Wednesday, June 15, 2011

an absentee father's day...

... Once I saw a bumper sticker, "Having an abortion doesn't make you un-pregnant. It makes you the mother of a dead baby." From that same perspective, a man whose child has been aborted doesn't make him any less of a father.

So little attention is given to men when the topic of abortion is raised, aside from a mention of forceful coercive tactics. In our victim-less culture it's easy to vilify the man that "got a women pregnant". That kind of thinking releases the woman from any responsibility, making the choice of abortion much more easy if not logical. No one thinks when they grow up "I want to be a single mother." However, this isn't about mothers. It's about fathers.

Last year I met a man who admitted how profoundly he'd been changed by an abortion his girlfriend, now ex-wife, underwent when they were teenagers. They both felt crushing parental pressure to have an abortion. These two teenagers were scared and went to their parents for help. Instead they got sermons and statistics thrown at them. Young parents have a lower success rate of finishing college. The odds were insurmountable. It would be cruel to bring an unwanted baby into the world that would just burden everyone. Abortion is the best thing.

He told me how he and his girlfriend never wanted to end the pregnancy but neither had the courage to stand up against their parents who they trusted to know better. He vividly recalled his ex-wife, then a terrified 18 year old girl, staring at him with desperate pleading eyes. She wanted him to stand up and firmly say "This is my child too. You will not have an abortion. We can cope."

Instead he looked away. The decision was made by their parents and the following week they drove her to the clinic. It was done.

They eventually got married and had several more children together but from the moment he looked away from his pregnant girlfriend's gaze and surrender his responsibility as a father he lost a good deal of his manhood.

He lost the ability to make decisions. He lacked the confidence and ultimately thought every decision he made was going to be the wrong one. So he stopped making them. His wife ran his life and she resented his spineless ineptitude to take charge. He was a coward at work, with his friends, his wife and eventually his children. No one respected him because he lacked firm resolve.

Not only did they lose their first child to abortion, he also lost his manhood and his fatherhood. He and his ex-wife no longer speak and the children are grown and estranged to him. He's never met his two grandchildren.

One single abortion, with promises of a better future, was supposed to solve all their youthful problems. Ultimately it destroyed two generations of his family and caused endless heartache.

I myself, speak very rarely on personal matters so it's not common knowledge that I was raised without a father. I might as well have been aborted as far as my biological father was concerned, for how non-existent he was in my life. Yet no matter how absent and unaware he was of me it still didn't change the fact he was a father.

The above image, from a website called PostSecret, acutely portrays the loneliness I felt as a child when I let my little mind linger too long on the ideal of "family". My father and I now share a relationship but it doesn't have the element of father/daughter; we are more like friends. He is a nice man and a wonderful doting grandfather, but he will never be the father that I go to for advice or comfort. Sad, I know. Such is the damage on a small girls psyche. It really sucks never being anyone's "little princess".

Take a moment to look at that PostSecret site. I do warn you there is an image of female nudity that may present a problem of custody of the eyes for some men. There is also coarse language, more so than found here. However, if your senses be none too delicate, it's an artistically done visual representation of what children feel, well into adulthood, when their fathers are absent physically or emotionally.

Also though, it celebrates the absolute importance of fatherhood. To have such an impact on your child's life is no small thing, as you can see. You are the world, inside and out, to your child. Not being there is just as impressionable as being there. You're fatherhood is a deeply profound thing. And that is a supremely good thing.

Never let anyone down play the importance of that role.

Happy Father's Day to all fathers, even the reluctant ones.

Gaetano Gandolfi, 1734-1802, St. Joseph was visited by an angel.


shadowlands said...

Kat. You've always been a Princess, before He formed you in the womb, you were the eternally planned daughter of the King of the Universe!

And He's an is, was and shall be kind of parent.

WHO'S THE DADDY?!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Meaning no disrespect, Kat, but your lack of a father growing up skews your perspective.

Believe me, there are many of us who had fathers present physically in the house who did not have the rosy upbringing that you may be fantasizing about. Having a father in the house most definitely does not guarantee that you will be his "little princess."

David Meyer said...

Having a father in the house is everything, unless he is very abusive. But "studies have shown" that even a distant and out of touch father in the home is better than none. Just being there says A LOT. A study was recently released that showed childrens performance in school drops off significantly when their parents divorce. BUT, get this, it drop off when the parents actually physically seperate, NOT when problems begin. Even serious problems.
I for one relate to your childhood. I never saw, heard from or even knew where my Dad was until I tracked him down at age 21. The hippie generation has a hot place in hell reserved for them. Contraception, free sex, no fault divorce, abortion, day care, feminism,... all these evils were swallowed by people who grew up in 2 parent homes then turned around and crapped on their own kids by divorcing. That is the worst form of selfishness to make children pay for our sinfull whims.

