Candid Convo: Babies, Birth Control & Nia Long
9/28/2012 12:20:00 PM
So a new study from the Guttmacher Institute reveals what we already know: Women use birth control because it gives them more control over their lives. They reported that staying baby-free for as long as they choose gives them more freedom to achieve their goals, such as completing an education, getting or keeping a job, and supporting themselves financially, according to research set to be published in the journal Contraception. And let's be clear: kids are expensive and while there's never a "perfect" time for them, folks should honestly assess if they are ready for kids - even financially. Research shows not does birth control help women keep their finances in check on a microeconomic, individual level, but it can also reduce the strain on government services like Medicaid.
But having babies is not just about money - but about being ready and responsible for your kids. And having them because you are ready and want to be a parent. Not to trap a man or get money - from him or otherwise. If that's you, Nia Long has a message. “If you're going to have a baby to save a relationship, that doesn't work. If you're going to have a baby to collect a check from someone else, that's not the right thing,” The Best Man actress said during a recent Congressional Black Caucus event. Her comments were made as part of a Planned Parenthood luncheon and Nia shared her belief that mothers being able to care for their children without the help of a man is part of proper planning. Ideally, both parents should be together or married but sometimes, that doesn't happen. In Nia's case, she has chosen to not marry her second child'ss father, basketball player Ime Udoka. It may seem crazy for Nia to have anything to say. She has received backlash and has been the object of ridicule for her decision to have two kids by two different men, and both out of wedlock. Nevertheless, Nia reasoned that she never manipulated a man to receive support. “You have to be responsible and be able to stand on your own,” she said. I can appreciate that. It is smart to wait to have kids until you are ready. Now stuff happens. In that case, make the most of it and stay focused. Try not to have anymore before you are mentally and financially ready.
Earlier this year, Nia told Essence, “Motherhood is not easy, but it’s natural. I worked hard to have the career I wanted, but I’ve also been deliberate about my personal life. None of this is a mistake.” As women, we all must be deliberate about our decisions. Kids should never be a meal ticket. Kids aren't to be used to manipulate a man. And no matter what situation you're in with kids or having one, they are never "mistakes". If you are putting motherhood on the backburner, kudos to you on that. Simply put, the issue here is being deliberate to be the best we can - babies or not. But kids challenge us even more to be reliable, resilient and ready for sacrifice.