy. DNA helps put babies with the fathers. More families are intact today than ever before because women have access to state support when the fathers are dead beats or simply cannot be identified – those childlren remain with their families. Low income fathers are made to provide support to their children whether they are married to the mother or not – and those men and their families are connecting with their babies and that is a great thing.

    Ideally both parents want to be married to eachother because it makes the obligation to their child easier to fulfill. But the legal obligation is to your child, not to the other parent so Im happy we have built an infrastructure that makes it possible for more people to meet their obligations to their children when they are not married to each other. That was not there before the babies were simply sucked up by perfect little white bread couples.

    I mean as a kid who is missing one of your parents imagine missing both of them – so what if you had a fancy old life? Most people I help connect find out that their Mother was pressured into giving them up for adoption. I recently hooked a guy up with his dad and mom on the very same day and the mom and dad had both been looking for the baby for 40 years! The dad had not seen spoken or heard from the mom since she went into the maternity home when they were 17. He said he rode his bike by the place every day to catch a glimpse of her. He asked her father if he could marry her and her dad said no. But whether he wanted to marry her or not – she had no choice she was forced to give away her child because there was no where for her to run that would help her raise her child as a single woman. I know these statistics seem like the deterioration of the American family but they are not. Single black women have historically kept their babies because they were not as popular to adopt and because the black culture has a stronger more supportive extended family commitment like most other cultures all over the world they work together with what comes up.

    And the whole birth control thing. Come on what do you think women have done for thousands of years when they wanted to get a guy to marry them? Get pregnant right. So accidental pregnancies that go to term are many times an attempt to permanently connect to a male who does not wish to commit. That happens in the rich world too.

    What you are calling baby mamas are most definitely girls who want to have a permanent long lasting relationship with the boy that got them pregnant. But he does not want to get married. So its a real good thing they don’t get married. Its also a real good thing that the state will make sure they get the right guy and garnish his wages when he works and the state will help him and her both when they are out of work because the family remains intact. Id rather be poor and with my family than given away to strangers any day. As long as there is no abuse of course

  12. Marilynn says:

    Health Care for Families

    Access for Infants and Mothers – http://www.disabilitybenefits101.org/ca/programs/income_support/calworks/resources.htmprogram provides low cost health insurance coverage to uninsured, low income pregnant women and their infants. AIM is part of California’s effort to increase health coverage of pregnant women and their infants. The average subscriber is a married woman living in a household with a family income between 200-300% of the Federal Poverty Level. A pregnant woman and her infant(s) enrolled in AIM receive their care from one of nine health plans participating in the program. The pregnant woman participates in the cost of her health care services through a low cost subscriber contribution. The State of California supplements the subscriber contribution to cover the full cost of care. AIM is funded from tobacco tax funds. For an application call toll free: 1-800-433-2611.

    Healthy Families Program – Offsite LinkThe Healthy Families ProgramOffsite Link provides low cost health, dental and vision coverage to uninsured children in low wage families. Families participating in the program choose their health, dental and vision plan. Families pay premiums between $4-$9 per child per month (maximum of $27 per family). The State and Federal government provide funding to the HFP. For an application call toll free: 1-888-747-1222.

  13. Marilynn says:

    Erin says:
    05.24.2011 at 10:25 AM

    The African-American family has issues that can be quickly or easily solved by government policies or economic initiatives. Many more black children were born inside of intact marriages before the War on Poverty was enacted in the 60′s.

    Erin the babies born to single women were just given up for adoption. What would you rather see, the babies given up for adoption or mothers with their own children on welfare?

    Or I could put it like this – if your mom was dirt poor and desperate to keep you, would you prefer to have been taken away from her forever or would you rather be with her raised in less than ideal circumstances? I have a real soft spot for keeping familes together obviously.

    I do think all the ideas to make marriage a priority are good. With efforts to make marriages stronger just remember that the rise in single motherhood is not necessarily so much a decrease in the way we value marriage as it is an increase in a single woman ability to raise her child rather than give it up for adoption. Women have always and will always want to get married. We are white dress hardwired. I don’t think anyone needs to worry that marriage is out of fashion.

  14. Erin says:

    Erin the babies born to single women were just given up for adoption. What would you rather see, the babies given up for adoption or mothers with their own children on welfare?

    Neither. I would like to see folks get married before pregnancy is even in the picture.

  15. Marilynn Huff says:

    Sure, everyone would if they had their druthers, in fact I’m sure they would have preferred to have been married before they got pregnant as well.

    I’m actually just looking at the statistics and I don’t think a spike in unmarried parents raising children necessarily indicates that marriage is any less popular than it use to be. The number of marriages per year is probably about the same on any given year in the past 50 years. The number of births to married women is probably about the same on any given year over the last 50 years and the number of births to unmarried women is also probably lower than ever due to birth control and abortion but those unmarried women that do give birth are not giving those children up for adoption to the same extent as in years past because States make it possible to keep their families intact.
    Work to keep unmarried women from getting pregnant is a very good thing. It will probably decrease the number of unmarried parents raising children. I agree.

    There will always be children born to unmarried females. I may be jumping to conclusions, but I’m inclined to believe unmarried parents give their children to married adoptive couples. Either because the children would be better off in an adoptive setting or because the number of single parents raising children would decrease resulting in a more pleasant environment for traditional families in the same neighborhood?

    I tried real hard to right that in a respectful way. Does my question make more sense now. I’m asking what you think the best course of action is once the unmarried people have actually had the baby.

  16. Marilynn Huff says:

    I meant I was inclined to believe that you preferred it when children born to unmarried parents were just given up for adoption rather than kept and raised.