No Wedding No Womb Part 2: Clarity and What We Can Do To Help

Yesterday’s post on the No Wedding No Womb Campaign received a lot of hits. A few ladies posted some insightful thoughts on the campaign as well as what they thought about the message that was being promoted. I admit that I am new to the NWNW movement and can not profess to support something that I have not researched in detail. I changed the title of yesterdays post from “Why I support the NWNW Campaign” to “The NWNW Campaign.”

While the founder of NWNW is not coming from a Christian perspective, I still feel that she is promoting positivity in the black community and trying to raise awareness and help people to have standards when it comes to relationships, sex and parenting. I belive that just because an organization is not Christian based does not mean that Christians can’t receive little nuggets from the message the organization is promoting.

The campaign is not preaching abstinence and is not coming from a biblical perspective but at least NWNW is trying to educate and encourage the black community as well as assist in preventing unplanned pregnancy. The org is also promoting two parent homes and that is something that the black community is severely lacking. I was told by one single mother who follows the founder of NWNW on Twitter, that her message is negative and depressing to single mothers. I am not sure if this is true because I have only read a few articles on the NWNW website. What I do know is that we aren’t helping single parents by putting them down or passing judgement on them. It is only by God’s grace that all of us who have had sex outside of marriage, did not conceive children. All children are a blessing and a gift from God, no matter what circumstance brought them into this world.  Passing judgement, tearing people down or trying to scare teens into not having sex will not work as productive long-lasting preventative measures.

I do not believe that every couple who has a child together should get married but if people were selective in who they date and had a standard to require a wedding ring before giving up the goods, more children would be born into committed two parent homes. We as a people need to have self respect, standards with regards to relationships and concentrate more on our futures and purpose in life than we do our outward appearance, material possessions and whose hooking up with who. AIDS and STDs are real and they affect the black community more than any other population. Sex isn’t worth dying for. It is best to not have sex before marriage  (read 1 Cor 6:18-20) but if you can not wait, you MUST use protection.

 There are many different components that factor into when and why people start having sex and if those issues aren’t addressed, young people will continue to be sexually active, have children outside of marriage and possibly won’t be able to receive the No Wedding No Womb message.

  • What sexual messages teens are exposed to in their home, through the media and while their out with their friends (viewing pornography) will determine how they see themselves and how they value sex.
  • Many young people are surrounded by friends, family and others in their communities that aren’t married and have multiple children. Viewing this can make young people feel like having sex and babies outside of marriage is normal.
  • When young people have been abused sexually, physically or verbally, they can start to look for love in all the wrong places and find themselves pregnant or getting someone pregnant. They weren’t trying to have a baby, but in the midst of being sexually active, a baby was made.

The question becomes, are campaigns like NWNW affective in reaching these young people who have been exposed to so much and may have unhealthy views on sex, pregnancy, parenthood and marriage? The campaign maybe affective for some and not for others. 

Each of us can do the following to promote healthy holy living: single people can spread the news to others that is ok to be single and you can be healthy, happy and content in your singlehood. Single parents can continue to give their children their all and be dedicated examples. Single parents can admit that life with children and no partner is difficult and not ideal, and teach those around them how not to end up being single parents. Those that are married can promote stable, healthy, long lasting godly marriage because many people in our society never get to see that. Everyday each of us are walking billboards. Ask yourself, what are you promoting? Pray for those around you, witness to your family and friends, let them know that God loves them and wants whats best for them. Share your testimony of how God brought you out of difficult situations and made you whole again. This is my purpose in life, to spread the good news of Christ through sharing my testimony and lifestyle with others.

The No Wedding No Womb Campaign

I recently discovered the No Wedding No Womb Campaign and I have much respect for the message that Christelyn D Karazin is promoting to the black community. Ms. Karazin is the founder and organizer of No Wedding No Womb! (NWNW) an online initiative to address and find solutions for the 72 percent out-of-wedlock birthrate in the African American community.

