As a reader of reddit, I often come across a post about the trials and tribulations of parenting and expecting parents. One came across my desk the other day that I found particularly interesting.
Long story short, a man had suspected his wife of “pulling the goalie”, that is, to stop birth control on purpose without telling. As you can imagine, the wife became pregnant, denied doing it, and then admitted to it. Also, as you can imagine, the husband was pretty pissed. The first emotion he felt was probably betrayal, followed by anger, perhaps mixed with some confusion.
In his reddit, he lamented that his ‘life was ruined’, debated leaving his wife, pondered demanding an abortion, etc. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed (both for he and his wife, and probably pushed along a bit by the thoughtfulness and rationality of many redditors), and they have decided to go along with having the child.
This story isn’t unique. Many children are born due to ‘accidents’–purposeful or not. Before this story had been resolved, I found myself more appalled at the husband than the wife. Now, did she betray his trust and do something she should not have done? Yeah. And at the same time, I understand his feelings. The discussion of kids before Parker was a topic that made the blood boil between my wife and me. It’s no secret now that she really wanted a child and I really didn’t.
But there comes a point where you just sort of have to leave that way of thinking when a child is coming into your life. My wife told me she was afraid to tell me she was pregnant because she was afraid I would leave her.
Kids are part of the business of being adults, especially being married. Birth control doesn’t always work, and kids have to be part of the equation when two people engage in adult relations.
I think what hit me the hardest was the ‘my life is ruined’ line. I’m incredibly happy to see that this redditor decided otherwise and realized that he’s going to have a child and that life goes on. But for many children born into the world, they are blamed for it. Was Parker born to us at an ideal time in our lives? No. But being his dad is the single greatest thing I’ve ever done.
Becoming a dad is ‘man-up’ time to the nth degree. You can bench 400 pounds and it doesn’t come close to equating what it takes to be a dad. Resenting your partner and kid won’t do anything for you. It makes you weak. You aren’t strong by leaving your wife and neglecting your kid just because of timing or circumstance.
You’re strong when you change a diaper. You’re strong when you can calm a crying newborn. Strength comes from picking up your child when they are hurt, or putting them on your shoulders when they want to go with you. You’re the man when you let them splash in the bathtub a little more than they should.
I’m glad this redditor found his way back to that. To understand that strength and a good life come from turning anger and resentment into love and commitment. And one day, his child is going to see him as the real man.