(Excerpt from a conversation during a rehearsal for a play last night….
Director: So this weekend, we will be doing a photoshoot. I don’t know what day as yet but just be prepared.
Male Cast Member: If it is Saturday. I can’t make it. I have a Baby Shower
I turned and watched him with a puzzled look.
Director: Umm you have a play opening soon. Do you have to go to the shower?
MCM: Yes, it is important
Stefan: Why? What man goes to a Baby Shower?
MCM: Well it is sort of a big lime that will turn into a party
Stefan: I’m confused, why are there men at a Baby Shower? Boy you don’t have to go
MCM: Well I do.
Female Cast Member: Is it your baby the shower is for?
My mouth opens and doesn’t close til I feel the dribble forming
The reason this shocked me was the fact that this cast member is 18 years old and in Sixth Form!! He calls his mother to pick him up from rehearsal every night. How does he have a baby? How does he get someone pregnant? If you have ever seen this person you would swear that they look like 15 but whatever the case, he obviously knew where to put it and what to do and is now going to become a father next month.
I stared at him a little while longer and he kept going “WHAT!” but I just couldn’t get over the fact that this teen had gotten someone pregnant and was being so non-chalant about it.
On further investigation (I pulled him aside and asked him his business – YES Ah FASS!), I discovered that he is fine with it and that parents on both sides are going to help out since they are both still in school. I asked if she considered not having the baby and he told me her parents were Anglican so it was out of the question. (I kept my thoughts about Anglicanism not actually being a real religion to myself at this point since it wouldn’t have added value to the conversation).
He then made the statement that stuck in my head..:
“My chile go get handle real good!”
I didn’t know how to translate the statement properly but I just assumed it meant that he is going to be a good father. Alas I have issues with it
Hearing him talk, I suddenly recalled an experience I had when I was about 19 or 20 in which I was told that someone’s period was six weeks late. Well I didn’t panic in front of her but in the privacy of my room I was sweating like a whore in church. Thoughts came flooding through my head and they all were screaming that I wasn’t ready for this. Sigh at that point I wanted to go back in time to that particular Panorama Semis and just not leave with her but it was too late. She had said thatshe was “on the pill” at the time. Thinking back it may have been Panadol she was talking about!
I tried to rationalize in my head all that I would do but then the most significant thought hit me – I didn’t want HER to be the mother of my child – And with that realisation came prayer and fasting and the promise to God to turn my life around if he spared me from having a child with someone I considered a lil bat-shit crazy but who I knew had a good heart. I wondered if the child would get her crazies and how I would deal with that.
Period came. Crisis was over and I avoided her like the plague afterwards. I know it was wrong but hey I was young and I didn’t exactly think logical back then.
Cut to present day and on hearing that this 18 year old is going to be a dad and I panic as I think about all the stuff this child will need and demand from a parent and how hard it is to raise a child. It still scares me to think about it now even though I am more financially secure to be able to handle it (I think). How is he and his girlfriend going to cope? Flashes of the MTV show “Teen Mom” are now in my head and well it doesn’t take a genius to know that their lives will never be the same again and that there are going to be tough times ahead.
This is not the first time I encountered a young man who was having child at such an early age. During another production, one of the dancers, who flirted with EVERY woman in the cast, took two nights off from rehearsal because his baby boy was born. The boy was 17, clueless and confident in his own abilities. I wonder how that baby is doing now?
Look, I know that no child brought into this world is an accident and all children deserve love and affection etc etc…. but come now, can we not be more responsible. People still go about having sex because it is the “grown up” thing to do but they never think of the consequences. Why are people so careless? Do people really think about the sacrifices when bringing a child into this world? When I hear stories on teenage moms on their 3rd of 4th child with “Baby Daddy No..3 or 4” I just wonder……Do people deserve the right to have children?
Having children is a gift that some people are not privileged to have. My friend Clint said to me today that “Every important thing we do in life we have to sit an exam for, but any old fool can become a parent”. Now this is not an indictment on the 18 year old but on society in general.
I want to advocate that we find a way to lock off the reproductive hormones of everyone in the world going forward and only give them the ability once they pass a one year course on parenting (with a year long psychological evaluation) component.
People should have to earn the right to have children!!!
Granted my plan would see the increased occurrence of indiscriminate sex and probably the rise in fornication and STIs but umm isn’t that happening now anyway? What we need to do is prevent people from aborting children because it will interfere with their lives or from abusing children because they are having man/woman/financial troubles.
We have too many damaged people walking around today and way too many orphans that nobody wants who continue to grow up with a slight disadvantage and thereby limiting their potential to excel. I am serious here.
We need to imbed a chip at birth or something. We just need to do something! There are people who walk around with their babies as if they were dolls or miniature versions of themselves and dress buy brand name clothing and shoes and jewellery for these infants, yet some can’t afford to buy books for these same children alter on. It is as if they loved the children when they looked like dolls but as they got older, the effect wore off. The children are now problematic.
I recently met a child who, despite passing for QRC, had not a single book or uniform a week before school was to open. Daddy was absent (well a birthday present every year covered his duties apparently) and mommy was overextended. This child deserved a fighting chance. Thankfully, the child was blessed with a godmother who came to the rescue but there are hundreds of children out there who are not so lucky. It kills me inside to think about these things.
Look I don’t claim to have a solution to any of these problems and Lord knows I envy every parent I see with a child, especially the parents of my godchildren, Kai and Diego, but I am scared to think of children who lack the family support or love in their lives. It is disheartening and sometimes I wish I could adopt all of them (well not really maybe two or three if God permitted).
Alas I am a single man and Caribbean law considers me a predator so I will have to look on and spoil my godchildren and the random children I encounter and let their parents worry about the damage I have done to their hard work.
I believe that children are our future….. (you know the rest)
Sorry… I just needed to vent.