General Question

Facade's avatar

What would be your advice to a new mother who was recently dumped by the guy who impregnated her?

Asked by Facade (22917points) July 12th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

61 Answers

EntitY's avatar

It’s you and your baby now…

tinyfaery's avatar

Just because he doesn’t want to be with his child’s mom does not mean he has no responsibility to his child; demand that he do so.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

She doesn’t need a person like that. There are other people, her family, her friends that can support her. And there will be other better relationships.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

You’re better off without him. Be glad he’s out of your life and move on.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I’d say buck up and get ready for the ride. It may be rough, but there are so many single mothers out there that have made great lives for their child. Focus on the child, they didn’t ask to be here, and why waste effort and energy worrying about some jerk. At least he left now and not when a family dynamic was established.

wundayatta's avatar

Don’t let this stop you from getting more education. The more education you have, no matter how hard you have to work to get it, the better your earning power, and the better you can bring up your child. You can’t depend on the guy to help, so you gotta look to yourself. Take care of yourself. Get as smart as you can!

skfinkel's avatar

Make sure that he understands that he has financial responsibility, and hopefully some father responsibilities as well. Or, if he is really a bad guy, a potential danger to the baby, just be glad that you can raise this child on your own. Try and find other women who are in a similar situation, and get support from them as well as your family and friends. Sadly, this situation has become more, not less, common.

lilgiraffe's avatar

Teach your child good values and see if you can show the child the importance of being ‘street-smart’ to better deal with the sticky situations that humans can get into in life.

kheredia's avatar

Two words: child support.

hug_of_war's avatar

1. Getting someone who doesn’t want to pay child support to do so can be very difficult so she should make sure she can make ends meet without it.

2. If the guy wants to be in the child’s life, then let him because even if they have a rocky relationship, she shouldn’t ruin a potential good relationship between the child and father.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Too many people let their pride get in the way in these situations.

4. You don’t need a man to complete you. You can do this, yes it will be hard, but you’ll be better for it.

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

Remember that anyone who knows about this, will probably call him a f*cking d-bag for the rest of his life. :)

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I’d say go to court. Dad’s got to pony up.

YARNLADY's avatar

Get a lawyer immediately to make sure she and the baby get their rights protected by court order.

Jeruba's avatar

Ask him to decide whether he wants to be in the child’s life or out of it—to make a decision and stick to it. Tell him that she will support either choice, and she won’t run him down in the child’s eyes, but she does not want him drifting in and out so the child never really either has a father or doesn’t. He has to be dependably present, or else he has to be absent, and he can’t have it both ways.

JLeslie's avatar

It would depend on how old she was? If she lived with her parents still? If she had finished her education? I also think he should be financially responsible for the kid, but if you both are very young, easier said than done.

Lastly, I would tell her to use birth control in the future. It doesn’t sound like she was married to him, or even living with him at the time of conception.

Facade's avatar

@JLeslie She’s about 26–27. Has an AA. She also has health problems that make it difficult to find work. She’s my babe’s friend. I hate when people get themselves in situations like this…

nebule's avatar

@Facade This very thing happened to me when I was 25. I hate when people get themselves in situations like this… sounds a little too judgemental for my liking….

But anyway, I would advise that she finds people that will support her and not look down on her in any way. God or nature or whatever, has chosen her and blessed her with a life to take care of. Nature doesn’t give us anything we cannot handle. What is far more important though is that if she desires to be a good mother and bring up a beautiful healthy and happy child then everything will be ok. If the intention is there everything else will fall into place eventually.

The father of my child is still not on the scene and has only seen Theo 3 times since he was born..I kept expecting that to change…I know the questions will come one day as to where his father is, but I know that I’m a brilliant mum and I do my best…

I don’t know what an AA is… but whatever problems she has got…and believe me I had major problems too..she can get through them.

My love goes out to her at the beginning of the most incredibly hard but amazing journey of all.

JLeslie's avatar

@lynneblundell I am not being judgemental. People have children for different reasons. We don’t know much about the girl described in the question, she may have planned the baby and everything has changed from what she expected, she may have plenty of money to support the child, there is no real info in the original question. what advice is the person asking the question looking for? Legal advice? Child rearing advice? Advice about what to tell her child if the father is absent? That is part of the reason I asked her age. If she was 15 the situation is very different. We have a problem of teenage pregnancy here.

AA is an Associates Degree in the states, which is a two year college degree (looks like you might be British since you used mum?)

Judi's avatar

I started to write an answer, then read all the above great responses and realized I didn’t need to. I love fluther!

