Having children is more often than not a joyful occasion, that is what makes women feel complete – the ability to demonstrate fertility and reproduce is attractive to most men (especially in Africa), but these only happens when there is a solid relationship and unconditional love. In marriage, a woman feels the strong arms of stability, a secure future and relative peace. Children are the product of the most intimate relationship between a man and a woman and complete families. Children are blessings of Allah, especially when conceived within the right context.
While having children outside of wedlock has been practiced from time immemorial, the word baby mama and baby daddy is quite new to our lexicon. “Baby mama” and “baby daddy” are actually, of all things, grammar of the African Americans. Linguists refer to it as African-American Vernacular English, Black English or, since the 1990s, Ebonics.
It is basically two people who are not married to each other having sex resulting in the female getting pregnant. Baby mamas are unwed mothers of any age. The fathers of their children are baby daddies. From baby mama, and the attendant problems of having children outside of wedlock, there are now “Baby mama drama” which has become a common expression for the many conflicts associated with baby mamas, baby daddies, families and friends involved.
I define the Baby Mama drama as the constellation of circumstances, people, relationships, behaviours, and negative effects related in any way to two people making a baby together when they are not married to each other.
Baby mama takes care of the child while baby daddy has moved on to some other unsuspecting ladies. Meanwhile he is not fulfilling his financial obligations to the child since he was hardly financially or emotionally ready to bear a child. Stories abound about baby mama and baby daddy drama all the time. They hardly agree on anything or cooperate with one another. Also, approaches to raising the child may be different. Some of our celebrities have multiple baby mamas before finally deciding to settle down; if they settle down at all. They make all these things look okay. It is clearly not, it complicates one’s life.
Baby mamas and even baby daddies may be children themselves. An array of people may be brought into the troubles of baby mamas and their baby daddies. The baby mama many times is in conflict with some other woman who is seeing the baby daddy or has a child with him or ends up marrying the baby daddy. There is rivalry, suspicion, anger and bitter quarrels.
Families, friends, colleagues and even strangers can get caught up in all the drama.
One of the biggest problems in the baby mama drama is that relationships between baby mamas and baby daddies are often fleeting and unstable. While some baby daddies try to actively partake in the parenting of the child or children involved and share custody, some others do not want to have anything to do with the baby mama or child at all and our laws in Nigeria hardly compel them to. The onus therefore lies on the mother and her family to take charge and care for her baby.
The children may be abused emotionally, physically, or sexually. There is an African adage that it takes a village to raise a child that is the two parents, relations, friends, religious leaders and the society at large.
Some parents have little interest in raising children; others can’t or won’t support the kids. Some baby mamas or baby daddies drink excessively or party, or are just plain irresponsible or unprepared and their behaviour can lead to abuse, abandonment, or neglect of their children.
Those effects are the unfortunate fallout from a culture that no longer values marriage as a necessary step before making babies, and while there are no adequate statistics on number of babies born outside of wedlock, every year several births are recorded to mothers who were not married and probably didn’t want the babies in the first place.
ISLAMIC POSITION ON BABIES BORN OUTSIDE OF WEDLOCK
First of all, it is to be stated that adultery and producing a child out of wedlock is indeed an enormous sin in Islam. In Islamic Law, if the child is born out of wedlock, the father shall have no legal rights over this child; nor will the child carry or be known by the name of his father; nor can the child inherit from his father; nor can the father inherit from his child; nor will the father be given legal custody of the child. Under Islamic Law, the child will stay with the mother, will carry and be known by his mother’s name, will be a legal heir to the property of his mother, and the mother will inherit his property. The father of the child born out of wedlock has absolutely no legal right towards the child in Islam.
However, if the child was born when one was a non-practicing Muslim, he/she should be assured of the promise of the Messenger of Allah who said, “Islam wipes out all of one’s past sins.” In other words, on becoming a more conscious Muslim, every single sin committed prior to this, no matter how enormous and ugly they were, will be blotted out and one is free of all sins. Furthermore, Allah’s infinite compassion is such that, upon embracing the tenets of Islam, you are not only absolved of all of your past sins, you carry over all of the good deeds you ever happened to do in the past: It is indeed a double mercy.
Secondly, as for the child born out of wedlock, like every other child, he or she is born sinless; it does not carry the stigma of the sin of the father or mother or both. A basic principle in Islamic justice is that no one bears the blame for another’s fault. A child born as a result of an illegitimate relationship suffers no adverse discrimination on account of his parents’ sin.
If you are already a baby mama or daddy, there would be feelings of being partner less, loneliness, a directionless shadow sifting through the air. Regrets upon regrets. You will feel afraid of your own loneliness and often feel like somewhere along the course of life, you took the wrong turn. The world would seem suddenly scary and unpredictable. You will be constantly judged.
You will probably ask yourself every day - what wrong choices have I made, that I’m alone at… (fix the age) and saddled with a child? There would be tears, the kind of guttural sobbing that can only be released in the safety of solitude. Parenting is hard even with two parents, and now you have to do it mostly alone. Do not despair, there is always light at the end of every tunnel.
I enjoin you to start a new chapter; your old story could be about lust, sex and relationships, heartbreak, and pain. Story of getting entangled with someone that wasn’t ready for all the responsibilities that comes with having sex.
This new story could be about discovery, real love, living according to the injunctions of the Qur’an and Sunnah and taking care of that baby to ensure he/she does not make similar mistakes. The baby is innocent after all.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 6 Surah Anaam verse 54: When those come to you who believe in Our Signs, say: "Peace be on you! Your Lord had inscribed for Himself (the rule of) Mercy. Verily if any of you did evil in ignorance, and thereafter repented and amended (his conduct), Lo! He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
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