YOU have no control over the circumstances in which you were born, but when you are the product of an affair things can get even more complicated. All Woman asked adults, who are children of affairs, to say what, as adults, they think of their home-wrecking mothers/fathers. They had this to say:
Shanice, 38, financial analyst:
I am, what they would in the old-time days, term a bastard child. For all my life growing up, I didn't know that I was not my father's child until there was an argument between my sister and me and she said it to me. Everybody was mad at her, including the man I'd come to know as my father, and who had lived through the pain of knowing that while he was away on the farm work programme working hard to put food on the table, my mother would shack up with my biological father. To be very honest, when everything came out my self-esteem really suffered. I thought my 'father' was a coward for taking back my ungrateful mother, I thought about how she couldn't keep her legs closed, and I thought about my biological father whom I had seen my father treat like family — like a brother and son — and I was disgusted. I still am, to date, even as I work to forgive them. I am happy that I got the father I did; I couldn't have asked for a better father. He never made me feel less of a person or treated me different and he remains my best friend.
Sharry, 29, legal secretary:
I am the product of an extramarital affair. Apparently my dad and his wife were going through a rocky period and drunk sex led to me. My mother is pro-life and my dad didn't want to ask her to do anything that was against her will. After my birth, my mother did her best not to interfere with my father's family (he has three other children) and my dad did as he promised and was financially responsible and was there whenever he could be. When I got older I was allowed to be around my siblings who were all older and they were distant at first, but eventually were more accepting. After all, I was no threat; they had him everyday and I had him when they would travel abroad or when they went to visit relatives on the north coast. I was one of two things in my dad's circle though — either rarely mentioned or a hush-hush topic, and I resented being that. To this day I am missing from his perfect family pictures, but I have made my peace with probably never making any of those milestones. As for my parents, I resent them both for not protecting themselves — innocent people have been hurt by their carelessness. I can't imagine the emotional turmoil his wife must have experienced, the infidelity, discovering the pregnancy (especially when she had lost her fourth weeks prior), and me — a constant reminder of the infidelity. And, of course, the gossiping that came with it. As for my father, I wish that he spent more time in my life and I wish that my mother allowed him to and allowed me to interact with my siblings without becoming paranoid (she sometimes acts like she was the one who was wronged). Overall, though, I am disappointed with my parents and hope others will be more cautious as children should be born in love.
Troy, 44, construction manager:
My father was a real womaniser. He had a happy home and a little family, but for so many men one woman is never enough. My mother knew he was engaged to be married, but that didn't stop them and they ended up with me. My maternal grandmother told me that my mother wanted to have a piece of my father with her always in case he forgot about her when he got married. Initially, my father was concerned with what his fiancée would think, but he never asked my mother to abort me. My mother, I think, wanted to be with my father so badly that she thought a boy child would make him stay. She was right about one thing, which is that I would be a boy, but that's it. My father comforted his fiancée when my mom called her and told her of her pregnancy and he hated my mother for it. Thank God his fiancée gave him a chance, even though he doesn't deserve her. From an adult's eyes, I'll say what I have always thought — my mother is a Jezebel and my father is a low-life. They deserve each other. I still try to stay as far away from his wife as possible, as I can only imagine that I am not what she wants to reminded about daily. I thank them though for raising me to see what exactly I don't ever want to do to my children and I hope that I can uphold this for generations.
Kayon, 32, teacher:
My mother got pregnant with me and my father's wife basically showed him the door out; she was tired of the cheating and the lies. My mother then had what she wanted and I was so happy to live with both parents, and I sometimes couldn't be bothered that my siblings would come and my dad would share my attention with them. I didn't know how hard it was for them to be around the mother and child who stole their dad. My mother didn't help by policing them and trying to make sure I always had better things than them and access to more things than they did. As an adult, I have so many regrets. I can imagine how their mother felt knowing her children were not only spending time with the woman who destroyed her family, but who now had some influence over her children. I feel terrible about the whole situation and if I could do things differently, I would. I would have told my dad to not believe whenever my mother would run and tell him some half-truths or lies. I would tell her to stop making their lives harder because she had won, and I would have cleansed my mind and heart of jealousy because my sulkiness was unwarranted.
Davia, 22, artist:
I first asked my mother, probably around eight years old, why my younger brother was the same age as my other brother whom dad would take to our house on his visits. She found some way to explain away the fact that they were a mere four months apart, and later when I asked again about the fact that dad wore a wedding ring but mom and dad weren't married, she said it wasn't a wedding ring, but a gift from his mother. For years I wondered why we could never meet our paternal grandparents, or the other side of the family. I never really wondered why dad was hardly home, because he was in the police force, but as my mother got older, I worried about her, as she seemed to grow sadder and sadder — more defeated. It was when I was 16 that I found out the truth — my mother met my father on an overseas trip, and got herself involved with him even though he told her he was married. She wanted him so badly that she had me in spite, and because his wife was infertile, she named me after my father and sent a copy of my birth certificate to dad's wife. She also proudly blasted the news to all who would listen, including the people at my dad's wife's workplace. Then she got pregnant with my brother in the same year that dad's wife did successful IVF treatments, and both babies were born months apart. Even with all that, he still chose his wife over her. I have bitter thoughts towards my mother — sure she's educated and she gives off a vibe like she's all for women's empowerment and all that jazz, but all she will ever be is soiled — dirty and with no morals.