What If… I Became a Parent (and Had Own Family) Too Early?

Episode 73 – Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 (7013)

fatherhood

Last Sunday, I attended the first anniversary of Feast SM Sta. Rosa, and it was also celebrated Father’s Day. When I approached to my friends in Media Ministry, Lanie, Janine and Sis Tess just greeted me “Happy Father’s Day”. I wondered why they greeted me even I’ve not been yet a father (or having a child). I told them that how I could be a father if I’ve no children yet (and still no girlfriend until now). I also said them that probably 5-10 years from now I would become a father (but when?).

At my current age, I suppose to have a family of my own (having a wife and at least one child) like those who are the same age as I am already becoming young parents. But until now, I’m still single, having no girlfriend, and living with my parents and my eldest siblings. In my entire life, I’m still living with them at home while some of my friends who have already their own families, either married or “live-in”, live in their own (otherwise, they’re living with one of their parents). I still don’t know when I will pursue to have a family of mine; hence, becoming a father (of a child) might be happened to me too soon. But I’m asking you, my friends, what if… I became a (young) parent too early? This would be complicated for me if I became a father building a new family earlier than what I am right now (as a single person).

This month of June, most people are preparing to be married – either civil or church. June is the time for engaged lovers to be married after years of being girlfriend/boyfriend. Most of them are preparing to be married either they’re planning to build a new family or after giving their first-born child. Or even some of them can’t afford to have marriage instead they stay together as “live-in”. But despite of difference and status, they still love each other. How sweet it is.

While I’m writing this episode, I have some of my former college classmates and also my former officemates who have already their own families (with children) either they’re married (thru civil) or just “live-in”. In fact, they are younger than me when they already became young parents (ranging around 20 to 25 of their ages after giving their first child). And again, while they’re living together as one small family, I’m still remained single (no girlfriend, as of now) and still living with my parents and my elder siblings at home.

Based on the data that I researched from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2013, 29% of Filipino women ages 20-29 are already living with their partner and having at least one child. That’s a real case. Most of them, at the same age, are planning to build their own families either after their marriage or giving their first born child. Imagine, they are already young parents with their young children (at least one of them has a stable job for their daily expenses and support such as children’s education). Unfortunately, I am not the one of 29% married (or becoming young parents) at ages 20-29. But in my “alternate” timeline, if ever I got married (or became a father) too early, there are some possible scenarios that might change my entire life from the present situation:

  1. While being a student (teenage parenting)
teenage-pregnancy-preventioin

Teen couple looking at pregnancy test

Imagine that. If ever I carelessly had “lovemaking” with my possible girlfriend (either as a student or not) then she got pregnant, this would be a disaster! I would face the biggest mistake that I made in my entire life if this happened. I would have been the father of a first born child, and yet I had not been married with my possible girlfriend who was forced to stop her studies due of her pregnancy. And the worst was the girl’s parents (or in-laws) would encounter me with anger.

Of course, if this situation happened in my life, I would face heavy consequences of being fatherhood. And because I was still a college student, it would be difficult for me how to find enough support for my first child (as no permanent job that I had). And that girl would also face the same consequences as mine but harder than as expected because she’s the mother (mostly taking care of our child at home rather than studying at school). And while we’re still students, we’re still depending on the needs of our parents or relatives where they’re usually taking our first-born child.

Based on my research from PSA in 2014, around 14% of Filipino teenage girls ranging 15 to 19 of their age are already young parents, either pregnant for the first time or already mothers. Mostly, the father of the child is a teenage boy. Most of them are “live-in” with their partner or staying with their parents or relatives. However, they have no source of income and face financial difficulties or not enough support from their parents or relatives.

But thank God, I’m not one of them who face their difficulties as being young parents. This situation didn’t happen to my life because it was so obvious during that time when I was single and no girlfriend while studying (in fact, I had failed to court some of my crushes when I was in college). If ever I had a girlfriend who was still studying and I got her into pregnancy, there would be a big chance that I became a young father. Just imagine I could have been a “young” father of a 9-year-old child or having little kids!

(Note: I was almost 20 when I first entered college, so becoming teenage parent might be no longer considered to me if happened possibly, but still my college studies could be interrupted.)

  1. Right after college graduation

wedding

In 2010, I was graduated from college and starting to find a new permanent job. However, if ever I had a girlfriend who also finished her studies, having her stable job and planning to build a new family, there would be possible for me to have a family of my own. Marriage could be planned in later years (as we patiently saved our earnings from our jobs), but become young parents could be possible. Yeah, we’re no longer teenagers, and we’re already matured to build a new family. However, could this be enough to have support for a possible first born child?