Jack79's avatar

Well we can’t advise you if we don’t know who you are and what you want. First of all, do you want to keep the child? Can you take care of it on your own? Do you think you’ll cope? Do you need help? Are there people (not just a man) who could help you?

Secondly, assuming you go ahead with the single mum thing: do you want this man to play an active role in your child’s life, as Lynne just said? Does he want that? (if you don’t know, just ask him). Remember you won’t be together anymore, but is it possible to work out a solution with the child’s best interest in mind?

I’d personally keep the kid and raise it on my own, and let the guy be as active as he can/wishes. But I’m a man so I’ll (unfortunately) never face such a dilemma. But good luck either way. All I can tell you is that children are wonderful and worth any sacrifice you make :)

nebule's avatar

@JLeslie I wasn’t thinking you were being judgemental. My comment was more aimed at Facade.

Yes I am British. It would be nice to know more about the girl in question… but if she has an AA I would vouch that she has enough intelligence to get through this with flying colours.

JLeslie's avatar

@lynneblundell I agree, I believe it will work out in the end, I was worried about worst case scenario, but that is obviously not the case. I wish her luck.

wundayatta's avatar

Health problems that make it hard to find work? How is she supporting herself now?

As to the responsibility of the father, she can get all the lawyers she wants, and all the court orders she wants. If the father doesn’t want to support the kid, he can easily disappear—become one of those notorious deadbeat” dads. She can’t count on him, and must figure out how to support herself and her child on her own. Even if he does provide child support, she still has to support herself, somehow.

ubersiren's avatar

Tell her that her life isn’t over. Plenty of single moms build strong families and have happy lives. Also, she probably won’t be single forever.

Darwin's avatar

She has several choices.

1) Abortion is definitely an option if having the child will destroy her health or her ability to survive. It would be the easiest in some ways, but also the one that may be most regretted.

2) Placing the child for adoption is an alternative. In a formal adoption, she would have to sign away her rights to the child as would the father, but if she chooses wisely in terms of adoption agencies and adoptive parents she could have an open adoption (as we have) and so could still have contact with the child. This can be a rewarding choice, in that she would fulfill the dreams of a childless couple, assure her child that all of its needs would be met, and leave herself only needing to support herself.

There is also informal adoption, where a family member with better financial status raises the child for a while. If she has family, this could be a place to start. For example, my brother is raising his granddaughter, who knows very well who her parents are and who may someday go back to her parents when and if either of them gets a stable-enough life and income to raise her, but who may very well stay with my brother until she is an adult on her own. This is very common in families in our area.

3) Raise the child as a single mother. While the law says the father has to provide support, the reality is that it can very well be sporadic or even a non-happening. Thus, she needs to figure out how to put food on the table while caring for a child. However, even if the father is a total waste of space, his child deserves to know of him, and know him if possible. This last is probably the most difficult choice to actually perform well, but it can, of course, be very rewarding.

Those are basically the choices open to her. Only she can decide which option to pursue.

Facade's avatar

@lynneblundell I thought I was being rather kind by stating it that way
I was definitely judging what she did. Getting drunk and having unprotected sex with her so-called boyfriend. They were both sleeping around on each other. Now there’s an innocent cent baby in the picture. All of that could have been avoided.

Facade's avatar

@daloon The father has been deployed to Afghanistan for about a year I think…

Judi's avatar

If daddy is in the military, then she will definitely get child support until he gets out, although she will probably have to go through the process of establishing paternity.

JLeslie's avatar

@Facade WHAT?! Did I miss something? Drunk and screwing around and whithout protection and sleeping with others. I hate when I am right about these things. But, we all make mistakes. Is she happy to have the baby now that it is born?

Facade's avatar

I guess she’s happy with the baby

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Facade you should be supportive

Facade's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir If she was my friend I would be but I’ve met her once.

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir seems like facade is trying to be helpful, trying to get advice from our collective. She did not put out the negative parts of the situation, we drew them out from our assumptions.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie I didn’t imply she wasn’t being helpful nor did I assume anything negative about the mother, at all…I just think the person in question needs support

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I agree, about being supportive. I think you have been nothing but understanding and positive in your responses. And, you did not imply you assumed anything negative; I did, and some others, but my point with that is that Facade had not written anything negative, my assumption is she wants to be supportive.

Facade's avatar

I’m kind of “whatever” about the situation. I was just trying to see what advice you guys would give to someone in that position

JLeslie's avatar

@Facade dos she have family members to help? Do you think the father will help her with money?

Facade's avatar

She has family, but if I’m not mistaken, she moved to Florida to be with they guy and her family is in VA not sure about that
As far as the father goes, all I know about him is that he screwed around giving her herpes in the process
From that, I gather that he’s not a good guy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t help her out at all.

