By Sandy Daley
The subject of child support has always been a touchy one, especially within the Caribbean community. Many Caribbean men believe that women should not turn to the court system for child support, even if they themselves are not supporting their children. Unfortunately there is also the idea that it is entirely the woman’s fault if an unwanted pregnancy does occur and therefore she should always consider having an abortion: whether or not she wants to.
This is such cowardly behavior on the part of these men with these backwards, old fashioned mentality, because in my opinion if you are willing to engage in the pleasures of sexual intercourse, then you should be man or woman enough to own up to your responsibilities. Or simply have a vasectomy my friend: as this is your ultimate guarantee!
It is entirely your decision if you do decide to keep a child unplanned and perhaps even unwanted. I will not, and cannot help you with your decision and choice. Let’s just say that you have decided to be strong -good for you- and the little bundle of joy will be here soon. If your baby daddy (for the lack of a better word) will marry you, and you either love him or can grow to love him, go for it. Marry the schmuck! The only reasons that you should not is if either you are being physically or verbally abused, or if he has no ambitions to succeed.
As a single mother, believe me when I tell you that without any help, you will suffer in many ways. You will give up opportunities -rightfully so, of course, as you are the parent- to ensure that you take care of your bundle of joy. Your child will need so much from you and you will have to provide, one way or another. And let’s not talk about the teenage or college years!
Also, a disproportionately high number of Caribbean men are not involved in their children’s lives and this of course leads to many other social problems. Statistics show that children of father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor and that 39% are more likely to be incarcerated. So why do it alone if you don’t have to? If your prospective baby daddy is a responsible man and has decided to step up to the plate to be a husband and father, let him.
On the other hand, if he does not wish to be responsible, but you have his address and all the other information to force him to step up to the plate and help out financially and emotionally: do so. I know that perhaps going through the court system may not be a welcome idea, but don’t be one of those women who say, “I’m an independent woman I can do this on my own.” We are not denying this, but you did not get pregnant on your own now did you? If you can work out a settlement each month and it’s reliable and comes when it’s supposed to, then stick with it. Some men are good this way, and realize that children are a responsibility. Those men financially and emotionally support their children; even if they do not live with them.
But once, and if ever, that arrangement begins to slip and you are searching for him or making calls that are not being returned, or you are being insulted by him or his new “love interest”, take the high road and go for child support. You will have a much better relationship with this man if money is not being argued about every month. This gives you both an opportunity to focus on being good parents, and maybe even friends. Your child needs the money, and supportive parents, and you need the help; so take it! Men should also realize that being a man is not about how many women they can bed in a lifetime, but instead that being a man is about standing up to your responsibility. Or as I say, have a vasectomy to ensure that you acquire no responsibilities!
Sandy Daley is a columnist, radio and television personality and actress. She is also the author of “Whose Vagina Is It, Really?” She can be contacted at: Website: www.sandydaley.com, Facebook: email@example.com, Twitter: twitter.com/whosevaginaisit and/or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.