A South Carolina-based midwife has launched her own campaign against the "normalization against the baby mama," aimed at the black community.
So far, the "campaign" seems to be comprised of the midwife herself, JayVon Muhammad, and some very enthusiastic pro-marriage supporters. And while Muhammad herself appears to do very important work within underserved communities that desperately need it, offering marriage as a magical solution — and further stigmatizing single mothers — seems incomplete at best.
Unlike many of the "pro-marriage" pundits pontificating about the dissolute black mother, Muhammad is not only herself a woman of color, but works actively to improve their reproductive health:
On a daily basis Urban Midwifery cares for pregnant women who are struggling to meet basic financial and emotional needs. They may be homeless, staying in substandard housing, or an unfavorable environment. They may be unemployed. They may be heart-broken, or embarrassed because their relationship has fallen apart, and now they are pregnant and left to raise a child alone. And, even when women are in (uncommitted) relationships, there is the fear that it might not "work out", and then I will be left to raise my child."
The website goes on to blame the media for "glorifying" the "baby mama," as if the rhetoric of the lazy or unmarried welfare mom never existed or miraculously disappeared. Under "being married is what's up," is this: "Having a spouse to love, care, and provide for you allows you to take your rightful place in the home. The feminine role! The role of wife, mother, first teacher, first nurse."
The financial and personal benefits of a dual income home aside, the idea that simply telling young women that being married will cure homelessness or infant mortality or pull mothers out of poverty neatly overlooks the cycle of poverty, limited employment opportunities, and structural inequality that underpins it. Not to mention suggesting the stigmatization of women while implicitly giving the men who inseminated them a pass.
May I recommend "The Marriage Cure" again?
Campaign Against Normalizing The Baby Mama [Urban Midwifery]