Great post. I wish I could see the site you mention. But I am a guy with that problem you mention. ;-(

The dad I'll never be said...

Kat - I can relate to that man's story. Details may be different, but I can totally relate.

When in our early 20's, I got my girlfriend pregnant. To this day, I still regret I hadn't been more persuasive - or begged, even - to stop her from getting the abortion.

We married, and it's only been within the last few years or so that I've understood why we got married (at least from my perspective) - because she's the mother of all my children, not just the two we've been blessed with since getting married.

If it weren't for my rediscovered faith, I know we would've divorced a long time ago. But in many respects, our marriage has ended anyway. When spouses don't talk about everything - the abortion subject has never been brought up - they end up not talking about anything.

Pray that I get the strength and courage to sign up for a Rachel's Vineyard weekend - I know I still have pain to deal with. And I recognize behaviors in myself, in how I treat my kids sometimes, that are a direct result of the abortion.

The Crescat said...

Anon, no disrespect of course... but you did read the post. I mean read it and comprehend it?

I made several references to absent fathers, physically and emotionally absent.

Although the title of the post, in the bold lettering, is a indication of what the article's main focus was.

The Crescat said...

Dad I'll never be, if you are not too uncomfortable emailing a total stranger I would love to share with you more details about that gentleman and his experience that led me to post this. I have his permission to use his story, just not any identifiable details. I think you would benefit from a less edited version of his story.

Mark Scott Abeln said...


Anonymous said...

@David Meyer: my intention wasn't to slam 2 parent families; I'm all for them and am glad I had one.

My point was that even if you have a dad present, it's no guarantee that he'll treat his daughter as a "little princess" or that you will have a great relationship (cf Kat's comment: "but he will never be the father that I go to for advice or comfort. Sad, I know. Such is the damage on a small girls psyche. It really sucks never being anyone's "little princess".)

The dad I'll never be said...

Kat - I will pray on that. If I were to email you, you'd quickly see that we are not precisely *perfect* strangers - even if our knowing each other has been confined to the blogosphere. While I wholly trust you in keeping confidences, I'm not ready yet to reveal my identity to anyone.

But when that time comes, I'll contact you.

Natasa said...

I knew that visiting PostSecret would be a bad idea. But it's a reminder I'm not alone. It is my dad's birthday this sunday and for days now I've been preparing myself for the fact I will not call him. I've definitely never been a princess, not even close, although we lived under the same roof.

Maryjohn said...

All girls want to be their father's princess. Once I turned about twelve, my Dad abruptly turned off me. There were never any more hugs, kisses, fun times together, no more pet names or feeling special. There is likely a very good and comprehensive psychological reason or reasons why, but I can tell you that I have always felt that I lost my dad when I started growing up.
It hasn't made adulthood an easy thing let me tell you!
I am grateful to have a Father in Heaven who does love me to pieces!

Just another mad Catholic said...

My dad wasn't much of a dad even before he left my mother, he was always going skydyving in the summer and resented us when my mom was working weekends.

Its hard to say this but sometimes I wish I was an orphan and had brought up in an orphanage run by good religious, I sometimes ask if the world would stop turning if Bl'ds Louis and Zelle Martin or Rene & Gabriel Lefevbre had been my parents.

The Crescat said...

This post is sacrilegious, eh? I guess there's no accounting for piety.

Denita said...

My father passed away over 20 years ago. I'm still working on forgiving him for issues I won't name here. Same with my mother. From now on, God is my Father and Mary is my Mother.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about your father, and everyone else's father. I really am. But how come all the bad-dad stories come out just in time for Father's day? Is it the same thing as all the Jesus-seminar stories hitting Discovery Channel in time for Easter? Now there's a whole webpage devoted to them? I don't remember reading real-life "Mommie Dearest" stories just prior to Mothers day.

Las Vegas Mama said...

What a powerfully emotive post. "It really sucks never being anyone's "little princess". " -- that line just about made me cry. I have 2 girls who are thankfully their dad's princesses, which I was certainly not when I was a kid. I am thankful that the man I married and made babies with fully understands the importance of his role with his daughters. I think dads are almost more important for daughters than for sons. They are the 1st man she looks to for attention and approval. If she doesn't get it, eventually she goes elsewhere. The results can be disastrous.