GROWING-UP FATHERLESS: MY FATHER’S DAY WISH

growingupfatherlessAfter reading my Booskie Carrie Pink’s heartfelt Mother’s Day post, I knew that I had to tell my story. Her story, which you can read here, was absolutely poignant and raw. Every day, I thank God for the woman who birthed me and nurtured me as well as the woman who came along later in life and nurtured me. I am who I am because of God placing these two women in my life. Unfortunately, the father who is very much alive was absent.

This past year, after sacrificing and getting sick; I realized that the man who was gifted with me as a daughter was truly unworthy. Some may want to keep secrets but I realized that it is a secret that I no longer choose to keep. After reading the SBM post on Madame Noire whch can be read here, I realized that by not saying anything we enable these men, including my own father to continue doing what they do: Have babies and fail to take care of them. While I stay far away from the belief that this is what Black men do, there is no question that this is what some males do. As a matter of fact the CDC recently released data that showed that compared to White and Latino fathers, Black fathers are heavily involved in their child’s lives.

Credit: Los Angeles Times

Credit: Los Angeles Times

 

Unfortunately, my father does not fall in the involved category. Rather, my father is as absent as one whose father is deceased. The irony is that he is very much alive and involved in the community at large. Somewhere along the way, he forgot that charity starts at home. My father has been blessed with 14 children. While I will not speak for them, I am confident in saying that the legacy that he will leave behind is not one that any man should be happy leaving behind.

They say sons need their fathers. The truth is…so do daughters. A father is supposed to be that number 1 man in his daughter’s life that shows her what she is worth to a man. He is her protector. Her role model. Her champion. He is her dad.

I am comfortable and confident when I speak for all “Fatherless Children” when I say that I agree that at some point men who fail to handle their responsibility to the gifts that God granted them; children, should not be allowed to have anymore. Some may complain about their rights being taken away but what about those rights of the children they father. What happens to them when they grow up without a father who is right there? At what point will the enabling end? At what point will words of forgiveness stop being bandied about? At what point will those that refuse to acknowledge that they too have been affected by the absence of their father admit the truth if only to themselves?

Here is to the men who from the day they knew they were going to be  fathers and stepped up and continue to stay in the active fatherhood lane. Words cannot express how happy this makes me. Children are a gift and should be cherished. They are not pawns or tools for advancement. If you are that father who realized this and lives the realities of fatherhood daily, I salute you not just on Father’s Day but every day. My wish is for all men who have been gifted realize that their role in a child’s life is everlasting. Here is to the man who has stepped in and became my Daddy. My life, while still scarred from my real father’s absence, is just that much happier. I love you daddy.

daddy and I

While I probably never wish my biological father a Happy Father’s Day, I am fortunate to know some great men. There will always be that little girl inside of me who wants my father to be my father in action and not name only. A part of me knows that no matter how old or successful I become, there will always be a piece of me that will not be whole. Even still, I wish peace and harmony for the man who shared his essence to create me. Maybe one day, he will see just how his action hurt. In the meantime, I will salute those men who continue to be fathers in words and actions and speak out against all those who forgot that God gave them a precious gift when He bestowed a child upon them

 

Words of Wisdom: It is much easier to become a father than to be one. ~Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man, 1994

In Health,

Maliyka

P.S. Stay tuned to the “Growing-up Fatherless” Project that myself and two other fatherless children will be debuting. It’s time to celebrate good fathers, ostracize bad ones and empower the children that suffer from the decsions made.

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Post Partum Depression: The denied mental health issue

ppd

Photo Courtesy of thefeministwire.com

Ebony Wilkerson’s story or rather the many responses to her actions hit a nerve and was the reason behind a mini rant on twitter.

You see, I have seen post partum psychosis depression up close and in person. In case you did not know, it is not pretty.   I was 12 years old and that person was my mother. She had just had her sixth child nine months ago. It was a scene from a horror story. I will never forget what it looked or smelled like. I worry that I too may suffer from a similar fate. That is why I speak-out and for those women who do not have a voice to speak for themselves. Post partum depression is real. It is not made up any more than PMS is made up.

Just what is post partum depression? According to PubMed Health post partum depression is defined as, “Moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first 3 months after delivery.” Like any other medical condition, if post partum depression is left untreated it  can last for months or years. That’s where stories like Ebony’ s come in at. From all accounts, it seems in my opinion that Ebony actually suffered from post partum psychosis, which is far more severe than post partum depression.  According to WebMD post partum psychosis, “Is a rare, severe, and dangerous form of postpartum depression that can suddenly occur within the first 3 weeks following childbirth. A woman who has postpartum psychosis may feel detached from her baby and other people. Or she may have hallucinations involving smell, touch, sight, or hearing. She may have thoughts not based in reality (delusions), display bizarre behavior, or have urges to kill herself and her child or children.”

There is no question that Ebony needs help. There is no question that, her children need to be removed from her care. There is a question of whether she should be treated like a common criminal. While there are plenty of cases  of women killing their children and not being mentally ill, that a mental illness does exist should be taken into account. Most like to use the argument that pedophilia is a mental disorder too. What many fail to realize is that, in order to be diagnosed with a paraphilic diagnosis one must meet certain criteria. As per the DSM-V the criteria is:

  • feel personal distress about their interest, not merely distress resulting from society’s disapproval;

or

  •  have a sexual desire or behavior that involves another person’s psychological distress, injury, or death, or a desire for sexual behaviors involving unwilling persons or persons unable to give legal consent.

Many do not know this but, in truth most people who have  atypical sexual interests do not have a mental disorder. Rather, it is a perverse and willing choice that engage in such acts. To compare these people to women who genuinely have a psychiatric issue is inhumane.

While my mother did not hurt her children, she hurt herself. Every time I smell a certain smell, I have flashbacks to when she hurt herself. I will never forget that lost look in her eyes. I pray that one day I too don’t walk around with that same lost look. Like so many other mental health issues, incarceration is not the answer. Rather, it is the problem. As filled as prisons are today, there is no way that the mentally ill will get the care that they really need. Rather, the deplorable conditions only make the conditions worse. No one wants to have cancer. To think that someone would want to be mentally ill is ignorant beyond words.

Let us not judge or we shall be judged. If indeed Ebony is not ill then I say, carry out punishment to the fullest extent of the law. However, let us make sure that’s the case. Shame on those who have disorders such a bipolar or schizophrenia and because of medication are functional judging this woman. Your road is not the same as hers. Shame on society for not accepting that those mental disorders that only affect women real and not some made-up figment of our imagination. Shame on government for not doing more. Congrats to the person who decided that they should do more and created this White House Petition. Hopefully, you will do as I did and sign. We owe it to ourselves as women to protect ourselves before the right is taken from us.

If you you or someone you know is suffering from post partum depression/psychosis please advocate for treatment and contact these sources if you need help:

Words of Wisdom:

In health,

Maliyka