Having a baby is a life-changing event that is often romanticized by the media, especially in today’s celebrity social media posts. Although becoming a parent can be magical, the truth is that pregnancy, childbirth, and many years of raising children is a far cry from a sugar-coated fairy tale.
When two loving and committed people share the joys and struggles of parenthood, this can sweeten the experience and offset the hardships. But the sad reality is that some expectant fathers shirk all responsibility and abandon the relationship before their child is even born. If you find yourself in such a situation, the joy of giving birth and bringing up a baby can be colored by emotional anguish, uncertainty, and financial woes.
How Not Spending Time with Your Child Affects Them
In the past, the role of mothers dominated parenting studies. Now, more research is being done on how an engaged father positively impacts his children or, conversely, how the lack thereof can cause detrimental effects. This research shows a dad not bonding with his baby can have lifelong repercussions. Your child’s father may be physically present but emotionally disengaged, or he may walk away from his fatherly duties entirely. This absence can leave an indelible mark on your child throughout life. An absent father may impact your child academically, professionally, physically, socially, and romantically. In fact, research suggests fatherless children have a greater likelihood of:
- Aggressive behavior
- Low self-esteem
- Poor performance in school
- Physical health conditions
- Being jailed
- Committing suicide
- Using drugs
- Broken adult relationships
Things Mothers Can Do When the Father of Their Child Is Absent
If the father doesn’t believe the baby is his, it’s important to get a paternity test for the child’s sake and yours. Confirming paternity helps ensure your child’s right to a father-child relationship. Even if the father chooses not to take an active role in his child’s upbringing, he may be willing to provide financial support. While a regular paternity test provides peace of mind, a legal paternity test following the chain-of-custody process is required for:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Inheritance rights
- Health benefits
- Death benefits
Being open and approachable about an absent father can go a long way in alleviating your child’s worries about their situation. You don’t want your child to blame themselves for their father’s absence. Remember that while honesty is always the best approach, avoid oversharing nitty-gritty details or projecting your personal feelings, anger, or worries about their father on them. Creating safe relationships throughout childhood and adulthood enables individuals to work on fulfilling unmet emotional needs associated with growing up fatherless. Other effective measures include:
- Seeking counseling or attending support groups
- Finding role models and mentoring programs in the community
- Acknowledging anger and hurt feelings by talking about them rather than acting out
And as difficult as it is, forgiving anyone who hurt you can provide closure and potentially heal old wounds.
Since 1995, DNA Diagnostic Center (DDC) has helped thousands of women confirm paternity through trusted, accurate, and affordable DNA testing.