The expenses of possible baby and his/her future education are the possible cases. Since I and my possible “live-in” partner have stable jobs, we can support our child. Another thing, if possible, the child might be stayed with one of our parents at home (as guardians) while we were working in a corporate world. This might be hard but not as harder as the first scenario. And most of all, staying one new family in a rental house might be possible as I granted my “independence” from my parents (and the distractions at home). This could be okay for me to stay with my new family either rental house/apartment or a new house that we obligate to pay loans in monthly basis.

But in my reality, this never happen after having my first job in 2010, and I didn’t have any girlfriend while working in a corporate world.

  1. Long distance relationship but already becoming parents

Long-distance-parenting-infacol

It might sound crazy but possible! Thank God that my (now former) textmate/girlfriend never experienced our… you know! It is quite shameful for me to tell this honestly, but we never did anything wrong during our three-year long distance relationship (LDR). But if ever this might be happened, it would be a (BIG) disaster for me!

While I’ve been now a career person, my (now former) girlfriend was still a student, studying in college far, far away from my home in Laguna. Of course, we were in LDR, but if there was one time that we had accidentally “happened” and she became pregnant, this would be trouble for us as lovers. And because of long distance, it might be impossible for me to take care with her (during pregnancy) in her place about hundred miles away from my home. This would be hard for me to do that. And her parents, of course, would be mad at me because she’s still studying. I would have been a big responsibility to have support for our first-born baby. There might be possible that either one of us would handle our child. If my girlfriend handled our baby, I had my responsibility to go in a long travel just to see my child living with her. This could be called: long distance parenting.

Well, this sounds crazy, isn’t it? But again, thank God this didn’t happen to us. Sadly, it has been a year after we separated and broke our long distance relationship that lasted three long years.

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These three scenarios could be possibly happened to me in the past 10 years. However, I didn’t make one of these possibilities that could change my life right now. I noticed that these scenarios are within Post-Deaf School Era (or right after I came back home from my stay in the U.S. in July 2005). How about… what if I had already a child from my deaf girlfriend?

  1. Having a deaf girlfriend/partner

20100827-185918-pic-111472489_4566676_ver1.0_640_480

When I studied at Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City, I had many deaf girls that I dated before (but they’re not considered as my girlfriends). But I was thinking what if I “accidentally” made my deaf girlfriend into pregnancy and I became a father of her child? This might be possible for me, but there was a little chance that we made something “love”.

Because I was so young back then, I had no idea during that time about sex, teenage pregnancy, or everything else like “lovemaking”. When I was in high school, only few of my schoolmates were already mothers (although they’re older than me, about in their early 20s). Some of them were having girlfriend/boyfriend, but having “lovemaking” was almost not in their minds. (Note: I had some deaf sweethearts before, but they’re declared illegitimate because of my transfer from “Deaf World” in July 2005.)

But, if I made “sexual love” to my possible deaf girlfriend then she got pregnant, I could have become a father at an early teenage years. Maybe, I could have already a teenage child who could have been studying high school as I was when he/she was born. However, since my possible girlfriend is deaf (or hearing-impaired), there might be a chance that our child would also become deaf (thru her gene and/or even I had almost deaf-blooded too). If this might happen, I might have a family with PWDs (person with disabilities) where my partner and my child are deaf/hearing-impaired. This might be difficult for me because I needed to use sign language for their communication (although I had known to use sign language before, but since I’m no longer with deaf community, sign language is no longer in use right now). And I might be probably still attached to the so-called “Deaf World” right now (rather than in my present situation) where most of my friends are deaf.

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My goodness, these scenarios that I’ve mentioned earlier never happened to me in the past. And yet, I don’t have any children or being a (young) father right now. I could have lived with my wife or partner and my kids in one simply home, but in reality, I’m still single, no girlfriend, unmarried, and still NO children, and still living with my aged parents at home with a lot of distractions and hot atmosphere. Probably in the future, I’ll build my own family where I’ll raise my children into positivity and the likes such as attending The Feast, bonding with them, and having one happy family. But when will I have a family of my own? After 5 years? 10 years? Or even 15+ years? Oh no, I’ll be already older for having a family or becoming a father of a child. One more thing, the future of my possible children will be uncertain because of our growing population that might face major problems in our lives (education especially the implementation of K-12 program, job security, technology, increasing of price commodities, etc.). There will be a lot of consequences that I’ll face if I’ll become a parent (father).

I don’t know if I will pursue my plan to be independent thru marriage (finding a girl then court then becoming bf/gf then proposal and engage) and having own family (building new home) or I’ll stay single but my dream to have independence will be gone because of the distractions in life. I’m not confessing that I’m not ready to have own family or becoming a parent too soon, but I’m just thinking about my future whatever happens. Being independence from the distractions is one of my goals to have a happy and positive life, and having own family will be determined if I’ll find the right girl in the time.

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