Darwin's avatar

If she can prove paternity then she needs to get the state and the military involved. The military will garnish his wages for child support but may need some urging from the state to do so. Depending on the circumstances the two of them may have a common-law marriage, which would help in getting the military to act.

OTOH she may be better off without him and might be wise to move back home.

CMaz's avatar

Get child support. Find a better man.
They are out there.

shipwrecks's avatar

Child support. Fight for it. You may have to fight hard and long. Beware.

Buuuuut if you’re okay financially, and he doesn’t want to be in the child’s life, cut him out completely. It may be hard, buy it’s better than having a dead beat dad.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

1. She’s learned he’s not interested in her
2. She’s learned he’s probably not the best candidate to link her life too via the baby
3. I’d advise she think carefully how much support, acceptance and love are on hand if she chooses to remain pregnant. In theory, every child should be thought of as a gift but once they’re born, circumstances can be very cruel/or crushing.

Facade's avatar

Just so everyone knows because I know yall care I spoke with my dad who’s retired navy and he says the guy HAS to pay child support to the kid for 18 years. So, there ya go

Darwin's avatar

Yes, he does, but…

Sometimes it is difficult to get his CO to act. I have seen it happen where the two were actually married for 14 years but his girlfriend got to the CO first and convinced him the wife was lying. It took a long time, several lawyers and getting the Attorney General’s office involved to straighten it out, even though the wife had three children by the man and the girlfriend only one newborn baby.

I also know that my husband’s first wife suffered when her husband was sent over seas but lied to the Navy and said he was not married and that her child was not his, so he didn’t have to make an allotment for her. She ended up divorcing him and getting nothing.

Technically, yes, he does have to pay child support, but sometimes getting it is not so easy.

nebule's avatar

Yes…Um…, I thought that the least Theo’s father would do would be to pay Child Support for him, (even though at times I have thought about refusing to have it off him, but was convinced otherwise) and he did for a while and then suddenly he stopped paying and because he has refuse to update me with his address as he has moved around I honestly do not know where the guy is at all anymore. Which is very sad…for Theo.

But the government will do their best to track him down and I have to say they (the CSA here) have been very good with me and very efficient so far. They are currently taking him to court and if they do catch up with him, which they should do because he works (as far as I know) for a famous Opera company…they can take his driving license off him and potentially imprison him…

In my mind, anyone, be it a father or mother that abandons their child, because let’s face it…that’s exactly what they have done, should face the consequences…and really that means being there not avoiding at all costs. That’s just stupid and heartless.

Jack79's avatar

@lynneblundell the whole thing about child support is psychological more than anything. From the child’s point of view, there are obviously 2 parents that should share the costs. But from the dad’s point of view, he doesn’t really have a son. He just has to pay money for someone he doesn’t know and never meets. It’s different when you’re divorced and the dad at least gets to have some sort of relationship with the child (assuming the child, as usual, stays with the mother). But as far as he’s concerned, he just has to pay money without anything in return. You can say it’s his kid, but in reality it isn’t. Imagine if you gave Theo up for adoption, were never allowed to see him, but still had to pay his expenses on the basis that you’re his mother. That’s how the guy feels. And I know that you’ve actually wanted the particular guy to have some role in Theo’s life and he refused. But this is the exception. Most mothers are the ones destroying the father-child relationship and then wondering why the dad won’t pay. Plus the money often doesn’t go to the child (or even to the mother). I know a woman with 2 children who gets more than 1000 euros per month from her ex and spends it all on boyfriends. And the children are starving, which is why the father secretly sends them another 500 or so to buy food (luckily he’s a doctor).

Now back to Theo’s dad: the whole idea of abandoning a child is that you don’t want the responsibility. Not just the money (which is obvious in his case), but especially the role. And the problem as far as Theo is concerned is that this guy will probably not make a good father anyway. So trying to track him down will in the best case scenario get you some cash, and in the worst case scenario a problematic relationship that will negatively affect your child. If this guy doesn’t want to be a dad, forget about him. It’s not a man/woman issue, I’ve been through the opposite situation (and a lot worse). I don’t even think the state should try track down these people, except maybe to sign a paper saying they don’t want anything to do with the kid and waiver any custody rights (because if he does care enough to come back he could easily cause more trouble than his money’s worth). A lot of single mothers would actually love to be in your shoes. And I know I wish my ex wife would simply stop trying to be a “mum” and get out of our lives altogether. And I obviously don’t want a penny for that. I’ll even pay her to leave.

