Iâm not really sure why I felt the need to write about this but Iâm curious. I donât know what Iâm curious about but I do want to talk about this with someone.
It seems a common occurrence that when unmarried, especially young, women find themselves pregnant, they seem to have a lot of concern about the fathers. They seem concerned of what the men will think, how they will react and whether becoming a father will have a negative impact on his life. Iâm curious as to the latter of these concerns.
Whether a father chooses to involve himself in the lives of the mother and child is up to him. While a man doesnât have a physical choice of whether to continue a pregnancy, he can choose whether or not he wants to be involved. Obviously, if the woman seeks child support, he will be ordered to pay, but Iâm not talking about the financial obligation of parenthood; Iâm talking about the actual relationship between father and child.
I became pregnant at 18, one month after my wedding. My then husband was 20. We were married so I suppose he initially felt some obligation to become a parent, considering that I was pregnant. To me, it was never a âchoice.â I was elated upon learning of my pregnancy. I never once thought about not continuing the pregnancy or relinquishing the child to another family through adoption. I also never considered the possibility of my mother being any kind of âprimary caregiver.â It was simple. I was pregnant. I was going to become a mother and raise my impending child.
My husband, however, was disappointed when I informed him of my pregnancy. There was no âpregnancy scare,â per se. I had been feeing ill; I wasnât yet due to menstruate. The possibility of pregnancy had not entered either of our minds. I had a day off of work and decided to make a few phone calls to arrange to see a doctor. I suffer from endometriosis so I was actually worried about my reproductive organs. My doctor had warned me not too long before that I may have to endure an operation to âfix my girl parts,â if you will. I was worried about such a procedure as it could likely limit or eliminate my chances to conceive and carry a fetus to term. So, I went to the doctor. Upon my arrival, I was asked to fill out some paperwork and then to provide a urine specimen. I waited in an examination room, not nervous at all. I just wanted to get on with the appointment. The nurse returned with the news that I was, indeed, pregnant. She asked me when my last menstrual period was and I told her. She told me my due date. I was ecstatic.
My husband was at work (he was working 12 hours a week as a busboy in a very slow Mexican restaurant). After work, he was going to get a haircut. I met him in the parking lot of the plaza where the hair salon was located. I quickly ran to him and blurted out my news, with no preparation whatsoever. At first, he didnât believe me. When I offered to show him my bottle of prenatal vitamins, he realized I was being truthful. His response? âOh Shit.â Naturally, I was devastated by his response. We went into the salon and we both sat silent for the duration of his hair cut.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I informed my family of my news. He refused to tell his own family about it. Finally, I threatened to tell them myself if he didnât do so. I was his wife, after all. We were expecting a child. When we finally told them, his mother was in no way supportive at all. His father was happy about it but in his family, the motherâs opinion was the one that stood for the family. He was slowly and then completely ostracized.
During the latter part of my first trimester, my husband and I had moved to be closer to our parents due to the impending addition to our family. We had been living about a 4 hour drive away and agreed that things would be better if we returned to the town where our parents lived. For a little over two months, we would take turns spending the nights together at our respective parents homes but, towards the end of that two months, we found ourselves spending the nights separately, at our own parentsâ homes. Finally, a week after Christmas, we signed a lease on a small but cute home. We moved in immediately and started âsetting up house.â The weekend we moved was stressful for me. My cousin, a girl a little younger than myself, helped. I was sensing an overwhelming âsexual tensionâ in the air between the two of them. This sense of jealousy coinciding with my pregnancy-related sensitivity, made me feel very insecure and upset. The following weekend, I had arranged to prepare a very special dinner for my husband. I wanted to have a romantic dinner date to celebrate our being reunited in our own home again. He decided to blow off plans and spend the weekend with his brother. I was devastated. The following weekend, I again planned for this dinner date since our plans the previous weekend had been foiled. He never came home from work. I called his parents house repeatedly and there was no answer. I drove to their home and, as I entered the driveway, the lights in the house were suddenly turned off. Again, I was devastated. I saw that I wasnât welcomed at my husbandâs parentsâ home.
