Sunday, April 10, 2011

Support: The Birthfather

I thought this week I would talk about the birthfather this week since I am royally pissed off at Jude's birthfather at this moment in time. The argument is not adoption related, so I wont go into detail about it. This argument we had has led me to rethinking our entire "relationship" and think back to everything we went threw together, including the pregnancy and adoption.

Birth fathers can be a really good support system. There the other half of the whole you grow while your pregnant. They can be there for you when other's can't and help with the decision making.

I think talking about birth dad's and their roles in this whole process because I find a lot of women have a very skewed idea about it. Now, every man, woman, and relationship is different so don't take what I say as fact. I've noticed (through TV shows [like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant], books, internet pages, other blogs and my own experience) that women who become pregnant in a situation that is less than the social norm have either very high expectations or very low expectations of how the birthfather will be involved from that point on. I find that the one's who had high expectations for their guy were highly disappointed in the end. For example, take most of the dads on MTV'S 16 and pregnant. I think that most of those "men" are complete immature losers and I have never met anyone who has disagreed with me. Yet, all of those girls expect the guys to marry them, move in with them, or at least be a huge help during the pregnancy and after the baby is born. Most of those girls found themselves disappointed in the end. The girls with low expectations usually have reasons to have low expectations. The guys they got pregnant might be abusive, were a one night stand, or realize the person is a loser before they got pregnant. There expectations are usually met, but some are pleasantly surprised.

What is often forgotten is that when guys find out that their going to fathers, it changes them. It affects them. They are now the creator of a human being and are responsible for that human's well being for the rest of his life. IT IS A SCARY THOUGHT. The difference between men and women though, is how long that thought stays with them. Women are reminded everyday for 9 months of this thought. When we get huge, throw up, feel an internal kick, and eventually go into possibly many hours of labor those are all reminders. We create, take care of, are responsible for, and bring to life a human being. Men however, don't feel any of that. How can they? They don't need to carry a baby for nine months and then give birth. Men aren't naturally reminded that their responsible for a new person. For that reason and many others, some men choose to leave and not be involved. Others though, rise to the occasion. It all just depends on what kind of guy he is.

I'm not saying that if he is a loser don't be mad at him for being a loser. BE MAD! Cry, bitch, insult him, do what ever you want within legal limits. All I'm saying is that when it comes to people, especially the birth father, don't expect . . . well don't expect anything. Having high or low expectations in an adoption is only going to make things harder. The adoption was a day by day thing with me, no matter what and who I was dealing with. One day I would be happy with my decision, the next I would cry over it; Some days I hated being pregnant, others I would love being pregnant. With Victor, Jude's biological father, it was the same way.

Let me tell you about Victor first, because he's not what you would call normal. Victor is average height, average weight, blue eyes, dark blonde/light brown hair, pale skin, looks like the average joe. Victor though has a kind of Autism known as Aspergers. Nothing is really wrong with him mentally, in fact its the opposite, he is incredibly smart. He would probably legally be considered a genius if he took the I.Q. test. What his Aspergers does effect is his social skills, not to a drastic level, but enough for it to be noticeable. He doesn't respond to social norms, empathy is a hard concept to grasp, and he uses reason before emotion. These are not bad things, but they do make things harder and more interesting.

I met Victor in 7th grade during science class. He was a new student and had walked in like he has been here as long as the rest of us had. The moment I saw him, I was done for. It was another month or two before I actually had a conversation with him. From that moment on we were inseparable. We dated on and off for 7 years, but in January 2010 ended it for good. He no longer loved me romantically, but didn't want to loose me as a friend. I was devastated and heart-broken. One month later, almost exactly I found out I was pregnant. Victor and I laugh about this little bit of irony now.

At first I had low expectations of Victor. I knew him pretty well and every bit of me said he was going to not be involved. He was busy all the time with school, homework, doing his grandmother's and parents bidding, working, and his friends. The fact that he had time for me while we were dating was nothing short of a miracle. Not only that but he hates kids, especially babies. Even pregnant women make him very nervous and the idea of me being pregnant would be ten times worse for him. All signs told me to not tell him and keep him out of the loop, but I couldn't. It wasn't fair to him and who was to make this choice for him? So after I hid the positive pregnancy test I went over to Victor's house and told him.

I was right about one thing, he freaked out all right, but it was worse than I imagined. He spent the first 10-20 minutes using every swear word imaginable in every room in the house. After he calmed down, I told him what I think needed to be decided first; his involvement. I would have to go to the doctor first to have the test confirmed, but I needed to know, no matter what the out come would be, if he was going to be there or not. Before I wanted him to make his decision, I told him what exactly what I wanted and expected out of his involvement. I didn't want some half-assed involvement with him. If he was going to be involved, then he was going to be INVOLVED. He would have to go to doctors appointments with me, any other appointments with me, and make decisions with me. It would have to be a full commitment to me, but we didn't have to get back together, get married, or anything along those lines. We talked everything out, he told me how he was feeling, I told him how I was feeling, and we even cracked a joke or two.

We talked and thought about this for about an hour or two. He went back and forth between being involved and not being involved, whether he could actually help in anyway or not, and if can actually commit to it all or not. I told him he didn't need to decide now, but he did need to decide soon. I went back to Monterey the next day. A few days later I went to the doctors, got a positive test result, and called Victor to tell him the news. That weekend, Victor came to visit me. Every time he visited me, we would sleep in the parking lot in front of my building in the back of his Suburu. We talked about his final decision. I reminded him  what being involved entailed and what the next steps would be if he chose to be involved. He told me that he wanted to do the right thing, and for him the right thing was staying with me and helping me with the pregnancy.

I couldn't have been more happier. He promised he would do the best he could, and he kept his promise. He went with me to as many doctors appointments as he could. He would visit me and make time to see me when I was home. He went to every adoption related appointment with me and kept me entertained. Sometimes he was more than happy to do something pregnancy related with me and other times making him do something pregnancy related with me was like pulling teeth. No matter what though, he was always there for me. The day I went to the hospital, he was there in the room with me. He visited everyday and spent the night one night. Even though he doesn't like babies, he would hold Jude for me with out complaining.

He wasn't perfect though, there were times where he would do something that annoyed me, he would have to miss an appointment because of school or an event, or because he wasn't spending enough time with me. The biggest disappointment was when he left right after the papers were signed the last day we had with Jude, the last day in the hospital. He didn't think it was a big deal, so he left and went to school. It still makes me sad to this day.

After everything though, he's still there for me. He listens when I cry, he offers to come with me on visitations (even though he doesn't really want to see Jude), and he gives me his opinion. The thing that I always seem to forget is that Victor's life changed too. Even though he's not as involved as I am or feels the same way about Jude and the adoption, he is still effected by the pregnancy and adoption. He never really says anything about his feelings, but the few times he does, you can see the pain on his face.

No matter how pissed off I do get at him, I will always be grateful for Victor being there when I needed him. I hope other birth moms that were lucky enough to have support from their partners are grateful to them as well. Birth dads do not need to be there if they don't want to be. If they are there then they deserve some credit.

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