No he wasn’t the first man I slept with, but he was the first one that I fell for. Marlon was sweet, handsome, supportive and confident. He said that I was beautiful, special, carefree. He called me every morning, messaged me throughout the day, and picked me up almost every evening after work. We’d go anywhere my mind could imagine. Everything was great….until I became pregnant.
I had always used protection but Marlon was special to me too. And if you love each other and are committed why not? At first, the positive pregnancy test was a scare for me. I was young, gainfully employed but unmarried and I know how people are. Still, his assurance that everything would be ok helped me to feel good about it. Plus he was very supportive during the pregnancy. He made sure I ate right, called me regularly and we still had a great time hanging out together.
When I started losing weight in the last trimester my doctor became concerned and ordered a C-section. We celebrated a healthy 7-pound baby boy! We looked into his soft brown eyes and fell in love. We decided to name him Marlon, Jr. in honour of his devoted father. We will get married soon, I thought to myself. It feels right and that’s the best thing we could do for our newborn son.
Caring for the baby became harder than I imagined. I had help from my mom but the sleepless nights, the awkwardness of breastfeeding and just the stress of it all made me feel a little depressed. I loved my son but I didn’t feel carefree and happy anymore. Plus I was lonely. Marlon started to work more. He would call to check on me and the baby but he didn’t send me loving messages or jokes in the middle of the day anymore. What’s more, we didn’t go out much since the baby was so young and I was still kind of out of it.
As time went by, Marlon developed a great relationship with our son. They had a really strong bond and to top it off, Junior’s first word was ‘dadda.’ Marlon said it was the sweetest sound he had ever heard. I was happy about their growing bond but I started to be concerned that Marlon didn’t seem to be into me anymore. Was it because my body had changed a little? He said that my body was fine but that he just had more projects at work and is just busier at the office.
I became busier myself since Junior lived with me and going back to work had its challenges. But thank God for my mother. By the time Junior was 1 year old I eventually found back my rhythm and was able to juggle work and motherhood a little better. But my relationship with Marlon seemed to be going downhill. He would call in the morning but wouldn’t really message me in the days. He still picked me up most days but dropped me at home and wouldn’t come in to hang out. He would only spend a little time with Junior and then leave. Plus we didn’t have sex often anymore and I had to initiate.
I confronted him one day about our relationship. I asked him if he didn’t want me anymore. I thought I was prepared for his answer but I wasn’t. He said that he has been under a lot of work stress and wanted a little space to figure things out. I agreed to give him ‘space’ but I knew in my heart that something had changed.
Soon he would be unable to pick me up in the evenings, because “his shift changed”. No calls in the morning either because he was “so busy”. The writing was on the proverbial wall. We were now just 2 people raising a son, no longer lovers, not even friends. I tried to talk to him about us but I couldn’t seem to get through to him. Things took a turn for the worse when I found out he was seeing someone else. How could he be interested in another woman when I am the mother of his son? How could he ‘dis’ me like that; just move on like that? He promised me that everything would be ok. Now, the only thing he wants to do with me, he says, is to see Junior and take him every other weekend.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands. I don’t care about all the hogwash about boys needing their dads and all that; I decided that if he didn’t want to be with me anymore, then he wouldn’t see his son either! After all, I carried Junior for 9 months, he is my son too and I can raise him by my dam self!
To think that I opened up myself to Marlon and gave him all my love. Now this is how he wants to treat me? Hell no! So, no weekend visits to spend time with Junior, no random dropping by to see him during the days when I am not at home, no sleeping over his house, no phone calls, nothing! He wants to play with my heart, then I am going to play with his! And if he thinks he’s going to make some other woman hold my son, he better think again! It’s either me or nothing!
Why does he think he can just use me, get me pregnant, leave me and move on with someone else? I can’t even think of another man, I don’t want to start over with someone else. Plus it’s so hard for a single mother to find a good man who will take responsibility for a child that is not their own. I loved Marlon and I believed him when he said I was special. Plus I did the hard work of carrying that child for 9 months, I care for him every single day and this is how he treats me?
My mother says boys need their father in order to be successful in most areas of life and I know Marlon is a good father but I don’t care! Things can’t remain normal for him while my world is falling apart. He wasn’t my first love, or the first man I slept with, but I gave myself to him and we have a child. Doesn’t that mean anything Counsellor?
I am sorry that Marlon left you and that your relationship didn’t work out. It is good that you have come to see me so that we can begin the healing process in your heart. You need to be healed and whole before you can start making the right decisions for yourself and your son. But I have to say this from now – it is wrong to keep Junior away from his father. I know that you are hurting but you also hurt your child if you keep him away from his father. Fathers play a huge role in the positive development of their children and you have to find a way to enable and ensure Junior sees his dad while you work on your heart – Counsellor.
Fictitious account written in commemoration of parenting month by family advocate and award winning writer, Shelly-Ann Harris @harrisshellyann