As a social worker supervisor, daily I work with my staff to teach life skills and parenting skills to single mothers. Our clients are getting younger and younger and it saddens me to see a 21 year old woman with four children; the mom doesn’t have an education or a job, she doesn’t receive any child support from the fathers and limited family support. I believe that majority of women today do NOT know their value or their worth. If women knew that they were MORE than baby makers, they would have standards, take pride in their lifestyle and know that they deserve to be happy, healthy successful and loved, not hurt, angry and abandoned to raise babies on their own. The cycle must stop!!

I have a lot of respect for the NWNW campaign because their trying to educate the black community and break the cycle of black children continuing to be born into single parent homes. We must teach people about the importance of healthy relationships, monogamy, marriage and planning to have children. Gone needs to be the days of hooking up with people and shortly afterwards discovering that your pregnant. That behavior is dangerous, irresponsible and unfair to the children that continue to be born into broken homes. I am not saying that all children born into single parent homes are neglected, but studies show that children benefit from two parent homes. Every relationship/marriage doesn’t work out as planned but at least some people try to make those relationships work, even though they fail.

Here is a little information about NWNW:

  • What Is No Wedding No Womb?

No Wedding No Womb is a primary call directed to the black community to take action against the rampant births of children who are born without physical, financial and emotional protection.  It is a call for accountability for both MEN and WOMEN to be mindful of the huge responsibility and privilege they have when bringing a child into the world.

NWNW is a double entendre.  The phrase has two meanings.  The primary meaning of “wedding and wedded”, of course, is the marriage ceremony.  The secondary definition means “devotion.”  I chose “womb,” because that is the life source of children, it is the place that feeds, protects and nurtures the child.

  • Does No Wedding No Womb Seek to Bash Single Mothers?
  • Absolutely not.  NWNW calls for both MEN and WOMEN to put the needs of children first, and advocates that couples abstain from having children until they are emotionally, physically and financially able to care for them.
  • What gives you the right to do this?

I’m a baby mamma’ LISTEN TO MY MISSION: 65535 NO WEDDING NO WOMB-2.’  I do this for my daughter, and my daughter’s daughter, and all the children of our future.

To read more about NWNW and discover the answers to the questions below, please checkout the campaigns website

http://www.noweddingnowomb.com/

  • When you say, NWNW, are you saying that everyone should get married?
  • Is this just another abstinence program?
  • Are you bashing black men?
  • When you say, “No Wedding No Womb!” are you advocating that women get abortions?
  • Aren’t you being  judgmental?

**QUESTION** What do you think about the campaign? What do you agree of disagree with? Do you think the campaign will be affective?

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Single Moms, Dating & Protecting Their Children From Child Abuse

After watching Teen Mom on MTV yesterday, I wanted to publish a post regarding the importance of mother’s selecting appropriate men to be around their children. On Teen Mom, a single mother named Amber kicked her baby’s father out of the house, only to allow an ex con with no job, car or money, whom she met a Wal-Mart a few weeks before, to move into her home with her 2-year-old daughter. She allows the man to baby-sit her child, change her diaper and dress her. The child appears uneasy and uninterested in the boyfriend, though Amber tries to get the child to hug and play with him. After the episode I began to ask myself why some young mother’s continue to make such horrible decisions when it comes to dating and who is around their children.

As a social worker, I see countless cases every year where a young mother left her children alone with a boyfriend and the boyfriend repeatedly physically or sexually abused her children. The children eventually report the abuse to a friend, family member or teacher, CPS is called and the children are removed from their home. As mothers, we must make our children our top priority and protect them no matter what.

I googled this topic and found an awesome article explaining why mother’s often times find themselves making bad choices when it comes to men as well as an awesome campaign and resources to prevent child abuse. Please review the excerpts I posted below and click the links to read the articles in full.