Of course every situation is different, and there are various balances between the three (or sometimes more) people involved. In some cases the two parents can even be friends eventually. In any case, we should put the child’s interest first.

nebule's avatar

I guess I have a problem with your third statement; that from his point of view he doesn’t have a son… he may well choose to ignore that fact… but a fact it is….Enough said.

JLeslie's avatar

I have heard a lot of men complain about paying for children that they never see or interact with. I guess they see it like, if they were the sole one responsible for the baby, they would have given it up for adoption maybe? I mean if they truly want nothing to do with their kid. I know its not really the same, or to me its not, because they know the babies mother is actually caring for their child, so it probably does not feel final like giving up a baby for adoption, because the men know where the baby is.

Sad, I can’t imagine not wanting to care for my child if I had one.

Jack79's avatar

@JLeslie yes, in theory that’s the analogy. Of course if these same people were the sole person responsible for the child (and I bet even Theo’s dad is in that category) they’d probably step up and face the music. I don’t really think they’d abandon their kids and give them up for adoption. Or ever care about how much they cost. My daughter has cost me more than 200,000 in her 4 years of life, that’s 4000 per month! But I never see it like that (and no I have never paid a single penny on child support, which I guess makes me stingy too).

But in order for women to understand these immature and irresponsible men, look at it this way (and I’m not specifically referring to lynne’s ex here): Imagine that you have a child with a man, and then for whatever reason he is the one who keeps the child. And you never see it, usually because the father has made it so hard on you to see it. But you’re still the biological mother (even though in many cases the dad remarries and there’s a new woman your son or daughter now calls “mum”) and therefore you still have to pay money for this stranger. How would you feel about that, as mothers? And would you then consider it fair to pay money and get nothing in return? I’m not speaking as a man or as a father here, just trying to show that there’s another side to every coin.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jack79 I understand why dads get frustrated and resent when their children are not accessible to them, and then on top of it have to pay money to the very woman who is making it difficult for them. I was originally referring to the dads who don’t make any effort to see the kid, basically have abandoned their child, I will never undertsand that. I think you are right that some of them might step up if they were the only parent able to care for the child, but not all of them, and how good of a parent are they going to be if they are willing to go months and years without seeing their children.

Jack79's avatar

I have met dads like that, and yes, sometimes I wonder that too. Leaving the financial aspect of it aside for a bit, I think there are different categories:

1. Men who never really think about fatherhood. The child for them is just a part of the woman’s body, not theirs. It’s generally a “woman thing” and their role ends at having sex with the mother. I assume this has to do with their background, perhaps the way they were brought up. I have an uncle like that. Luckily he never became a father.

2. Men who generally realise that they are fathers, but don’t know how to cope with it. They just don’t want to take on that role, probably because they think they’ll be bad at it and also have other priorities in life (like finding a new girlfriend or buying a car). I’d say this is the majority of fathers. They don’t realise the importance of children unless they actually get to meet their own kids, and even though they’d probably make good fathers given the chance, they never discover that. These are the people that have been our fathers and grandfathers for centuries, and are now alienated from their offspring for the simple reason that the divorce rate is higher nowadays.
(from what I understand Lynne’s ex is in this category)

3. More modern dads who’d like to play an active role in their child’s life, but are not allowed to do so by the mother (including court orders etc). This is becoming quite common unfortunately. The reaction is that the dad eventually gives up because he can’t cope. Studies have shown that they have a much higher chance of going into depression or committing suicide as a result, and the only solution is to pretend their children don’t exist (which partly explains the refusal to pay child support).

4. Dads who keep fighting for their kids forever, usually against a mother with different views on parenting. Eventually one or both give up and kids get two sets of families, which is wonderful actually.

5. And then you get guys like me…lol

I have a divorced friend who has a son around my daughter’s age. He is not my godson, but he was going to be, and I think of him as my godson. I have often taken him to play with my daughter, babysat for him and so on. I’ve spent a lot more time with him than his own dad. Actually the mother is so busy that the child grows up with the grandmother, who’d be more than willing to let the father take him. Whenever I ask him why he never goes to visit his son his excuse is that “it’s too far” (7km…that’s less than 5 miles). When I offer to give him a lift or take him next time I go to pick up his son, he’s always busy or the time doesn’t suit him. He complains that his ex-mother-in-law doesn’t bring the child to him at his own home, and that he always has to find a way to go there. So yeah, I don’t get it sometimes either.

YARNLADY's avatar

Be sure you have his social security number. The military “lives” by the ss#, and if you ever have any trouble with him not telling you where he is, any military family service will help you. If he leaves the military, any family court will be able to find him using his ss#. It’s your most important link to him.

