Throughout this current season “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” Marlo Hampton has been noticeably more vulnerable and compassionate — something that she credits to the fact that she currently has custody of her two nephews, Michael and William. As you may recall, Hampton took the boys in after her sister, who suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was admitted to a mental hospital. They affectionately refer to the reality star as their “mumty,” a mashup of mom and auntie, and she admits that the experience has changed her for the better.
“All the years I’ve been around the girls, I’ve always been so tough,” Hampton shared during a confessional on this week’s episode. “But you know what, since my nephews have been around, you can hurt me and I’m okay with showing that.”
At a luncheon hosted by Porsha Williams, which explored the subject of pregnancy loss, Hampton got even more vulnerable as she invited attendees and viewers into her motherhood journey. She shared that as a result of multiple ectopic pregnancies, she has struggled to have children of her own.
“I wasn’t going to speak. I love children. I have 16 nieces and nephews. Of course, how would I not want a child of my own? Things that have happened to me in my past made that a problem. I’ve had two ectopic pregnancies and I was so mad at God for so long like, ‘Why me? Why can’t I have a baby? Why can’t I have someone to love me forever?'” Marlo expressed through tears.
She went on to reason that perhaps the important role that she plays in the lives of her siblings’ children might be the reason why she was not able to birth biological children.
“And I just realized, I’m here for my nieces and nephews and I’m a mumty,” she said. “Since I’ve had my nephews, I’ve realized, like, ‘Maybe this is why God won’t let me have my own.”
Over the past few years, essays that peg aunts the “backbone” of the African American community have cropped up on the Internet, including this one published by The Philadelphia Inquirer, in which psychologist Clara Whaley Perkins referred to the Black aunt as a “stabilizing force in the black family.” Sadly, often they do not receive the recognition they deserve for all that they do and the roles that they play within our lives. When I actually sit to take inventory of all of the things that my mother’s sisters have done for me since I was in the womb to now, I’m moved to tears at times. Aside from my father, they’re the only people walking this earth from which I feel a love that is so deep and intense that it can be compared to the love that I feel from my mother. And now that I have my own child, to see that the love they have for her and the fierce instincts that they have to protect her, I’m always left in awe.
It would take a lifetime for us to repay some of our aunts for all that they have done for us, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try.