My husband never did come home. Then, I was given a choice. I could continue with my pregnancy and thus go through a divorce. My other choice was to discontinue the pregnancy but salvage my marriage. To me, the choice was blatantly clear â I was going to be a single mother. From the beginning, it was obvious that I was going to be a mother. As I stated before, the idea of discontinuing my pregnancy was never a consideration for me. If I didnât want to become a mother at that time, I would have made the necessary arrangements to terminate. However, the choice was mine, not my husbandâs.
After six months, I gave birth to my child, a healthy and beautiful baby boy. I tried to encourage a relationship between my baby and his father and his family. My sonâs grandfather was eager to be involved. He fell in love with my son immediately. He had, though, supported me and my pregnancy from the beginning. However, soon enough, the grandmother came around as well. My husband was at the hospital when I gave birth and did âshow offâ his âachievementâ to his friends that came to visit us at the hospital. However, the novelty of this ânew toyâ quickly faded. It was a difficult task to convince him to spend time with his child.
For the first 3 years of my childâs life, his father would occasionally show up, upon the direction of his intrusive mother. He never seemed eager to see his child nor did he every display any loving emotion towards him in my presence. The only times he would actually see his son was when his mother was spending time with the child. The last time that he saw his son was two years ago. His mother was to keep my son for two weeks during the summer. Due to the fact that we lived far from each other at this time, it was necessary for each of us to drive approximately 4-5 hours to meet at a point between our homes. The day that I dropped my son off with them, my ex-mother-in-law asked if it would be acceptable that she kept him for only a week. Of course, it was more than acceptable â I had no need whatsoever for my son to spend that extra week. During my sonâs absence, they neglected to answer the phone when I called. I didnât know how my son was doing. I felt very much out of control. It was a very difficult week for me. I suppose that since the father felt no need to contact his son while away from each other, he couldnât understand the need that I, as a mother, had to speak with my child, be advised of how he was doing. When my son was returned to me, he was not the child I knew. He was quiet, not very active, and emotionally traumatized, somehow. He began displaying an extreme fear of monsters, something that he had never talked about before. He wouldnât eat his favorite foods and just seemed like something was wrong. Some time after this visit, my son told me that his father was a monster. He told me that his daddy was a bad person because he did bad things to him. I was devastated. Fortunately, since then, his father has made no attempt to contact either of us. Itâs been two years.
For about two years, my sonâs father did send his small, court-ordered child support payments of $150 per month. The checks were written directly from the bank, presumably some sort of âautomated bill-pay.â He couldnât as much as hand write the checks and send them himself. Eventually, though, the payments ceased. Itâs been about a year and a half since I have received a payment.
I have raised my son on my own, as a single mother. I thoroughly enjoy motherhood and the life that I share with my child. It has been the best five years of my life, despite financial turmoil and lack of any sort of a social life. I am in love with my son. He is my world. Everything that I do revolves around the best interests of my son. In no way do I regret being a single mother. The fact that his father chose not to be involved has not been a burden to me. I donât need him, his check or his negative attitude. What I do need is my son.
My life went through a huge overhaul upon my learning of my pregnancy and becoming of a mother. I have made the necessary sacrifices and am perfectly content with that. I put my own needs and desires on the back-burner for my child. I feel no resentment for that at all. My son is my joy; heâs all that Iâve ever needed. While I live a live that revolves around a young child, his father continues his life with no sacrifices. I expected myself to envy that lifestyle, but surprisingly to myself, I donât envy it at all. I pity the man for having missed out on such a fascinating child. I view parenthood as something to be cherished. Even though my ex-husband does not share these views, I still feel like he is the one that has missed out. My choice to become a mother was in no way reliant upon the feelings of the father. I am a good mother and am happy doing so. My sonâs fatherâs life was not âruined.â In fact, it was changed very little. He made his choices as I made mine. We didnât share those choices; therefore, we no longer share our lives. My life is shared with my son and I wouldnât have it any other way.
I am a proud mother; I am a proud single mother. I am who I am thanks to my wonderful son.