By Adedotun Ajayi
In recent years, there has been a notable surge in what is colloquially referred to as the “Baby Mama Syndrome” among youths. This phenomenon revolves around the increasing number of young individuals choosing to have children outside of wedlock or without a committed relationship.
While it is essential to recognize the importance of personal choices, the growing prevalence of this trend raises concern regarding its implications for the individuals involved and society at large.
The “Baby Mama Syndrome” refers to a situation in which a woman becomes a mother to a child without being in a legally recognized marriage or a committed partnership with the child’s father.
This trend is not limited to women; young men who father children under similar circumstances also fall into this category. The essence of this phenomenon is that individuals are becoming parents without the traditional structures of marriage or a stable, long-term relationship.
While the concept of single parenthood is not new, the specific term “Baby Mama Syndrome” has emerged in recent years to describe the growing trend among youth. Historically, societal norms and values have emphasized the importance of committed relationships and marriage before starting a family.
However, shifts in cultural attitudes and the increasing acceptance of non-traditional family structures have contributed to the rise of Baby Mama Syndrome. Changes in gender roles, evolving notions of personal freedom, and the influence of popular culture have also played a role in shaping this phenomenon over time.
According to experts, the popularity of Baby Mama Syndrome can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the lack of comprehensive sexual education and awareness programs in many societies leaves young individuals uninformed about safe sex practices and effective contraception methods, increasing the risk of unplanned pregnancies.
Additionally, the influence of media and pop culture, which often glamorizes non-committed relationships and single parenthood, has contributed to the normalization of this phenomenon.
The socio-economic factors such as financial instability and limited access to supportive resources also make it challenging for young parents to establish stable relationships, leading to a higher prevalence of Baby Mama Syndrome.
Marbie Biodun, a relationship expert said that a significant number of Nigerian entertainers have children with multiple mothers, with some having more than one child with different women. She pointed out that even renowned Nigerian A-list celebrities have as many as four children with different mothers, celebrities like 2face, Davido, Wizkid, Flavour, Obafemi Martins, Portable and many more.
According to her, this situation is not seen as a display of success but rather as a sign of irresponsibility and lack of discipline among these entertainers, “these are the same set of people the Nigerian youths see as role models, there is trouble in paradise” she said
Moving forward, she raised a challenging question, asking whether one would choose to conceive a child with a man who has declined or is unprepared to marry them. She inquired about the motivations behind impregnating a woman one is not inclined to marry.
The relationship expert acknowledged that some women intentionally become pregnant to exert pressure on a man to commit, with the aim of securing a marriage. However, she noted that this strategy does not consistently yield the desired results.
According to her, when a woman resorts to using pregnancy as leverage to force a man into marriage, it ultimately results in him treating her poorly. She also emphasized that once a woman becomes a single mother, she compromises her bargaining power and forfeits the rights that should naturally accompany the status of a wife.
Toyosi Oloyede, a Nurse, said that bringing a child into the world is one of the most critical and important decisions you would ever make in life adding that one needs to think hard about it before embarking on it, saying it’s a journey of no return; the journey of becoming a parent. It should never be a spur-of-the-moment thing. “But I guess our youths of nowadays are getting involved because it’s trending, everybody is becoming a single mother all of a sudden forgetting the fact that you need to be ready before you bring a child into this world; being financially ready, mentally ready, psychologically and physiologically ready or you will fail catastrophically as a parent” she said
According to her; “Some ladies have missed lifetime opportunities by becoming baby mamas hence their utmost regret; Among them are those who were pursuing their education when they became pregnant, forcing them to abandon their academic pursuits without obtaining their degrees.
Others made the decision to leave their jobs, often without adequate financial planning or savings in place. The aftermath of giving birth, trying to reintegrate into society without the benefit of a degree, stable employment, or the support of a sponsor, presents an exceptionally challenging situation. This circumstance is especially undesirable in light of the current economic challenges in Nigeria” she concluded.
Khalid Okunade, a legal practitioner said according to research most of the kids that turn into street urchins, become riff raffs and ragamuffins and engage in violent crimes are either children raised by a single parent or those raised in a broken home.
He said “a child needs both warm motherly love to grow and a firm fatherly iron hard for guidance so as not to turn into a societal misfit. Parenting is a collective effort between the man and the woman. Once you see that one of the partners will not be able to join you in that journey you need to run away. Becoming a baby mama will only turn you into a single parent and you will have to work extra hard to make sure you do not fail as a parent” he concluded
Damilola Aina, an entrepreneur said “as a matter of fact, all of the baby mamas I know are regretting becoming a baby mama or getting pregnant by a man that is not their husband and is not ready to marry them. Especially the baby mamas the man had abandoned and they do not have a strong means of sustenance.
In her words; “Do not be deceived by the superficial glamour and facade of social media; the majority of social media baby mamas experience profound regret. Most end up becoming a nuisance, seeking attention up and down on social media and attacking their baby daddies. The status of being a single mother may only be tolerable if the man responsible for the pregnancy is financially well-off and genuinely committed to supporting both you and the child, or if your family possesses substantial resources and is willing to provide sponsorship. Alternatively, if you are financially secured, then you may fare better in this situation, otherwise, it could lead to significant hardships”
Sunday Olakunle, a clergy man, said Children are indeed gifts from God, but it’s crucial to ensure you’re fully prepared to embrace that gift. Otherwise, you might find yourself regretting the day this gift entered your life. “Castaway today the demonic urge and the societal pressure of becoming a baby mama, You deserve better than being a baby mama” he added.