Written by Evi Idoghor
I recently came across a post where a Nollywood actress (Ini Edo) was being interviewed. In that interview she discussed a variety of topics, but it was what I saw on the clip that piqued my interest. She recently unveiled her daughter on social media to put to rest the speculation people had about her having a child (outside marriage). To address the rumors, she talked about why she chose to have her baby through surrogacy.
She explained that she had suffered several miscarriages and was tired of trying to conceive naturally. As such, she believed that the only option she was left with was to have a child through surrogacy, because she was not going to give up her innate desire to become a mother regardless of her marital status. She also stated that her eggs were used in the process because she wanted the child to be hers. When the interviewer asked her if she wasn’t worried about the naysayers, she said, “You live this life for yourself, its just you that matters.”
Another day, while watching a talk show on YouTube, I heard the term – conscious co-parenting. The term captured my curiosity — these oyinbo people have come again oh! I thought to myself. I leaned forward, ready to process what was being said. The show's hosts discussed a CNN contributor, (Van Jones) who was previously married with children but wished to have more. He happened to have a friend who wanted to be a mother. Although not romantically involved, the two paired up to have a child. However, it was not specified what procedure they utilized - whether they had sex or used IVF.
Following the successful birth of their child, Van Jones encouraged others to follow in his footsteps, saying, “It's a concept that I hope more people would explore and consider.” As the hosts discussed the topic, one of them stated that she loved the idea since it allowed individual parents to go off and follow their dreams or still have time to live their life, as that would not be the case if they were living with their children 100% of the time as most married couples do. She explained that after her divorce because she didn't have her children all the time, she had more room to write her book and pursue other interests.
Another host stated that she occasionally told her homosexual friend that if she was still single at a certain age, they would have a child together – but not by having sex! She added. As their voices faded into the background I wondered when children became accessories, pacifiers, or toys that one could be pick up and put down as they pleased. This is yet another ploy to destroy the traditional family unit, just as God intended it to be; I concluded.
What is conscious co-parenting?
This term is commonly used for divorced spouses who have children and are seeking to find a common ground to raise them with as little conflict as possible. What the hosts of the show (or the individual in question) meant, was Elective or Platonic co-parenting. According to an article on Oxford Academic, “Elective co-parenting is a relatively new phenomenon, whereby a man and a woman who are not married, cohabiting or involved in a sexual relationship with each other have a child together and typically raise the child in separate households. This type of co-parenting differs from other uses of the term co-parenting.”
From this definition, the phrase "separate households" stood out to me. I remembered when I lived in two homes for about six months, and how difficult it was for me to pack and leave each time. I also recall when I had to squat with others who lived closer to my workplace, just to beat traffic. I felt as though my life was unstable and I desired stability. I can only imagine how children who did not ask to be in this situation can be affected by it.
In recent years, there has been a rise in opposition to the traditional family unit. Children are being taught that there are various kinds of nuclear families. A nuclear family could be made up of a father and a mother, two fathers, two mothers, and so on, depending on how a person or couple wants to define their own version of the nuclear family. It's a far cry from what I was taught in primary school.
Why advocate for the nuclear family? One might ask – According to studies, children who grow up in (married) two-parent households have a more stable childhood and better adult outcomes. This is not addressing circumstances beyond our control, such as death, or a nasty breakup that causes someone to become a single parent, and (or) rape - this is addressing individuals who feel they can wake up one day and have a child, who is supposed to be the result of love, unity, and devout commitment in marriage.
The reason we see this happening in societies across the world is that human beings harbor the desire to become their own god and choose for themselves what is right or wrong, acceptable, or unacceptable. Like Sarah in the book of Genesis, who suggested for her husband to have a child with her maid, because both were childless for a while. Most of us know the conflict which arose from that poor decision-making.
When adults go ahead and make decisions like these, innocent children are caught up in the crossfire. With so many different interpretations of what marriage and family should be, it raises the question: why is the enemy working so hard to undermine the nuclear family unit? Same-sex marriages, artificial insemination for singles, and now elective co-parenting.
What happened to the days when men and women desired marriage and couldn't wait to start a family together? Now, if a woman is in her mid-30s, unmarried, and successful, she may say, “If I'm still single at such and such an age, I will have a child.” Is a child now a source of solace for those who are unmarried?
While it is true that it takes two to create a child, society has worked extremely hard to convince us that it only takes one to raise them - well, one with the financial means. As such, you don’t have to be married, or you don’t even have to know who the other participant is, to collaborate in making a child.
Through assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy, things have become “so easy” and accessible that one doesn’t even have to bear the burden of carrying their own child; after nine months, they will be presented with what they ordered. You can select the type of man you want to be the “father” of your child and the type of woman you want to carry your child from a catalog. The child then grows up and asks, “Where is my father?” “Why isn't mommy always at home with us?” “Why do I have two daddies?” “My classmates have a mother and father.”
If there was ever a time to stand up for truth, it is now. People are fighting for the truth to become a lie and for lies to become truth (Romans 1:25). There are those who are genuinely ignorant about what God desires with such situations. There is also a battle going on against children's innocent minds. As such, if you speak up for what is right, you become a target for public scrutiny and cancellation. But if we want to preserve and pass along truth to future generations, we must stand up for it.
Marriage was designed to come before children
“Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union.” Malachi 2:15 (NLT).
This scripture shows us three things: (1) A man and his wife are one, as reiterated in other passages (Matthew 19:5-6, Ephesians 5:31). (2) The life we live, is not our own, again, as reiterated in another passage (1 Corinthians 6:19). (3) God’s desire for godly children from the marriage union. Malachi 2:15 goes directly against what the actress stated: “You live this life for yourself, it’s just you that matters.”
Another reason for our society's ongoing breakdown is that people fail to recognize or place value on the importance of committed relationships. They want to hook up and have sex with as many people as possible, gaining experience along the way, just so that they can boast of a robust resume, and be chosen over the other person, for their competence in the bedroom - if they decide to marry one day.
Sometimes this reckless sexual behavior results in single-parent homes, and (or) abortions. Children, again, becoming the victims of adults’ disobedience and disorderliness. We make decisions for ourselves, damning the consequences. We exercise autonomy, even though the only one who should have power over us is the One who created us — our lives are not our own.
Elective parenting in marriage
Even within marriages, people most times let their careers, hopes, and dreams, get in the way of raising godly children. They abandon children to the care of their carers and technology designed to distract them (as they do us), with no intention of nurturing them. People are so consumed with providing their children with the life they did not have that they buy them things and fly them across the world while completely neglecting what God says about training up a child in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6).
We must recognize that we are raising or will raise children in a time when truth is being challenged. As Christians, we must not only reject anti-biblical ideologies but also equip our children and (or) future children to do the same. God, who created everything, including sex and marriage, also provided a safe environment in which children can be loved, nurtured, and raised with a complete understanding of the truth.
As previously said, there is more stability when both parents are present in the household to raise their children. The responsibility doesn’t fall on the one who is more financially astute to raise the child. Fathers and mothers play different roles in the lives of their children. If it were not the case, then two moms, or two dads, or one mom or dad, can effectively carry on that responsibility with no qualms from God, but men and women are different – don’t let the current narrative fool you.
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