JLeslie's avatar

@YARNLADY is right, at minimum the last four digits. Typically when looking for medical records and other items in th emilitary they ask for last name and last 4.

Facade's avatar

@YARNLADY just to be clear, this isn’t about me lol

YARNLADY's avatar

@Facade right – I meant ‘she’

nebule's avatar

@Jack79 He’s actually more category 1. I think you are naturally and rightfully going to defend men to some degree but really, I’m sorry…but; if like you say the shoe was on the other foot I would move mountains to be nearer my son and spend time with him…and I know some men do, which is why it is not excusable for those that don’t. No-one know the hell I’ve been through with Theo’s Dad and the abuse that has been fired at me, which no woman should have to deal with. I just hope that this lady in question isn’t exposed to the hideous callousness that some men seem to naturally emanate when faced with responsibility. I realise you are a very different kind of Dad and that’s admirable!!!

I couldn’t sleep last night for thinking that maybe I’m once again wrong about his father… once again I began to think; actually Lynne you are being unfair on him…poor bloke has it hard… the amount of times I’ve been there is untrue and I’m quite frankly done with trying to consider how he is feeling. So, I sit here crying because I cannot bear the thought of how to explain to Theo why his irresponsible father couldn’t be bothered to have anything to do with him, without hurting Theo any more than he is going inevitably to be (despite how much I try to keep the brutal truth from him) he will know… eventually. In the meantime, I will love him more than I can express and hope that the love i give will be good enough.

I’m going to leave the thread now, some things are just too painful sometimes to continue discussion over fluther…and this isn’t about me…love to you all and love to the lady and father in question

Jack79's avatar

@lynneblundell I am not actually defending these men. Far from it. Ever since I’ve become a parent myself, I’m a lot stricter on other parents, because I don’t buy the excuses anymore. I’m also a lot stricter on my own parents. If I can love my own daughter as much as I do, and keep fighting despite all the obstacles and everything I’ve been through, then so should everybody else. I hear parents complain about their children “misbehaving” because maybe they didn’t eat all their food or broke something accidentally. Or maybe because the poor child is asking too many questions or something.

As far as you are concerned (and there are many women like you), my point is basically that the guy’s more trouble than he’s worth. No, he’s not “the poor bloke who has it hard”...and you’re right in saying “I’m quite frankly done with trying to consider how he is feeling”. Unfortunately these second thoughts will always haunt you, and there will always be some amount of guilt associated with bringing up Theo, and wondering whether you could have done something differently to keep his father around, or find him another father perhaps, or whatever else. True parents always double-guess themselves. But my point is that trying to force the guy to be a dad (and especially just trying to force him to pay money) will probably not help you in this case. It will cause more problems than the ones it will solve. You should however keep the door open in case he ever decides to play his role. I know this is not fair at all, because you’re stuck with being a 24/7 and he has a choice of coming in once a month and being a hero by taking his son to a football match for example. But it will mean your own peace of mind, because you’ll know you’ve done your best and your son will eventually learn to appreciate that. Having a clear conscience is a lot more important than people think.

wundayatta's avatar

@Jack79 I wonder how many people count up the cost of children? I know I could—I’ve entered every expense in the accounting software, but I’ve never bothered to look at it. I guess I’m not even curious.

In some societies, children are seen as a retirement policy. The more kids you have, the better off you will be when you’re old. In the developed nations, I think kids are generally seen more as an item that costs money rather than bringing in a return on investment. I guess that’s the principle behind child support.

Jack79's avatar

@daloon same here, the only reason I know how much it is is that I generally look at those numbers, but in my daughter’s case it’s pretty clear-cut because it’s big chunks, like a 10,000 doctor’s bill. I have no idea how much I’ve spent on food or toys unless I actually sit down and count it.

But even though you are right about the investment logic, I think that child support in the West comes from a notion of “human rights”. A child has some basic rights and needs that have to be met, and often cost money (eg the right to be fed regularly or be seen by a doctor when sick). And there’s a total cost involved (which in reality is a lot larger, as parents with children who also expect luxuries such as a toothbrush or a Christmas present very well know). I think “child support” starts by calculating how much a child needs and then trying to figure out who will pay it, based on who is responsible for this child (ie usually the two parents, based on salary), rather than who is willing to pay it. In some countries the cost will even be paid by the state, which assumes that it is a good idea to take care of future citizens, rather than let them starve to death.

(Unless this is what you were also trying to say and I didn’t get it)

wundayatta's avatar

@Jack79 That’s a helpful comment. I was just thinking out loud, and really ended my comment because I had no idea where to go with it. Thanks.

babygalll's avatar

Make his life a living hell and make him wish he never left!

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