Whew! Let me say it again: Whew! This week has been a humdinger. As a family law attorney, I feel a bit macabre in saying that my business “has been good” lately, because that means that people are in pain. However, it has been sooooo busy that it is phenomenal.
I have found myself going from one conference room to the next, meeting with clients. What this means, of course, is that all the paperwork needed from those will have to be done this weekend!
Yes, people are still getting divorced at alarming numbers (yours truly…), but that’s not what this rant is about. Before I go full-swing let me say a few “givens,” because I am going to sound somewhat harsh in this post:
- All babies, regardless of circumstance of birth, are blessings, end of story. We are happy, happy, happy they are here.
- Life throws us curves. Things (pregnancies, included) happen when they are not expected. They just do, and I get that.
- If you or someone you love are in the position of single parentdom already, I’m sorry, and I mean no offense. I know many are there by other-than-choice and that is not what I am preaching about here. Well, not exactly….
I think we all know there has been a steep rise in unwed births. I am very tempted to lapse into statistics here, because they would alarm you, but if you want those, ask and I’ll supplement. I’m scared this is going to be too long as it is.
What I want to focus on today is the not one, not two, but three young women I encountered in my practice recently. All have babies (under one year) by men to whom they are not married. All three mothers are wild-eyed crazy (sincerely) at the thought of those men now getting visitation. All three mothers want supervised visits for reasons from among the following:
- He has a rage problem and no patience;
- He uses drugs—she just knows it because she knows what he did when they were together. We just can’t seem to get a sample to prove it.
- He never cared for the baby before and only wants visitation as revenge on her—probably true in one case.
- He lives with his mother in a falling-down trailer with four cats and three dogs in the house; nasty, nasty, nasty. Where is her baby going to sleep and where is her baby going to safely crawl around?
- He’s irresponsible and immature (ya think??).
All three women admit that they knew of these unsavory characteristics in these men before they got pregnant.
These women are in sincere distress when I tell them (all but one) that supervised visits ain’t gonna happen under their facts. No, their babies will be sent off for some variation of every-other-weekend and maybe one night per week plus rotation of holidays and some graduated extended vacation. What!! I have to let him take her on vacation???!!! Yep, he’s daddy. Learn to wave “bye-bye.”
“What about breastfeeding?” they ask, “Isn’t that a special case?” Sure is; my advice: start pumping and freezing. The courts will (must) ensure that almost any father has a real relationship with his child if he wants one.
And, now, we come to the issue that really has me worked up: Many of these girls are getting pregnant by men they have never had intention of marrying!!! When I ask them, they will tell me all those reasons they now don’t want him visiting (see above), finishing up their litany with “I would NEVER marry him.”
They slept with him (unprotected) but they don’t think he’s good enough for them to marry? They would foist a jerk on an innocent little child? I’m sorry. It upsets me no end, no end, no end. It is rank “me-ism.” Me, me, me, me, me—hang the consequences to anyone else, including an innocent baby not yet born.
And, while I often see women who just petulantly don’t want to “give” visitation, these three cases involve sincere concerns. I happen to agree with them. If I were these babies’ mother, it would give me ulcers to send him/her into these environments. But, those kids will go. Why? Because their mothers chose poorly for them. They set them up with circumstances that are far less than ideal. They did not have to do that to these children.
I want to shout this from the rooftop to young women everywhere: If you want to sleep around, I won’t preach morality to you—your business, strictly. But we live in a day and age when birth control is absolutely available and you should remember that taking care of your unborn child is more than just about quitting smoking and drinking during pregnancy and watching diet.
It’s about safe-nesting. Wild birds do it—they choose the best location and circumstances that they can to give their offspring the best chance in life. Why can’t human women do it? Folks, over thirty-five percent (conservatively) of all births in America are out of wedlock now. There is a whole ‘nother post about why this, alone, even with great fathers, is less than ideal.
If you do not heed my warning here and you get pregnant out of wedlock by someone you have no intention of marrying, you are starting out as an irresponsible parent from the get go. You are consigning your unborn child to disadvantage because of your own rank selfishness. And if you inflict upon your child a father that you don’t even want as a husband because of his character flaws, then shame, shame, shame on you. That child had no say in any of this, and your selfishness will impact him or her far and away more that it does you.
All I’m asking here is that women THINK! And care about someone else other than themselves when the consequences are so dire. Please take care of your unborn child by building a safe nest before he or she comes. It is basic mothering…
C’mon out there…how do we get across to young women that they have a responsibility to their future children to nest safely? Do I need to get a tent and a bullhorn and go on the road?
And if you’re already in this predicament, there is hope. Sequel to this rant covering what-to-do-now-that-I’m-in-this-pickle is available on request. People usually pay $250 per hour for this advice…
See, I told you this was a rant…I’m gonna push “publish,” but I am, truly, flinching…C
PS: I see Barbara from 3 Acre Homestead is first on the comment bandwagon. This is ironic, because I first got the thought about the responsibility for "safe-nesting" from her blog. She wrote about her ducks choosing good locations for their nests, and I thought "WE need to do that..." Go visit Barbara. She is wise and you will love her blog. C