Pregnant? Oops! Hit the road, Jack

By PENDA HONEYGHAN

Monday, March 25, 2019

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PREGNANCY has the potential to significantly change the dynamics of a relationship. For men, especially, even when they have been waiting all their lives to hear that they have a junior on the way, some are more likely to react negatively to this news. Unfortunately, while some men may just lack excitement, or struggle to create an emotional bond with mommy and baby, there are men who want nothing more than to hit the road. But why do some men, even those who ask for children, run when a woman actually gets pregnant?

Sex therapist Dr Sidney McGill said that a man might decide to leave for a number of reasons, the most common being that they don't believe that they are ready for the responsibility, as well as they may be bowled over by the financial responsibilities of a child. He said that for some men, even when they have anticipated fatherhood for a long while, they might run out on their partner and child because they get cold feet — they are scared that they will be poor fathers because their fathers also abandoned them or severely abused them.

Below women whose partners walked out on them after the pregnancy announcement share their experience:

Sharmin, 21, university student/small business owner:

I have a newborn; my son turned three months old on the 18th and up to six months into my pregnancy my partner was very happy. We are a young couple and the pregnancy was unplanned. I am still in college and I still pretty much rely on my parents to a large degree for financial support although I have a little hair business. It was a lot for him to absorb, but it was for me as well; however, from the get-go he was happy. Even though we didn't have a plan he promised that we would get through things. At almost seven months pregnant my son's father sent me a long message basically saying he did not think that he was fit to be a father, that we were in over our heads if we thought that we could be the best parents to the child, and basically that it was best that we give the child to his aunt who is a Canadian citizen. So when I told him I wouldn't give up my child, he said he wasn't ready to put his life on hold for anyone.

Karrece, 37, travel agent:

My partner wanted a child, but not a daughter. He was hyped up about the pregnancy and everything until the gender reveal party. His disappointment with the sex was very obvious. Anyway, after the day was over (he made a terrible host) he was acting funny. He didn't rub my belly anymore and he wasn't as supportive. When I talked to him, he told me that his family didn't make girls, before he went on to accuse me of cheating. He said he wasn't interested in a girl child and ended up leaving. I didn't question him, I didn't chase him, I just allowed him to leave because I was fearful he would try to hurt my unborn child and myself. Now that my child is born and she looks exactly like him, he sent me a gift at the hospital — a little cash — but he has not been in our lives because he “does not make girls”.

Joy, 32, insurance agent:

He left after my child was born because he got what he wanted — a child. You know how every man just wants a child because it is a big deal, because it shows that their sperm works and they “breed something”? Too bad I didn't see what a weak man I had picked up until an innocent child was in the picture. Anyway, he left because he said that he wanted a better life for us and he couldn't do it here in Jamaica. I only hear from this man at Christmas and in the days close to my daughter's birthday, because up until this day he hasn't learnt her correct birthdate. Oh, and on the matter of support, he might send a thing for her “pocket money” at Christmas. I just put the US$50 or $70 he usually sends into her account.

Michelle, 24, shopkeeper:

They run off because they are little boys who need to grow the hell up. They like the idea of children because they watch too much television and think it's all rainbows and butterflies, and it's a nice thing for men to have children. It earns them stripes. But then as soon as you get pregnant and your hormones start acting up, all of a sudden they realise that you're 'crazy' and they aren't ready for anything serious, and they want you to get rid of it. Idiots!

Shay, 27, customer service representative:

My ex always told me how much he wanted to “breed” me during sex, and other times he would say that he wished I was his babymother (he had a daughter before, but said the mother was “loose”). One month my period was late. I took a test and it was negative, but I decided to lie to him just to hear what he would say. He was supportive at first, then he tried convincing me to get rid of it, saying he couldn't afford a baby. Long story short, he left me. He tried to come back after a while when he realised that I wasn't really pregnant, but I didn't want him after that.

Amoy, 33, interior decorator:

When he left about three months after my daughter was born, he broke down in tears and said to me, 'Ammi (that's what he calls me), I can't help myself. You and J will be better off without me. I am cut out to be no good. I am just like my father.' I offered to help, and he wouldn't accept my help and this is a child that we decided on together, a child that he asked me to have because it would help him to find purpose. He still contributes financially sometimes, he is just physically absent.

FROM A MAN'S PERSPECTIVE: This is why we leave

WHAT is it about pregnancy that scares men, sometimes even when they said they wanted children?

“I guess they don't know if they will be good fathers, or they are afraid of the responsibility,” posits Richard, 28, a nervous soon-to-be father.

“They are nervous about the future. They ask themselves how much money they will need to make to provide for the baby...”

For Marlon, who is a staunch advocate for using protection, always, it's the fragility of pregnancy that is scary.

“There's the fear of impregnating the wrong woman, plus the extra responsibility, the thought of caring for the child, and the loss of sleep,” he said.

“The wrong woman is just a disaster in the making. But even if it's a woman he wants, maybe he's not prepared to handle the responsibility.”

Richard explained that the idea of a child is exciting — while it's just an idea — but once it becomes reality the men can't handle it.

“It's more nerves than anything,” he said.

Asked at what point they stop being nervous, he said, “The first time seeing and holding their child changes everything.”


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