Dr. Melva Green, a clinical psychiatrist, said the issue of child abuse by a mother’s companion is striking because it points to other issues. Green reports that it’s not an issue of good mother or bad mother but an issue of mother’s being out of touch. She also adds that it’s not a race issue but more about socio-economics. In some cases moms leaving the home to provide for a child’s physical needs, can’t afford childcare, and because their busy working to make ends meet they are unable to see the potential dangers. Green explained that there is also an emotional burden on the men which doesn’t justify the abuse but might help explain the increase in violence towards children. Some men left to care for the children become upset, “resentment plays itself out, and the child is the victim.”

New York’s Administration for Children Services noticed the trend and decided to take action of their own. Late this summer they kicked off a campaign entitled, “Be Careful Who Cares For Your Child.” The campaign includes radio ads from celebrities such as Darryl McDaniels from RUN DMC. Posters are being posted on New York City subways and throughout communities all across the city.

For mothers she advices, “Read that child. If a child is not able communicate but you see that when you’re about to leave them alone, they are more clingy than usual, more restless, any thing in excess, then they might not be comfortable being left alone with that person.” Green also cautions against a rush to judgment. She says that because mothers are told to trust their instincts and some don’t, it’s easy to blame mothers for their perceived ineptness. Instead she says it’s important to remember that those mothers may have been victimized at some point in their lives thus affecting a cycle. She believes advocating self-care of mothers in which they evaluate their emotional well-being and stress levels will help them take care of themselves, and in turn their children.

http://www.thegrio.com/news/moms-told-beware-who-is-watching-your-kids.php

When choosing a caregiver, parents should select someone who:

  • Has experience caring for babies and young children
  • Is patient and mature enough to care for a fussy, overexcited or crying baby
  • Understands that young children must always be watched
  • Will never shake, hit, yell at, make fun of, or withhold food from a child as punishment
  • Does not abuse alcohol or drugs, or carry a weapon, and will not surround a child with others who may be drinking, using or selling drugs, or carrying weapons.

There are warning signs of a potentially dangerous caregiver include someone who is:

  • Angry or severely impatient when children have tantrums, cry or misbehave
  • Violent and/or controlling with their partners
  • Physically or verbally abusive with children
  • An abuser of alcohol and drugs, including marijuana
  • Using prescription medications that have bad side effects or make them drowsy, or  
  • Not trust worthy for any reason

Resources

  • The Parent Helpline at 800-342-7472 or visit www.preventchildabuseny.org
  • Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Hotline 800-621-HOPE (800-621-4673), TDD (Hearing Impaired) 866-604-5350
  • To Report child abuse and neglect call 800-342-3720 or 311

http://www.nyc.gov/html/acs/html/child_safety/care_giver_campaign.shtml

Sins of The Mother

In Feb of 2010, Life Time aired a movie titled Sins of The Mother. Here’s a summary of the movie: Graduate student Shay Hunter (Beharie) reaches a crossroad in her life when she finds herself broke, burned out and unable to cope with the stress of school. With nowhere else to go, she embarks on a journey home to Tacoma, Washington, to face her abusive, alcoholic, estranged mother, Nona (Scott). When she returns home, Shay finds Nona living life as a recovered alcoholic, with a new daughter and completely transformed. Thrown by her mother’s new path, Shay must now accept Nona’s changes and influences, including her sponsor Lois (Rogers) — all forcing Shay to move past her pent-up anger and awaken her own relationships.

Read more: SINS OF THE MOTHER – Lifetime Movie Starring Jill Scott | Daemon’s TV http://www.daemonstv.com/2010/02/21/sins-of-the-mother-lifetime-movie-starring-jill-scott/#ixzz0xRD3XIdw

I thought the movie was deep because even though the mother had gotten clean, was going to church and being a good mother to her younger daughter, her older daughter still struggled with the abuse and neglect that she suffered at the hands of her mother from the past. The young lady had to find peace and forgive her mother so that she could have a happy life and healthy relationships. If you haven’t seen the movie, I suggest you check it out.

As a social worker/counselor, everyday I see or hear about cases where parents made bad decisions that had grave effects on their children. If a mother chooses the wrong man to date and allows him to have access to her children, the children could end up being molested or abused, this happens everyday. If parents don’t ensure that their children go to school everyday AND teach them at home, the children will not flourish educationally and may grow up to be illiterate.

