The wise say:
‘You can lead a horse to the water, but you cannot make him drink.’
This could also roughly translate to:
‘Society can try to pressure couples with a baby on the way to make a go for it ‘for the baby’s sake’ but if the couple are not good together and are not meant to be, they will eventually part ways all the same.’ A lengthier process but which sometimes ends up the same way.
I see it again and again. Two people who would otherwise not continue dating past the third month, try to force themselves into continuing something against their will, heart and mind, just because one of them got pregnant. As a side note, it only takes tiny little contraceptive pills to prevent this. However, WHY oh WHY cannot family, friends and long-nosed push-overs realise that manipulating, stressing and bullying someone into giving into what is supposedly morally and socially acceptable will never work? Unless the two people in question are actually really in love in the first place, it is destined to fail. If they were in love, they would continue the relationship naturally, take the baby in their stride (though admittedly, this is not an easy thing to do even when a pregnancy is planned), and evolve into a healthy and normal couple without needing anyone’s pressure or solicitations.
The worst case scenario is when the two people try to convince themselves that they actually do feel something more than a passing fancy, or a falling-in-lust period, something permanent – since the child is obviously permanent too. You’d think this would be better, as the two would actually be trying to get along. However, what this leads to is usually a prolonged period of agony. Sometimes, years pass by, the child starts to grow into a sentient being and soon realises that something at home is just not right.
His parents are different from those of his friends’. They are not loving towards each other. They hardly touch and hardly even speak civilly. In fact, when one is in a room, the other is most often to be found at the other end of the house, if s/he is at home at all. And this takes place if they both, or singly, have not decided to have one or more extra-marital affairs, which is another kettle of fish entirely. Most people seem to believe that all this takes place for the sake of the child. Really? Do you think a child growing up in this atmosphere of tension and unhappiness would be happy with himself/herself?
Others are worried about social benefits, knowing there to be breaches and cases of fraud where people maintain that a child’s father is unknown, simply to gain a percentage of society’s hard earned cash. Yes, unfortunately it has been known for there to be people who took advantage of the social benefits offered. However, does this make it right to put everyone in the same basket? Moreover, the issue at hand concerns those couples who are forced into a relationship after finding out about the pregnancy, and not those who do not claim parentage.
Why not come out and say it? Single parenthood, for many, seems to be a shameful smut on the family name, which is why most people simply tell their son/daughter to shut up and take responsibility. This does not mean ‘pay for your son’s upkeep and schooling and take care of him/her emotionally’ but ‘sacrifice your entire life making yourself and others believe that you love a partner whom you actually wouldn’t spend more than a few minutes with, precluding any chance of happiness with anyone else.’ Is this fair? Is this practical? Is this tolerant, understanding and loving? Of course not and yet, being subconsciously afraid of the stigma, people still do it. Probably, I will have to start looking over my shoulder after this article is published – maybe someone will even proclaim that I’m a henchman (or in this case, henchwoman) of endless debaucheries and fornication. Simply put, this is how I see it.
What on earth is wrong with being a single parent?
Both parents could have contact with their child, without the need of forcing themselves into enduring years and years of wasted life ‘shared’ with someone who’s less important to them than their favourite pair of socks! There is nothing wrong with a single parent enjoying a healthy relationship with his/her child.
Does anyone criticise widowers/widows who look after their children after the loss? No! Everyone considers them to be heroes for being so brave, strong and efficient, and tackling the upbringing of a child on their own. So, why isn’t the same measure used for ALL single parents? The issue, once more, has got to do with the sex-taboo prevalent in many societies. Why let an issue which is mostly present due to the lack of sexual education cloud our judgement and influence the life of many people so negatively?
We tiptoe around it, trying not to look, trying not to acknowledge this mentality which, unfortunately, is still here in this day and age. Isn’t it time we looked straight at it and tackle it head-on?