My dear Jil,
I met your younger sister Jilette at a seminar at which I spoke last weekend. Can you deliver this letter to her.
“My dear Jilette, I should be stating the obvious by saying the only reason you’re in university is to get a good education. Boys are totally secondary. Your education is primary. You need to get this clear lest you end up with a mismatched university calendaring – something like “Year 5 Part 2!” Your grade point CANNOT be dropping on account of ANYboy, or on account of any emotional entanglement. Means you lost focus. And I’m telling you what I’ll tell my daughter. Anything otherwise is wickedness.
If you attain EVERY OTHER THING on campus but fail to secure a sound education, what does it profit you? Seek ye first a good certificate. At this stage in your life boys are mere additives. And that’s the truth.
One thing you’ll have to grapple with is your sexuality – your pistillate and ovarian dimensions. This baby mama stuff… Seems to be the latest trend. Trust me when I say becoming a baby mama ain’t as glam as it sounds. (Who dreams up all this stuff anyway?!) It will alter your life trajectory in ways it’s not given to young men and women to contemplate or imagine. Forget all that hip hop glamorisation of baby mamahood! Nobody wears Gucci to change diapers! All that is made for TV drama!
Babies are not shoes. You can’t throw them out when you’re in need of new stuff. You can’t be done with them. They stay with you till you die! Your parents are still stuck with you remember! And it’s been nineteen years or more! From the look of things their redemption is not nigh any time soon. I know people say “it was an accident!” but pregnancies don’t come by accident. Even @MTV agrees!
The truth is you’re surrounded by young tigers – prowling young men with raging hormones. At that age, young men think a lot about sex. (You need to understand boys. They’re going to be milling around you for years). That hormonal surge will not dwindle for another five decades or so. You need to know how to handle it. All that “Baybay, baby!” is not X-Factor audition rendition. Neither is it choir practice. It’s the equivalence of a male toad croaking for sex – lust crooning for opportunistic gratification! The problem is that boys don’t think of fatherhood. All they think about is coition. It’s why many take off like Usain Bolt in a false start when those famous words – “I’m pregnant!” – are uttered. Some demand logical proof of paternity. That is either a proof of his character, or a measure of what he thinks of you.
A pregnancy announcement makes a young man sober. It’s then he realises he’s not ready for fatherhood. The issue of readiness for fatherhood is a big challenge for men. Even married men! I know one young man who took to the median of a highway on realisation he was now a father. He just kept walking!
Don’t become a baby mama. A baby dating a baby can’t be expecting a baby! And the girl is always the one left holding the pail of warm faeces. She’s the one with the bald bulging stomach. Our society is so hypocritical the shame falls on the girl and her family, never the boy or his family. Indeed some mothers will throw down the gauntlet, set up barricades, forswearing the “innocence” of their son. It’s the picture of an African woman removing her head scarf and converting it into a girdle in readiness for fight. The girl is labelled a slut who set out to “hook” the son, as if the boy didn’t have sex!
And those naked pictures of pregnant stars pointlessly cupping their bellies and breasts on magazine covers? It’s just someone trying to put up a brave face and maintaining she’s still super sexy despite pregnancy. Some women are lucky with their figure during pregnancy. Nonetheless your body will undergo changes. You’ll become fatter, your legs will swell, you may find yourself farting, and you have to sleep on your side. Then you have those stretch marks. You’re growing bigger remember. Forget parties! Your sexy clothes won’t fit. And God help you if the chap has a big head or likes football! He’ll butt and kick no end, dynamically disfiguring your belly. You’ll grow darker. (It’s because your body is generating heat. You’re an incubator afterall). Your makeup will run from the heat and sweat. And there’s usually vomiting in the first trimester. Of course there’s tiredness. You’re lugging weight! Up to 3kg at some point. You can’t put it down! The load you’re carrying grows heavier and heavier with each passing month. It’s a live load. (I hope you appreciate your mum now, even though you don’t see eye to eye on issues. And thank God for Dad!)
Your schooling will be delayed. If you’re going to become a lawyer your classmates will become your senior. Your friends will talk about you, behind your back of course…cruel jokes! There’ll be whisperings. And girls gossip! Years after you’ve left school people will still be talking about you. You’ll become a parable.
Of course there’s labour pain! You can’t imagine it. Even with epidural. Ask your mum! Babies just don’t plunk out. You have to breast-feed the baby. Stuff will ooze out of your breasts, and it’s not Peak milk. And you have to stay awake at odd hours to feed the chap. Babies don’t have working hours. Pray you don’t have twins! And then the crying! If he poopoos he cries. If he’s hungry he cries. If he wants to sleep he cries. Weewee, cry!! You have to clean poopoo and wipe bum bum. He’ll pee all over you without warning. The baby will keep cramping your style for years to come. You can’t take him to a party.
And the father of your baby? All he can do is come around, smile, hold your hands. In baseball hat, flicked backward. He’ll still be going to parties. May even go after another girl, a friend of yours. He’ll still be talking jive…baby-babying. You’ll be frustrated with him, feel used. He can’t give you emotional support. Doesn’t get it! You’ll fight often. He’ll complete his own education, in good time too. He’ll go on to get a good job.
You’ll have to go back to school. And there’s no guarantee he’ll marry you. His mother… And if he fails to marry you, you compound your chances later in life. Guys can be funny. And anyway marrying under such circumstances is often a recipe for disaster. It’s a moral obligation marriage, coerced. And like the pregnancy, accidental. Your baby dada will have his life while you baby mama will have nada teaching dada, mama, tata. Is this what you want?
My advice to you? Make friends but…face your studies! Get good grades. Be focused. Be wise. As you grow older, you will begin to hear a wonderfully quaint expression: Boys will be boys! It’s a deep saying.
I remain yours faithfully, the coolest uncle on Planet Earth, LA.”
©Leke Alder 2013