People need to understand the purpose of becoming a mother. It is not: to collect money from the State, to keep a man from leaving, to have children to boss around and to wait on your hand and foot and it is not to have someone who will love you and never leave you. I believe women should plan to become mothers after they are in healthy stable marriages. I belive that the purpose of being a parent is to raise up men and women for the kingdom of God, to cultivate children and teach them how to be intelligent, confident, productive, kind, compassionate, giving citizens.

When people abuse their authority as a mother and mistreat children or expose them to things that are harmful to them, the children in turn grow up to be angry, struggle with feelings of rejection, low self-esteem and more. As parents we can’t afford to live our lives like we are single and without kids. When we made the decision to become parents, we gave up our right to stay out all night, do what we want and only care for ourselves. We must seek help if we have unresolved issues that cause us to not be the parents that we have been called to be. We must seek mentors and spiritual guidance from our leaders if we feel that we don’t have a good enough understanding about how to parent appropriately. Our children need us to be alert, aware, protecting them, teaching them, loving, encouraging and supporting them. When we sin it affects them. When we mess up, we must apologize to our kids and God and ask God to help us get it right the next time.

As the movie Sins of The Mother showed, even when the mother/parent gets themselves stable and cleaned up, the children don’t miraclously forget the pain of the past. As parents we must live good lives and be examples today so that our children’s tomorrow can be bright.

As a woman embarking on motherhood, I have come to understand that the things that I do, say, eat, meditate on, all affect my baby. If I engage in strenuous physical activities, always find myself arguing with someone, eating horribly and meditating on worry filled thoughts, I would be causing harm to my unborn baby. It’s my job as a mommy to be, to stay calm and healthy so that my baby can grow strong on the inside of me. I have a choice, to nurture or harm the life inside of me.

Prayer for Mothers

Dear Lord, thank you for all of the mothers and mothers to be. Thank you for blessing us with children. Lord help us to be the best mothers that we can be. Guide us and give us wisdom so that we live lives that bring you glory and so that can become blessing to our children. Help us to be patient and keep our tempers. Give us insight on how to handle our children when they are misbehaving. For the single mothers, send helpers and mentors their way to help them with their children and to show them how to be better women and mothers. For the mothers that are married, Lord help us to parent as a team with our husbands. Help us to allow our husbands to be the head of the house and support them in the decisions that they make. Lord forgive us for the sins of the past. Help us to forgive ourselves and to be the best women, wives and mothers that we can be. Thank you for the grace needed to be awesome moms. In Jesus name, AMEN!

Dear Mama: Support For The Single Mother

Today I woke up with single parents on my heart. I have family members that are single mothers and I see the difficulties they sometimes face with raising their children on their own. As a social worker, I work with single parent families on a daily basis. I see first hand what struggles parents (majority young single mothers) face to raise their children, work multiple jobs, help with homework, keep the house clean, food in the fridge and provide a safe but inexpensive environment for the family to live in. It takes a strong woman to take care of her family alone. Those single mothers that are believers have Holy Ghost on the inside of them, leading, guiding and providing for them. We’d all be lost without Holy Spirit.

It is not God’s will for families to only have one parent in the home but life happens, people make decisions and sometimes people’s partners make decisions for them. The world has gotten away from godly principles and has taken prayer out of everything. No wonder the world is upside down when it comes to morals and values. I want to educate you on this rising epidemic of single parenthood. Then I want to encourage the single mothers that are reading this post as they continue to trust God and be the best mothers that they can be. I have much love and respect for any woman who despite their circumstance, gives their child the gift of child life and works hard to provide, love, care, support, teach, discipline and raise that child in the things of the Lord. God bless you mothers!!

Here are some stats from the website Project Single Moms from 2003

The number of single-mother families increased from three million in 1970 to 10 million in 2003, while the number of single-father families grew from less than 500,000 to 2 million.  Of the 10 million single mothers, over 3.1 million are Black single mothers.

