When Dad Isn’t the Biological Father
I’ve been sitting on this one a couple of days since it’s not time-sensitive, and because eff you, I felt like it, that’s why.
I first read this on Babble’s Strollerderby section, then on Jezebel, but ended up saucing the original article from Good Men Project. It’s a Hugo Schwyzer piece about Schwyzer’s own experience in possibly – or possibly not – fathering a child.
Long story short (and apologies to Schwyzer for summarizing everything in a couple sentences), he met a gal, and the gal met someone else as well. She got pregnant somewhere along the way, and Schwyzer never really resolved whether the baby was his, or the other dude’s. The gal ended up getting engaged and married to the other guy – possibly because he was more stable and wanted to be a father, while Schwyzer partied and lived his single life. The gal had more kids with her husband, and they live a presumably happy life.
Schwyzer’s a good guy, and since you asked, I’ll tell you why. Actually, I’ll let him tell you why:
I made a promise to Jill before Alastair was born that I’d never ask for a paternity test, nor reveal to Ted the possibility that I might be the biological father of his son. I wasn’t in love with Jill and wasn’t ready to be a parent: Ted was both of those things. From what little I hear, he’s been a great husband and a doting father all these years. He and Jill have had two more sons together. With all that in mind, it would be an act of destructive narcissism on my part to ever break my promise and barge back into Jill’s life.
This is a hard promise to live with. While some men feel like this would eat them up, Schwyzer says that this is the distinction between being a biological father and being a dad: that even if his wife told him that he wasn’t the father of the child he’s been raising, he’d be no less a dad. Being a father is more in the act and emotion than the biological “donation. ”
The final point that Schwyzer makes is the best one – biologically and physically speaking, men have the ability to have children that they never know about, or raise children that aren’t theirs. Because a man doesn’t carry a baby, he never truly knows (without a paternity test) that he’s related to a baby. A woman carries the baby, and with that, the burden of knowledge – in this case, that Schwyzer’s ex-girlfriend’s first-born son with her now-husband, might be someone else’s baby. “Perhaps that weight has become so light that she’s forgotten it altogether,” says Schwyzer. “I hope so.”
Dude I totally just stole Schwyzer’s thunder on his ending also. Guess I owe him a drink.
Sauce: Good Men Project