I favor free and unfettered abortion. Of course I do...I'm a man.
The personal history is a little more complicated, and a little more painful...but the statement stands.
I am the father that Bill Cosby rails against. The father who was never there. Ohhh...I was there at the conception, alright...and I was even there during the birth. But after that? Nada, Nyet, zilch. I was nowhere to be found. I ran for the hills.
When I first learned from my fiancee that she had missed her period, I panicked. And as I write these words, it occurs to me that there is no real way to communicate that panic. Or explain it.
But at the time, it was all consuming. And it has followed me for the entirety of my life. We are just two weeks past Father's Day, and I am a father. Except for the fact that I'm not.
Never have been, and probably never will be.
Except for that nagging fact that I have a son. And, after so many years, a couple of grandchildren. I've never met them. I probably won't...and the truth is I don't think about it much. Except for now...and even now I'm not wallowing in remorse...just a little bit of self flagellation.
When my first wife and I (we weren't married yet) realized she might be pregnant, I searched for a women's clinic to confirm (or refute) our suspicions. My fiancee was from Costa Rica...and I was a lad of 26...I didn't have a doctor of my own...never needed one. I turned to the yellow pages. Can you imagine that? Facing such a momentous occasion, and having only the yellow pages to turn to?
Of course, I chose a clinic from those yellow pages that turned out to be a front for anti-abortionist Catholics. My fiancee, being from Latin America, was a Catholic (more or less) and when she got the results from the pregnancy test back and listened to the sermon that the staff delivered, she was adamantly opposed to aborting. She was open to the idea prior to the clinic visit, by the way...Catholic or not. But after the hard sell that they gave her (behind closed doors, mind you...I was never invited to that conversation), she walked out of a different mind.
Once I was confronted with the inescapable fact that I was going to be a father, and there was nothing to be done about it, I prayed for a daughter. I'm not a religious man, but when your back is pressed against the wall by a rapier, you turn to God. And God, as is his wont, says "Speak louder...I can't hear you!" My wife went into labor and bore a son. By that time she was my wife...I didn't know what else to do except marry her. I got her pregnant, and she was from Costa Rica, and I had asked her to come here...I couldn't just send her back home pregnant with my child.
I think I've changed about 4 dirty diapers in my life. I found it to be a disagreeable experience. My wife, the mother of my child, did all of the dirty work. Cause I wasn't there, and she had to. I remember changing my child's diapers once, at a friend's house, when he peed straight up onto both me and all over the bed that I was changing him on. I managed the clothing exchange, and exited the room in a foul mood. I was never cut out for parenthood. I hated it , to be exact.
So what's this got to do with abortion, you might ask?
It takes two loving parents to raise a child, and if one of them isn't loving, perhaps abortion should be considered. I was never there for my son...though I was reminded of him every time my paycheck was issued. I paid child support for 16 years. Actually, due to the inefficiency and poor record keeping of the Los Angeles District Attorney's office, I paid it much longer than that. But that's another story.
I got off easy. My ex-wife took it on the chin. But it was her choice. Or was it? At the end of the day, no matter whose choice it was, I felt as if I paid the price...but I say that in dollars and cents. And it is a petty complaint.
I can't believe that I live in a country that still considers birth control or abortion to be even somewhat controversial. Not all of us are cut out for parenting, even if we don't take the appropriate steps to prevent that possibility, and I am one of those people.
My story is not a rarity. I know that I am one of many. That's not to say I take pride in my story....I do not. It is a shadow that has followed me every step of my life. I know I have a son...my son knows he has a father...we both know that the other is out there...we've (I've) never just figured out how to broach the subject and reach out to one another
He has tried more than I over the years...and in that respect I must say that he's a better man than I am. I haven't seen him since 2002. He was sporting corn rows, and pronounced police as "PO-leece". I'm White, his mother is Costa Rican, and he has grown up in rural Tennessee, amongst a demographic that was distinctly "on the other side of the tracks." I wish I knew him better, but I don't. I wish he knew me better, but he won't.
And that's just the way it is.