All Woman

Men 'forced' into fatherhood

Monday, December 03, 2018

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WE recently shared stories of some women who believed they were forced into becoming single moms, as the fathers of their children decided to leave after getting them pregnant, without sparing a thought for the children they sired.

But what happens when men are the ones who feel as if they are being forced into parenthood? Men have access to and control over only one reversible method of contraception — the male condom. If a couple decides to use any other form of contraceptive, it will be the woman's responsibility to get it and ensure that she remains on it. In most cases, not even an emergency contraceptive pill (morning after) will be sold to the man if his partner is not present for him to verify her age.

As such, many men become fathers either because contraceptives fail, are forgotten, or because vindictive women wilfully neglect contraception in order to get pregnant on purpose. Below three men share how they were 'forced' into becoming fathers, and how they dealt with the situation.

Steve, musician:

It started with a few drinks at an event on campus. We both left feeling good and in the mood, and did not use protection. She promised to get the morning after pill but each day after, either something else came up, or she forgot. At one point I went to the pharmacy myself but was told I couldn't get the pill without her present. She had said she would get it the next day so I didn't push it. But she didn't. Some time passed and things were going alright until she started throwing up certain foods and being sick all the time. She got the test and we both saw the results at the same time. Then it felt like everything stopped. A lot of arguments came out of the series of events that followed, but we both loved him even before he was born. He is healthy, sweet, and smart and is now in school. His mother and I, though we are not together, get along well and both have his best interest at heart. There are still rough patches but nothing that can't be worked on going forward.

Anthony, mechanic:

I was with this girl for a few months. I always used condoms, but after a few times she started complaining that she didn't like how it felt, and wanted to go 'raw'. We got tested and got her on the injection and started going without the condom. When she told me that she was pregnant I thought she was joking, but she confessed at that point that she had come off the injection some months before because it was making her feel too sick all the time. I was upset because I felt as if she was just trying to trap me for financial stability, so I left. It bothered me for a few weeks, and I came around thinking that I had a child to care of, so I would try to make it work with her. I reached out to her asking if she and our baby were OK. She said, “I'm fine, there is no baby,” and blocked me. I drove by her house a few months later and saw her and she wasn't pregnant. To this day I'm not sure if she had an abortion, or if she was even pregnant to begin with.

John, sales representative:

I dated a girl for a few years, and after a while when we trusted each other we decided to have unprotected sex. We went together to get the pills for her to take. She always said they made her nauseous but she kept taking them (or so I thought). After a few months she started being sick constantly. I thought it was just the pills but she said no, she had stopped taking them for a while. We were also going through a rough patch at the time so we were hardly intimate. When she did the test and it revealed that she was pregnant, my first thought was that it wasn't mine. My second thought was that she was careless and spiteful. I left but she kept calling and messaging me, apologising and saying the baby was mine. I kept in contact with her because it felt wrong to leave a woman pregnant. After the baby was born I visited her in the hospital and he looked enough like me, so I signed the registration papers for him. The more he grows the more he looks like me, and I'm happy I didn't disappear for good. His mom is a great mom and I still love her so we are still together.

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