Black Love: Season 2/ Episode 4 “Life After Baby” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for Black Love Episode 4
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Children are something which can either enhance a marriage or present another factor which requires counseling and the need for self-reflection. It all depends on your parenting style.


Network
OWN
Director(s) Codie Elaine Oliver
Air Date 6/2/2018
Actors Introduced
Herself Goldie Gabriel-Johnson
Himself Michael Johnson
Herself Rai King
Himself Shaun King

The Early Years: Taj, Eddie, Tamia, Grant, Devale, Khadeen

From pregnancy to birth, those are hard times for new parents. For some, like Taj, that pregnancy can be an ass kicker and then it gets followed by post-partum depression? That’s the type of stuff you’d only wish on your worse enemy. But there is also the issue Eddie had of what is his role in this? As a husband and father, you know you need to support your wife but, she is breastfeeding and like maternity leave in America, paternity leave isn’t set up where you can support and nurture the child and keep bills paid.

But, of course, that isn’t the only issue. For like Taj and Eddie, Tamia and Grant didn’t really know what they were doing. They got more support in the beginning than Taj did, but once left alone it was kind of just winging it. Something presented as a universal thing for even Devale and Khadeen had to figure things out on their own. Leading to the thought being pushed, as much as people may mean well, also realize they aren’t dealing with the exact same people, as in partners, and babies as you. For that is a factor their advice may not account for.

Commentary

Taj talking about the difficult time she had after giving birth to her son.
“I’m like, ‘I can’t get him to shut up, he doesn’t like me.'”

Some of the things pushed that you really have to appreciate is having a village, recognizing members of that village can only do and provide so much before you got to own your decisions, and the difficulty of the early years. In health class, at least in my upbringing, they don’t give you that baby to teach you about the hell on earth it can be within the first few days, weeks, or months. Heck, little things like Taj brought up, such as how often do you wash them, you don’t know until you ask somebody.

Which made her venting to her sister so important because, at this point of Black Love, we’re beginning to transition to the idea of seeking support outside the marriage more and more. Counseling has been mentioned, but that is mostly for marital issues. As for family? Really the only thing they have kind of been is an obstacle more than an asset. So her mentioning her sister helping, alongside Tamia and Grant noting their parents, while they don’t take a huge note of their part, you can’t deny them giving peace of mind.

Though I got to also bring up the funny moment of Devale and Khadeen talking about early childhood education and not blowing your money on it. That it is better to make a trust than hope your kid, with thousands of dollars poured into their education, becomes something. Even if you got the money at the time. For it was a nice reminder that, as much as the parents may have money and the kids all these opportunities, they can still be dumb, disobedient, and/or never reach their potential. Making it so those hundred of thousands you spent? Ultimately that could be all wasted.

Conflicting Parenting Styles: Kirk, Tammy, LaDonna, DL

Whether a “bonus parent” or biological, if a child is raised with two individuals that can cause issues. Especially if each parent’s blueprint is drastically different from one another. Take Kirk and his wife Tammy. Kirk was a mix of old school parenting, in terms of a child should be seen and not heard, and Tammy was about the kids expressing themselves. This led to issues because her daughter was not used to this since she is more liberal and her grandfather, her father figure before Kirk, was lenient. So Kirk coming in with his upbringing, raising a boy, and having to translate that with a girl seemed hard.

However, you also got to factor in him as a person. As Kirk and a few other men noted, just because they got married or had kids, it didn’t mean they were changing. They still wanted to have fun so if the kids got a toy, so did he and that caused a bit of a strain, as you can imagine. Not financially but co-parenting is tough when one is a good time until you cross the line and the other is for you communicating but still has their stern moments.

For not being on the same page could mean bad things happening down the line. Anything from trouble at school to possibly death for a Black child. Something DL notes when it came to raising a son with Asperger’s. Especially since LaDonna was more likely to coddle than push the boy. A terrifying way to handle things to DL since his stats have it where the majority of Black men in jail have a learning disorder. Making it so the school to prison pipeline is well oiled. But then, even with his money if he makes the school thing not an issue, he has to worry about cops and his son being particular and how a cop would react to that.

Thus showing us a different side to things for while other parents on the show have boys, DL was the one who went in on how terrifying it is to raise one. Also, their family seemed to be the only one with special needs.

Commentary

DL Hughley talking about his fears in raising a Black male. Especially one with Asperger's.
“You fail your son, he dies.”

It’s kind of an interesting double standard in play. You recognize that Black men more than women have to fear police and the prison pipeline, but it affects Black women too. Their names may not become hashtags as often and get marches, but it does happen. Yet, with most of the interviewees having young kids or girls, it was kind of strange only DL brought up the fear of raising a Black child.

Though another thing which was interesting was the idea of discipline. I thought it was kind of strange that in a parenting episode, discipline wasn’t really brought up considering its role in Black culture. Primarily the whole, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” Yet, outside of a mention of Kirk snatching up his son, we don’t hear anything about how any parent dealt with their children talking back, being difficult, or making bad decisions.

Also, it’s so weird how, no matter if talking about kids or teens, you don’t hear much about the dad doing parenting. We get it from DL when it comes to his son, but the girls are just waved off because he figured they’d be alright. But in general, most of the stress of parenting we hear come from the moms and while that is kind of the norm in real life, it is weird to hear that from real people and it not be addressed. But, taking into consideration the format of this show doesn’t really let us hear the questions asked and how the interviewees are being directed, also editing, maybe we’re just missing something?

