Maggie SaysWeekly Columns

Do It Or Else

by: - February 18, 2013
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Positive pregnancy testSomebody I know recently presented an argument to me that was sort of a eureka moment for me. He was concerned with the unfairness of being forced to father a child that he didn’t want.

I can see eyebrows raising all over internet and I feel that has to do with how we were socialised. We were consciously or unconsciously conditioned to frown upon men who didn’t want to be fathers to their children. Now this is not a case for or against abortion but I think it’s worth discussing.

Usually with these sort of cases, the girl wants the baby and the guy doesn’t (which automatically makes the guy a bad man) but society says, “Girl, it’s your body and your child so do the right thing.” That usually means to carry the baby to term and be a strong single mother, or take the guy to family court, or wait for him to come around, or talk to this person and that person, and woe be unto that terribly evil man who impregnated you and is shirking his duties as a man and is now nowhere to be seen and blah blah blah…

I’m forced to think now that maybe that judgement is unfair and unjustified. I’ll tell you why.

Based on our socialisation, this is what is supposed to happen:

Girl says, “I’m pregnant.”
Guy says, “What do you want to do?”
Girl says, “I want to keep my baby.”
Guy and girl discuss the best options and come to a mutual agreement which is usually them keeping the baby.
Girl keeps the baby.
Guy is a happy father and they live happily ever after with daddy winning bread for his family unit and becoming the epitome of a perfect man.

The important themes there are communication, agreement and responsibility.

This is what actually happened:

Girl says, “I’m pregnant.”
Guy says, “What do you want to do?”
Girl says, “I want to keep my baby.”
Guy presents justifiable argument that financially a baby is not a grand idea since neither of us is prepared to comfortably provide all of its needs plus I don’t want to be a father right now and I don’t want you doing this on your own.
Girl keeps the baby.
Guy provides financially but withdraws emotionally and has little respect for the girl’s obvious lack of common sense.
Society says guy is a dog.

Though I’m female and I can appreciate the girl’s emotions and probably her anger and negative feelings toward the guy, the practical part of me has to agree with the guy that life is unfair.

The girl has the first options of how best to proceed with the situation and what she says goes since it’s her body but what rights does the guy have?

Why is he labelled the bad guy after he expressly communicated his own thoughts and the possibility that he would not have anything to do with the new family?

I’m sure there are a lot of angles from which to assess the situation but I had never thought of that one before.

He went further to tell me that he still provides as best he can while the girl who wasn’t financially able in the first place now has a growing list of needs that she is not able to fill.

The main issue here isn’t money though. Money, food and milk cannot fathers be. This child needs its father and it is unfortunate that it may very well never fully have one.

Even if this guy provides an adequate stipend every week, he may never be emotionally supportive of his child. Essentially, Baby will be fatherless. Needless to say, Mommy will not be happy and depending on the type of mommy she is, Baby may not be happy either.

Regardless of whose side you’re on, (because I know you’ve picked sides) Baby is collateral damage.

May this guy will change his mind and be fully involved in Baby’s life and be Father of the Year but what if he doesn’t?

In my mind, he shouldn’t be forced to.

Mommy decided that she would go ahead and be a strong black woman raising her child on her own, more power to her but can she be both Mommy and Daddy?

And if Mommy decides to do it alone why not go all-the-way alone?

She shouldn’t have to be when the situation could have so easily been different.

Again this is not about pro-life and pro-choice. This is about equality for all.

What does that mean for us as a society? Do we continue to label this guy a dog while consoling the mother? Do we chastise the mother for going with her feeling while hailing the guy for standing up for his rights? What do we do with the children? What factors determine who’s right?

He likened the situation to being forced to eat a meal that he didn’t ask for.

When he puts it that way…

By: J. M Hector