To dump or not to dump, that is too often the question. I read a facebook status recently that blamed and shamed women for dumping their new-born babies. The status was written by a man and below in the comment section, was a sentence written by a woman who was agreeing with every word that he said. He was illustrating his disgust and disrespect for women who get pregnant and then throw their new-borns into toilets, rivers, bins, bags, cupboards and so on.
I read this status and felt my jaw turn to steel and my stomach clench fire. This status, this man and the woman who agreed with him, was talking very specifically about South African women, probably working class South African woman and therefore most likely, black South African woman. The comment was made as if talking about a selfish brat who had grown tired of eating chocolate cake and so rather than having to carry on looking at the slice, had picked it up and thrown it against the wall. How dare they?! How could they be so naive?! I replied to the status by saying something like this:
Look at the state of our country. Look at the underbelly of the working class and unemployed societies. Often sex in these communities is used as a tool or a weapon. Sex is a game of life and death that men play with young girls, women, mothers, sisters, grandmothers and weaker men. Sex is status and loyalty. Sex is money and drugs. Sex is slavery and ownership. There is little place for choice, as a woman, when it comes to a man wanting to open your legs and bury his dry tears inside you as if they were treasure to be protected.
Girls are walking around with bellies bigger than their own bedroom space, not knowing how or why, not know what will come out and from where . Girls are finding themselves cast out, shamed, blamed and facing death because some filth with a penis lost his job or drank too much. Abortions are pricey and terrifying when you have nothing but the skin on your back and no lover to hold your hand. Abortions are deadly when the only option is a coathanger or battery fluid (or something alone those lines, don’t quote me on that).
Women are meant to be celebrated, yet here, on a social platform, women were being shamed. Shamed and blamed for simply trying to stay alive. What are the options? Adoption has now become a welcomed and fashionable option. People are ready and willing to open up their hearts and homes to new life and skin of different colours and hues. We are proud to be a nation that welcomes integration. But, as an adopted child, I have noticed how people are still struggling to truly open to the idea. A mother who puts her child up for adoption is a failed parent, she is something broken or damaged or incapable. A mother who adopts a child is warm, welcoming, full of love, but also broken. We assume that she has adopted because she could not have a child. These assumptions are crippling, heavy and cold. They are chains that stop change, hinder forgiveness and lead to suffering.
A woman who puts her child up for adoption is a being equal, in my option, to a saint. She should be celebrated forever for being brave enough to acknowledge that she, as a woman, could not, and that someone else should, could and might. A woman who adopts a child, in my opinion, is a God. We humans are selfish creatures we want everything for ourselves, to better ourselves. Adopting a child is the most selfless a person could be. How is it that we are not more in awe of these two kinds of women? South Africa is throwing sand over the fire that is femininity. Do not allow yourself to pick up that spade. Let the fire burn.
I understand that dumping a baby is a terrible thing to do. I understand that there are women who are cruel and hateful. But I do not understand how we can hold a woman or a girl, solely responsible for the life that grows in her once the seed has been planted. Rape is real. So many men in our country and in the world are empty and void of emotion. Just because a woman can carry a life does not mean she now is bound to it. Just because a woman can carry a life, does not mean she must. Do not be disgusted with the woman who leaves her new-born in the dustbin, instead be disgusted with the system that failed to protect her and encourage her to make a better decision. Be disgusted with the system that turned so many of our precious men into monsters.
The man who wrote the status has since been better informed and newly educated. He has changed his views and allowed my words to shatter the box that he had created around the issue of black women who dump their new-borns. I was able to shine light on the dark spaces in his mind, I hope to shine light on yours too.