Clarissa Burton: The Confession of a ‘Baby Mama’

Clarissa Burton: The Confession of a ‘Baby Mama’

It only took one time…

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As a proud supporter of the No Wedding No Womb and Black Women Empowerment movements, I am committed to contributing to its message and dedication to improving the lives of Black women, especially Black girls.  It is so difficult to speak up and speak out for fear of critical retribution.  However, I would be remiss to let another opportunity pass without sharing my personal story.  So, this is my confession: The Confession of a Baby Mama.

I met ‘him’ when I was 15 and a sophomore in high school.  I wasn’t interested in dating.  I was a scholar athlete; and all I wanted was to finish high school.  My ultimate goal was to go to college; and afterwards, pursue a military career.  However, those plans would be delayed.

His name was Jerome.  He had already graduated high school.  Yet, he was illiterate (that’s another story).  He was very handsome, athletic, and quite charming.  His cousin, Eugenia, was my nemesis. I can honestly say she despised me to her very core.  Why?  I don’t know because I was very shy; and stayed to myself.  She and I went to the same high school; and played sports.  We practiced after school and had to catch public transportation to the transit depot, which was the local mall.  That’s where Jerome spotted me.  He asked Eugenia about me: if I had a boyfriend, etc.  Once he found out I had never dated, his “virgin” radar was triggered; and the pursuit was on.

From the beginning of my sophomore year to the middle of my junior year, he pursued me with a passion.  He always told me how beautiful I was.  He told me that I was smarter than any girl he had met.  He told me I had the sexiest legs he had ever seen.  I resisted for almost two years.  I didn’t like him.  He was too pushy.  But as time passed, he began to wear me down.  That’s what they do.  Jerome had perfected his charm; and he was determined to have me.

The day “it” happened was just another ordinary day for me.  After basketball practice, I caught the bus to the mall.  There he was waiting for me like a lion waits for his prey and the right time to pounce.  I ignored him and rushed to get inside the mall until my transfer bus arrived.  I went into Carl’s Jr. for a burger and soda.  He followed me; and sat next to me.  He began to tell me a very sad story about how he had been training to get his black belt in Kung Fu and hurt his back.  He told me how hard he had worked to reach that level; but now, it was all at risk because of his sore back.  I listened because he seemed so sincere.  He had my attention.

I finished my food; and realized it was time to catch my next bus.  I told Jerome I had to leave; but he asked me to do him a big favor.  I insisted I had to go.  He said he understood; but said he needed help putting medicine on his back that had been prescribed by the doctor.  I asked why he couldn’t get someone else to help; and he stated his roommate wasn’t home; and his parents lived too far.  He said he lived just a block from the mall and it wouldn’t take much long.  My gut was warning me not to go with him; but I ignored it.  I agreed to help him out; but insisted I leave soon after to catch the next bus.  He promised to not keep me long.

Upon arrival to his apartment, my gut feeling was stronger.  Yet, I ignored it again.  We entered his apartment and there was his roommate, Charles.  He greeted me; and left.  I was speechless and numb.  Jerome lied to me.  I should have run out of there because I knew I had made a very bad decision.  I could have left; but I didn’t want to break my promise to help Jerome.  Plus, he promised it would take just a few minutes. Those types of bad decisions are results from poor self-esteem and predators sense weakness.

Jerome retrieved the medicine for his back.  It was Bengay ointment.  I felt STUPID!  That little voice was telling me to run like a bat out of hell; but the other voice said, “Keep your promise.”  I listened to the wrong voice.  He had lied but I wasn’t strong enough to leave.  After finishing his back rub down, I went to the kitchen to wash my hands.  That’s when Jerome walked up behind me and began to kiss my neck.  I cringed.  I froze.  I didn’t know what to do.  He began to tell me how beautiful I was, how sexy I was, how he was in love with me.  No man had ever told me he loved me let alone told me I was pretty.  A small voice inside warned his words weren’t true; but I wanted to be pretty.  I wanted to feel pretty.  I wanted to be noticed; and here was my chance.  Neither my father nor uncles had warned me about such men.  How could they when they were the same as Jerome.

I did everything to avoid seeing Jerome again. I would catch the latest bus.  I would ask classmates for a ride home: anything to never see him again.  I thought I had succeeded.  Then, in the middle of my junior year in high school, I began to feel sick. I was tired and wasn’t on my best basketball game.  I was gaining weight regardless of my strenuous workouts.  I was PREGNANT.  I was to become a baby mama at 17.  I was devastated.

The most disgusting part of my story is Jerome had a girlfriend whom he had been dating since high school.  So, I wasn’t special after all.  I was just a virgin to be conquered.  Touché, Romeo!

Someday I will share more of my story; but the purpose for me sharing this portion of my life is to let all those young girls out there know there are Black women like me who also fell for the okey doke, got pregnant, and had a child(ren) to remind us daily of those mistakes.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my son deeply.  He has had to suffer knowing his sperm donor refused to be a father.  My son has had to suffer knowing his sperm donor never bought him a Pamper or a bottle of milk.  My son has to live knowing there is a sperm donor out there who is proud to have dumped his seed without accountability.  Although I tried to pursue child support, Jerome moved from state-to-state with the help of his parents.  So, child support was never to be.

I acknowledge I made poor decisions in this case.  I made several more after this case.  I will share additional stories in time.  However, the good news is the No Wedding No Womb and Black Women Empowerment movements can get you back on track.  You are not your circumstances.  You can be a conqueror.  You can turn the tide.  However, none of that can happen until you decide YOU DESERVE BETTER.  It took me decades to realize I deserved better; but, it is never too late.  I should know.

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