Disclaimer: The following are the views of a single, black father whom shares custody of his child. These views are not representative of all single fathers or black parents. These views are not meant to excuse or justify the choices or actions of any individuals. However, this discussion piece is meant to provide new perspectives and encourage dialogue. Comments are greatly appreciated.
The Baby Daddy Chronicles
I – The “Choice” of Fatherhood
II – The Parent Trap
“I personally do tend to sympathize for the man because often times he has NO SAY in the decision process when a woman gets pregnant. Whether that be to keep the baby, terminate it, or put it up for adoption. Instead the woman and typically the woman’s family make all of the decisions with the man just having to accept whatever decision is made. Even though it takes two to tango, only one vote matters that could potentially change both parties lives.” – Tava
This excerpt from one of readers comes from a female commenter on the first release of the BDC. It shines light upon the very controversial myth of “The Parenting Decision”.
The assumption is that two consenting adults can have unprotected sex, and if an unplanned occurrence were to pop up, such as pregnancy, the two adults can then decide what the best course of action is.
The truth is that many women, when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, have their decision made up before the man’s input is solicited; it’s as if they plan it without the soon-to-be-father’s knowledge. They assume that by him diving in “naked head” he was willing to support a family. Based on the last BDC entry, I’d hope that this assumption could be seen as simply asinine, foolish, illogical, and stupid.
While this doesn’t excuse men from taking care of their assumed responsibility, it does go to show you that many times women decide to parent on their own, yet aren’t willing to parent on their own. In essence, “The Parenting Decision” lies only with the mother, and for the father, it is often a “Parent Trap”.
Some beg to know why a woman would want to attempt raising a child on their own. In some cases, it’s against their will. However, I can name countless mothers who forced fatherhood on men because “[they] didn’t want to be alone… [they] wanted somebody who would love them forever… [they] wanted to keep the father in their lives.” If you investigate, it’s not uncommon to find truly selfish motives for female parenting.
Sadly, all new and expecting parents are not married and prepared to provide a good life for a new life. The decision making process should include a discussion of what the parents can/will and can’t/won’t provide for the child. Based on this information, you can decide whether it would even be good for the child if you were to proceed with parenting.
**The decision should also be made BEFORE anybody actually gets pregnant as well.**
But what happens when the child is not the only issue at stake? What if being a parent supposedly assumes other actions effectually? What if we disagree with this assertion?
When I and my son’s mother had our “Parenting Decision” talk, our parents were present. The expectation of the discussion was that an abortion would be solicited. She’s the one that asked for the money to do it, but the discussion quickly turned into her attacking everybody else, calling us murderers. She stated: “I can do this on my own… I don’t need any help…” you know… #ThingsLiarsSay.
By the end of the conversation, not only had my son’s mother changed her mind (and thus everybody else’s), but it had also been suggested that I either get married to her or have statutory rape charges brought upon me because she was 16 (I was 17… #chill).
How do you answer this situation? Is couth still a necessity or a luxury of the solution? What’s a nice way of saying: I can take care of this child and not give a damn about you? How do you say: You can’t even take care of yourself, but you want me to help you raise a kid?
KING’S LAW: If you don’t have a job… you shouldn’t have a kid… even if he can pay child support.
Luckily, we have a decent relationship with each other to make sure my son is never negatively affected by our differences. However, a friend of mine is in very different shoes.
He and his lady (at the time) suffered an unplanned pregnancy, and he was ready for the challenge. She opted for an abortion, but he talked her out of it and said he’d raise the child himself. To this day he is very active in his son’s life, but the mother continues to collect child support in order to waive the responsibility of employment for herself.
Sadly, as he continues to sacrifice in order to gain full custody of his son, the courts will remain on her side.
Nobody ever stops to ask if the child is really the center of concern in these conflicts. It is assumed that if it’s in the mother’s best interest, it is in the child’s; and the “baby daddy” remains the villain.
KING’S LAW: Meal Tickets provided in lieu of unplanned pregnancy SHOULD have quick expiration dates.
BD’s are expected to drop their whole life and accept the role of fatherhood… sometimes even before they know they are the father. Another friend of mine suffered an unplanned pregnancy as a result of infidelity. He had to fess up to his girlfriend, parents, friends, peers, etc’s that he had been acting amoral and he would own up to his responsibilities. Little did he know that this child was actually NOT his.
Regardless, he fulfilled his promise to the mother. He actually got married to her and they continued to build their family with another child. Some may think that he simp’ed out, but others can see the beauty of this situation. It takes a rare type of man to handle another man’s responsibility, let alone raise his kids. Luckily for all involved here, this is a happy ending.
But what of the rest of the world who never intended to sacrifice their time, energy, money, youth, and life? What of those who understand what it means to be a “Father”, but cannot escape the trap of being a “Baby Daddy”?
Fathers are expected to be present… to provide… not just food, but lessons and values as well. They’re expected to put their children before themselves, because their children are a large portion of their reason for living.
Baby Daddy’s are expected to feel guilty… and provide… not just for the child, but for the mother as well. They’re expected to put the mother before themselves, because she’s suffered so much as a result of an inconvenient parenting situation that she may have chosen for herself. Because child support and alimony law support this kind of thinking, it’s social fact and societal law.
KING’S LAW: If he wasn’t a part of the decision, you can’t expect him to be a part of the plan.
Next time: Dating a “Baby Daddy”