Mothers love and are proud of their children. This is true for the most part; since we have certainly heard of mothers who treat their children in ways that would tell us that they couldn’t really and truly love and care for their offspring. However, many women who live in the inner cities see their children as one of the few things they have in their lives to be proud of, and therefore, it is, for them, the power and pride of their nether regions; since you will hear them saying loudly and proudly “mi good-good tun up, look pan mi pickney dem.”

With this way of thinking, it often times; especially for the very young mothers, become a competition as to whose children dressed the best, whose children could wear the best jewellery, could dance the best, etc. I have spoken to young mothers; between 14 and 18 who got pregnant deliberately, because their peers were having children, and they wanted to fit in so they could also feel the pride of having something (or in this case, someone) to boast about, because they feel as if there was nothing else in their lives that was worthy of prize or praise.  Some have also procreated so as I have been told “ to have someone to love them unconditionally and someone they can love unconditionally as well,” since they felt unloved and unwanted.

But one would want to think that having one child or 2 children would be enough evidence of the power of the vagina, but yet, they keep having children; sometimes with 8 different surnames, as if they are creating their own version of the United Nations; having “nations” of children for different men. Someone once distastefully joked that some of these women could give ALL their bagga children the SAME first names, and just call them by their surnames, as NONE of the surnames would be repeated, and there would be no confusion. I remember laughing at the time, as the very idea was in fact funny to me. However, after driving away from the location where that conversation took place, I started to think about it, and why is this so rampant in so many inner city communities.

We know the usual stories, of women being dependent on men for their financial survival, and therefore when one such relationship ends, another relationship starts and another baby is born, and on and on, and so on and so forth. But does anyone REALLY stop to think about the psyche of these women, beyond the “transactional purpose” of these relationships? Is it that they could have had multiple relationships and not have multiple children, or was it necessary for them to keep breeding, as each man wanted his own child, or was it even the idea that these women believed that

1. they were required to have a child for each man, since he was in fact the one feeding her and her other child, or

2. was it the thinking that having a child for that man, would in fact hold onto him; even though that clearly did not work with the previous man or men?

Was it that the “good-good” would eventually hold onto one of these men; and he would stay and be the “minder” of the 4-10 children who now called her mommy and herself? I would drive through my former community, or would run into women I grew up with from this community and I would never be asked the type of car I drive, the names or numbers of degrees I had, where, or what type of work I did, where I now lived, or just what I do with my life generally. What was ALWAYS asked though, was how many children I had; not IF I had children, as in their way of thinking, having children is SO important to them and their identity and SUCH a source of pride, that they can’t even consider the idea of a woman NOT having, much less, in my case, not WANTING a child.

At first, this used to annoy the VERY bejesus out of me, and so I would avoid talking to these women, almost like the plaque. But I have LONG gotten over my annoyance, and have gotten to a place where I actually understand their source of pride regarding their “good-good” and the children that they bore from the use of said “good-good.” You see, we ALL have a NEED to feel accepted by others and to have pride in SOMETHING, as otherwise life would seem purposeless. When you are in the company of others whose ways of thinking, and source of pride is based on even the basicness of sex and the miracle of giving birth to something that is now a tangible testament of their “good-good,” then THAT is what takes on importance and will continually be what they pride, talk and boast about, and the things that others deem as their source/s of success, will not even factor in these women’s existence, if in THEIR circle; their day-to-day reality, this means little, or NOTHING to them. Is this to say that some of these women don’t want houses and cars and degrees as well? Hell tuh dah N.O!!!! However, for some, these will never be what is most important to them in light of where they live and what they and their peers see as being important.

The “tunning up of the good-good” is therefore psychologically important to these women. Their  ability to procreate and thereafter, to flaunt the “fruits of their labour” is what is for THEM, their most important driving force, and therefore THEIR purpose in this often times seemingly hopeless existence. It doesn’t have to make sense to you; you truly do not have to understand or agree with this for it to be real; it just….IS!!!!

The next time you turn up your nose at the next young lady you see loudly and proudly lauding her “good-good” and parading her 2-10 children, instead of judging, try putting yourself in her place, and see if her having only that to be proud of, isn’t the antecedent to her present reality, and if there is actually anything you can do to change the trajectory of, if not her life, then that of her offspring. Sometimes ALL it takes is the time to stop, sit, and talk and TRULY listen so we can understand where other people are coming from.

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