Prioritizing: Rev Run, Justine, Jai, Rebecca, Rai, Shaun, Goldie, Michael, Tamia, Grant

A consistent issue for a lot of parents is how to not make your children a priority over your relationship, alongside letting your relationship go to the wayside. Especially for moms like Goldie who see children as the ones who need her the most so their husbands, like Michael, can fend for themselves to a point. Though, it should be noted it isn’t just an issue with heterosexuals. For Jai and Rebecca, there was the same issue, and even the word “chasm” is used to explain the gap that is made when you bring kids into the world.

Leading to the question of, well how do you deal with it? Well, there are multiple ways. One way is simply not forgetting you are as much nurturing a relationship long term as two humans and making sure you get a babysitter and keep dating your partner. There is also going to therapy, as Rai and Shaun did, to figure out who the person is to the other and also address other underlying issues.

Take for example, in the case of Tamia, Shaun, and Rai, not having a father figure in their lives and giving their children one. In that, there comes some issues that need to be addressed and have to internally be worked on. For when you aren’t working with a fleshed out blueprint, somethings may not make sense, maybe hard to do, and between therapy and your partner, you got to work that out. Being a parent doesn’t mean you set yourself and your partner aside for the benefit of the kid. After all, like Ali Wong says in her [tooltips keyword=’Netflix Special’ content = ‘Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife‘] you gotta look out for yourself first sometimes. For when the masks come down while on a flight, they do tell parents to put the masks on themselves first.

And that leads us to Rev Run and Justine. Two points from them have to be noted. The first being a belief in adoption, which with Jai and Rebecca mentioning fertility issues, could have been something they could have explored. Especially considering Jai is an OB who has seen many a high-risk pregnancy and just the stories Rebecca heard blew her mind. But, aside from adoption, there is also the idea of putting the relationship before the kids. Particularly because, they eventually are going to move out and do their own thing. So, why put each other second when they are the only ones who are going to be there after the part of being a bank and driver is over?

Commentary

Let’s hone in on Goldie and Michael for a minute. The difficulty of being a bonus parent is mentioned with Kirk and Tammy, but you can see for Michael part of the struggle not really mentioned. That is, for one, meeting the child and taking part in raising them and then having a child with their mom who is used to doing things solo. And, of course, there are other things like Grant mentioning how important it is for the relationship to not go to the wayside or be toxic for you are presenting how relationships should be, alongside Justine making it clear she and Rev Run always try to be on the same page.

Really making me wish, like Red Table Talk, in a way, follow up questions could be asked for even in an hour, some things just get flown through. The type of topics which, in terms of Black love, you really would love some answers to. Like, when it comes to Black queer women, what was that process like because it seemed Jai and Rebecca went through some troubles finding the right doctor. Then, in terms of adopting, taking note Rev Run and Justine have money, what were, unless faith dispelled them all, any and all fears?

And it’s those little things which, as much as you have to appreciate the insight given, really makes you wish the interviewers took a more active role in honing in on intriguing topics. For, don’t get me wrong, again you have to love how open everyone is, including with their faults, but then there are moments when you want someone to jump in with a follow-up.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

When things come so easy, you never think anything can go wrong.

Highlights

  1. The whole prioritizing the relationship and not just letting it be put on pause until the kids are independent was such a good reminder that those kids are a now and not forever. At least in terms of the only thing you should pour time and effort into. Though, I did appreciate Justine and Rev Run’s take as well as Devale and Khadeen.
  2. Jai and Rebecca maintaining how things are different, and sometimes difficult, for queer people yet they find a way to be happy regardless of how others may try.
  3. Bringing up issues with getting pregnant and adoption.
  4. The importance of fatherhood being handled in a way which made it about more than being a financial provider. For Grant, it was about how his role set an example and DL, how he prepped his son for a world which wouldn’t give him a second chance. And while, as babies, I’m sure many were confused as Eddie, it showed they find a purpose and use eventually.
  5. Taj presenting what had to be post-partum depression and repping for the women whose pregnancy and the first year or so was difficult.
  6. It being brought up, with Goldie and Michael, the difficulty of shifting from being a single parent to co-parenting.
  7. Devale and Khadeen bringing up the pressures of doing everything like a checklist and how, while having a village is excellent and necessary, sometimes you got to just do what feels right for you.
  8. DL and LaDonna talking about their son with Asperger’s and slightly pushing the idea of not having them tested by the school.

Low Points

  1. It may have been something felt in other episodes, but this one, in particular, made me wish, be it the editing or means of questioning, we’d go deeper into things said rather than it just being touched upon. For the adopting bit was important, but all that was talked about was what happened after. As for the process? Something which is difficult, so I hear, no guidance or information.
  2. Discipling kids not really being gone into when it came to parenting styles.

On The Fence

  1. I wish Rai and Shaun were part of some of the other episodes for I would have loved to know how they got together and how she has dealt with him being an activist. Especially one whose tweets trend and go viral – leading to a lot of eyes being on him. That is, on top of their life in Kentucky vs. Atlanta.

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