What If You Aren’t Ready To Be A Dad?
Have you ever been caught parking on double yellow lines and then received a ticket and fine? As regrettable an incident as it would have been, it wouldn’t compare with the regret you may feel when those double thin blue lines appear on your girlfriend’s pregnancy test.
How did that even happen? you’ll ask yourself; well the answer my friend is fairly apparent. This is going to cost you plenty and it’s not just about the money, is it? What about the child support and the bloody awful timing too?
Probably your first thought when hearing the ‘I’m pregnant’ words, will be – How did it happen? Mentally you will work through every drunken fumble, every morning glory quickie, every lazy Sunday afternoon pre-nap or post-nap love-in, in a vain attempt to try to pinpoint the non-condom moment. You’ll fail.
And when she utters those immortal words, ‘I want to keep it’, and you usher your words with similar gravity, ‘are you sure it’s mine?’, the axe will fall on your life plans, your dreams, and nothing will ever be the same again. Quite honestly, you’ll feel a bit helpless, and at this point, virtually anything you say will be the wrong thing!
Let’s assume you are a nice kind guy. Hell yeah, it’s happened, and now you’ve got to be seen to be supportive. But it’s so damn hard as SHE has changed, almost overnight.
Before, she loved a drink, especially on a Friday night, your favourite night of the week, when it was difficult to get her to leave the pub and when you did, she wanted to go to a club. Life was a series of adventures, laughs, and a kind of ‘you and me against the world’ mentality.
Now, all of a sudden, she’s on tonic water, no gin, and starts to droop about 8.00 pm, just as you are ready to make a night of it. The very smell of a ripe oven-cooked Camembert makes her heave, and so even those cosy nights in front of the telly with red wine, and picky bits have become something of a minefield.
Your relationship changes dramatically. You have no idea what to do, what to say, how to say it. There is no training for this and there are still probably 7 months to go. You just want to turn the clock back, to how it was when you first met, to the boyfriend and girlfriend days, when she was fun, sexy and all yours.
Now, you are fast becoming second in the pecking order, to an as yet, unseen peanut-shaped ‘thing’, occupying space in her previously nice taut tummy and it’s changing your world as well as hers.
You already resent it and quite honestly things are spiralling out of control.
There must be hundreds of thousands of men faced with the same situation, if not every day, then every week. But nobody ever really addresses this from the man’s perspective on how to deal with an unexpected, and from the man’s point of view, an unwanted pregnancy – how it makes him feel, the implications, the dilemmas. It’s always about the woman. So it might be time to change that.
Yes of course there are lots of mature men out there, ready to be a Dad, who would be happily excited at the prospect. But likewise, there are many men who are simply not ready or willing to be. It doesn’t make them bad blokes, it makes them simply honest blokes.
Do men really need to be held accountable for the rest of their lives, for 5 minutes of afternoon delight, or a quickie with a willing partner? Babies don’t really feature in that scenario, at that brief moment in time, do they?
Isn’t your average blokey bloke more about the footy, a beer with his mates, enjoying the craic, and a kebab on the way home? Will he want to exchange that for a crying baby, endless shitty nappies and his woman turning into a human milking machine?
But as the legendary band Squeeze sang ‘she said she’d seen a Doctor, and now nothing now could stop her’ it’s out of his control. His wishes don’t matter. It’s all about her and the baby.
Any response from him, other than, ’yes I want it too, let’s make a go of it’, is truly unacceptable in her eyes, her parent’s eyes, and probably his parent’s eyes too. She wants to be a mum.
They WANT to become Grandparents, no matter what. The prospect of this baby overrides everything else; it will be a continual talking point in every household you visit for a whole 9 months and beyond.
But you know, it IS alright to be true to yourself. You are allowed to be honest. It is YOUR life that this will affect. So if this happens to you, it is time to man up and say it how you see it.
Far worse to make empty promises, and then be seen to let people down.
What’s the worst that can happen? If Fatherhood isn’t for you, right now, then say so, loud and clear. Be kind, but be firm. Be understanding, but be truthful. Just because it’s her time, it doesn’t have to be your time too. There is no law that says you HAVE to sign up to be a Dad if you are not ready.
Yes of course you may have to make some financial contribution, but make sure it’s fair, and you are not forced into paying an exorbitant price for what is essentially a mistake. Stand your ground, but accept the part that you played, gracefully. Be seen to accept the appropriate amount of responsibility.
You have two choices I guess. Walk away completely, end the relationship, be a free man, take no part whatsoever in the upbringing of your child, and understand that you can’t expect any contact, consultation or consideration, ever.
Or, make it clear, what part you want to play for the long haul, and accept that people will expect things from you. Childcare, input (both financially and parentally), and your son or daughter will become the baggage that you take into all subsequent relationships. You can’t just dip in and out of being a parent, it takes commitment and in lots of ways, courage.
So if the time ever comes when that thin blue line becomes two, let’s hope you can deal with the fallout. But if this sounds like your worst nightmare, I suggest you’re bloody careful this doesn’t happen to you, or else!
This post was kindly written by Jane at hellosixty.com