 Why so many single mothers?  The rise in single-parent households developed, the study claims, for three main reasons – a larger proportion of births occurring in unmarried women in the 1990s than in the 1960s and 1970s, the rise in divorce among couples with children as well as the increase in Black and Latina men leaving their families due to incarceration.

 The U.S. Census Bureau released these statistics about Black Single Mothers in America based on data collected in a 2002 study:

Ø        Approximately 1,169,000 black single mothers – or 37 percent – had graduated from high school only, compared to 2,235,000 or 35 percent – of white single mothers.

Ø        The number of black single mothers with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 315,000, was significantly lower than that of white single mothers with comparable education, 904,000.

Ø        Twenty percent of black single mothers in the study had been divorced, but 62 percent had never been married – suggesting that black single mothers – more than any ethnic group – were most likely to have never been married.

Ø        Nearly one-third of all single mothers – 32 percent – live below the poverty line.  However, the condition is more acute for black single mothers; 38 percent, or 1.2 million of 3.1 million black single mothers raise families below the poverty line

 http://www.projectsinglemoms.com/singlemomsinamerica/statistics.html

 Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007

 An estimated 13.7 million parents had custody of 21.8 million children under 21 years of age while the other parent lived somewhere else.

  • More than one-quarter (26.3 percent) of all children under 21 years of age lived with one of their parents, while the other parent lived outside the household.
  • One-quarter (24.6 percent) of all custodial parents had incomes below poverty, while 18.2 percent of those who received at least some child support payments were below poverty.
  • About 62.7 percent of the $34.1 billion in child support due was reported as received, averaging $3,350 per custodial parent who was due support.
  • About three-quarters (76.3 percent) of custodial parents due support received at least some payments in 2007, which included 46.8 percent who received the full amount and 29.5 percent who received a portion of the total due.
  • Child support represented 47.9 percent of the average income for custodial parents below poverty who received full support.

  Over half (57.6 percent) of custodial parents received some type of  noncash support from noncustodial parents on behalf of their children.

  • Over one-quarter (27.3 percent) of custodial parents contacted a government office for issues related to collecting child support.

 http://singleparents.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=singleparents&cdn=parenting&tm=19&gps=344_311_1020_567&f=00&su=p997.1.168.ip_p284.9.336.ip_p504.3.336.ip_&tt=11&bt=1&bts=1&st=24&zu=http%3A//www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-237.pdf

 Now that we know the facts, we know how to pray. The single parent homes need our prayers. Pray for salvation, strength, wisdom, peace, support, godly counsel, resources and increase in income for the parents. Pray for peace, comfort, obedience, a helpful spirit and all needs being met for the children. We need to support those around us who are struggling. Offer to babysit, take groceries over, invite them to church, give the family rides sometimes when their transportation is down, give hugs, encouraging words, send up a prayer. Whatever you are being led by the spirit to do. We are not put on this earth for ourselves but to glorify God and be a blessing to others.

 A Single Mom Prays For Financial Help

 Precious Lord, I’m on my knees, asking for your help. There are more bills coming in then money. I feel like I’m sinking in a pit and I can’t get out. I’m caught in a endless cycle, living paycheck to paycheck. My head is going under Lord. I’m drowning in my debt.

 Rescue me! Hear my cries! You are my source, Lord, not my pay check. You are my provider. You own the whole earth, and every good thing I have has come from your hand.

 I lay it all down, Lord. I give it all to you; my rent, utilities, car payment, insurance, food, clothing, daycare, everything. Teach me how to handle my finances wisely so that I can bring glory to you and set a godly example for my children. Forgive me, Lord, for the times I’ve been wasteful and ungrateful with the money you have given me. Speak to the father of my children about the support that he should be providing. Convict his heart without me having to wrestle him into court.

Thank you, Lord, that you will meet all of my needs. I know that you have heard my prayer, and before I’ve even finished speaking your hand is already at work. I will rest in that knowledge. I pray through Jesus Christ who has provided for me, amen.

 Phil 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:5 Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path.