Today, another post from Susan.
Now that our children are older, we have started volunteering with a Crisis Pregnancy Center. One of the things that has not surprised me is how often, when asked what they think the man they are involved with would want them to do, the woman I am speaking with will say, “He says it’s up to me and that he’ll support whatever I decide to do.” After all, why give an opinion when society has made it very clear you have no right to one?
However, what has surprised me is how very often (as in almost always) the woman goes on to express her sadness that he won’t tell her what to do. For her, it seems that having complete autonomy, and therefore responsibility, for dealing with an unplanned pregnancy is more of a burden than a freedom. I am not saying that they want to be told what to do; but they would like him to care enough—to love them enough--to have an opinion.
Consider, though, what forming an opinion will cost that man, and you will understand why he’d rather stay silent. First, suppose he says, “Have an abortion.” Then he has to share in the guilt, pain, and sadness that will inevitably come later. By saying “I will support you no matter what,” he’s in fact saying, “I will take no responsibility for this situation. It’s all on your shoulders. But if you do kill our baby, don’t come crying to me when you feel bad. You decided this on your own.”
Then again, suppose he says “Let’s keep it.” Then he’s committing to spend the next 18+ years to loving the woman and the person he’s had a part in making. Again, what “I support you (note, not the child) no matter what,” means is “I’m not going to stop you. But, if you have the baby, don’t expect me to love or care about you or it.”
Finally, what if he goes as far as suggesting adoption? Again, he’s committed to hanging around through the pregnancy and then signing off on the adoption. On the other hand, if she decides on this route without him, he can just sort of fade into the sunset and wander back in later. Sure, he may think about his child out there somewhere, but hey, it’s not his fault. In fact, he was noble and let her choose. And after all, isn’t that all she really wants?