Sunday, September 19, 2004

Forced Fatherhood: My thoughts on child support

What I'm about to write is an opinion, my opinion.  I do not expect people to agree, as a matter of fact, I might get some rather nasty comments which I'm trying to avoid with this statement.  I am an open person and will talk about anything and everything, including my mistakes. If I don't know something, I'll find out the answers.   

We all know that making a baby requires (for the most part) two people.  But the decision to have a baby only takes one person.  Now I have always said to anyone I've had the discussion with, that it's all the woman's choice.  If SHE doesn't want a baby (and he does), said baby will not be born.  However, if she does want it (and he does not), well, that baby will be born.  Because women carry children, that's just how it is.  Anyone heard of a court case where a man won and made the pregnant woman have his child (because he wanted it) and then had to pay support?  I haven't.

Of my friends who have had children out of wedlock, some had their children because they believed a baby would help them get the man.  This way of thinking is total nonsense.  I did not want to be a single mother.  I have never thought children would help a struggling relationship (mine was strong, so I thought).  In fact, why would one submit a child to chaos-- yelling, fighting all the time, verbal and physical abuse?  Of note: many of my old friends would hit their boyfriends, when the men would defend themselves-my friends would call the police and HE'D go to jail??!! 

I also know there are too many ways of not getting pregnant to be in the situation, no matter what.  I could not take the pill of any type (seems like I've tried them all) because it caused severe migraines with nausea and numbness (stroke-like symptoms).  I carry condoms, spermicides, and loved sponges (aren't they back on the market now?).  I have used withdrawal, EC (emergency contraception.... damn things break) twice, and before EC came out, I had two abortions.  I will not advocate those as birth control methods.  I consider it a last resort.  I was 22, dating Wayne, the first time, and in college fulltime, working fulltime=no time to be pregnant... let alone raise a child.  The 2nd time, was about a month after I met my ex, Mohammed (a whole other journal entry on him sometime).  We had just started in on the sex thing....using protection, but I guess some got left behind-end of story.  Did I mention I seem to get pregnant by osmosis?  Anyway, point being, there are way too many options (knowledge/common sense being the best) for an unplanned pregnancy.

I used EC, after it broke (again), when I got pregnant with my daughter.  The effectiveness rate is fairly high, but not this time.  I was also 32, unemployed, and living with my parents.  After lengthy discussions about having a baby at the time, expectations, and such with them, I chose to have her.  I knew it might cost me my relationship and I still believe that is the real issue between Wayne and I.  In his eyes, I betrayed him--what he wanted didn't matter.  And he was right, on this one.  I was 32 and pregnant for the third time in my life.  Considering my age, finding new prospects (should he and I break up), and time--I felt I had no option as I have always wanted children.  Almost like my last chance, you know? 

When I chose to have my daughter, I signed a contract (with him) stating I would not seek support.  I would rather him be in her life than have his money.  He does give me money for her when she needs something (he paid for her preschool and dance shoes recently), but I don't ask for it.  It is his decision--I will not force him to pay for fatherhood.  And that is what I feel child support is in this case--Forced Fatherhood. 

In cases when it was an equal choice to bring a child into the world, I agree support is owed.  Even in courts when parents have shared custody, there aren't support payments.   What made me feel this way is my friends who think its funny/wise to use the child(ren) against the father.  Many times I've heard "Well, you can't see so-and-so because you pissed me off last week." or "I need $150.00 for school clothes, that doesn't count as support."  I advocate for kids to know both parents at no cost if it means the "paying" parent will stay involved physically and mentally. 

I chose to have her and I take all responsibility for that.  No court can tell me otherwise.  I will stand behind my word. 

Til next time.....



djzgirl71 said...

so i ask you...what about those of us who did decide to have the baby after the man asked us to abort....and then told the man if he didnt want the baby that was fine but to just walk away and we wouldnt ask for child support or anything else as it was our decision to not abort....only the man couldnt do that he just comes and goes as he pleases and doesnt help support the child he refused to walk away from even though he didnt want them in the first place?  It takes two people to make a baby why should only one support them if he wouldnt walk away.  When the men or women do not support their children he is taking away from the other children. And if he didnt want the child to begin with why does he want it now and think he shouldnt have to help support the child.  You cannot have both. Just a thought my friend...


themacman65 said...

Learned of your journal from "Stories from the Ambulance". As a single father since my daughter was 6 months old (she is now 14 years old) I found your entry (and your point of view) on child support very interesting. I thought it might be fun and enlightening to be involved in discussions about mutual issues with differing points of view. I also have a son by a different mother, he is 6 years old. I have never received any support from my daughters mother but I pay it on my son. I have not seen him in 5 years but will soon be in his life once again. So I have been on both sides of the fence on this one. I don't know, you may have no interest in discussions, but if so I would love to chat with you. Not just on serious issues surrounding child support and such, but in parenting in general as each day is an opportunity to learn something new about being a parent.
<a href="">pauliemac's world</a> is where I put my thougts.