Dear Jil, pregnancy exeat has its consequences. It’s not the best way to leave home. What’s pregnancy exeat? It’s deliberately getting pregnant to escape your parents or home situation. Even if the guy is a responsible young man who isn’t with you just for sex and will still want to marry you after you get pregnant, pregnancy exeat nonetheless has challenges.
Now I know your father is difficult, as those who have done business with him can attest. But getting pregnant to escape your father is not the wisest course of action. Yes, you solve a problem but you create a new set of unalterable long term realities. That child is just a means to an end, a tool of exit. Surely that must have implications. Despite a modern cultural tendency of pregnancy as precursor of marriage and proof of fertility, pregnancy exeat will create a situation in which your marriage hardly settles down before parenting duties begin. Such early parental responsibility uptake compounds the issue of unknowns about your marriage partner. No matter how long you date someone there’ll be unknowns. Those unknowns only come out within contexts. For example, if your boyfriend has always had access to money, until he’s broke you won’t know what he’s like without money. The point I’m trying to make is that it may strain a marriage to take on new roles and challenges before settling down.
When a kid comes along a woman is forced by maternal instinct and circumstances to devote attention to him or her. Husbands often feel neglected in these circumstances. And the new mum is under stress. She’s sleep deprived, tense from inconsiderate infantile demands of her newborn. I hope you realise sleep deprivation is an interrogation and torture technique of organisations with alphabets for names. The “neglect” of husband can secretly incubate a problem that lies dormant until occasion manifests it. Because affection is transferred to the hungry little lad an emotional needs fulfilment problem is created in the husband.
In getting pregnant to get into a marriage to get out of the house, the truth is, it wasn’t the marriage you wanted! You wanted out. The forced marriage by pregnancy was a means. You didn’t even want the child, not then at least. You just used the child as a key to the door of what you considered your jail. Jailbreak! Since the young man himself never planned to marry so soon or father so soon, a lot of psychological adjustment is needed. There are other adjustments as well- material, connubial, financial. And there’s altered sociology. The exeat you’re procuring has a cost. And you’re buying freedom on credit. You’ll pay later.
Your dad is not going away till he goes away. You have to find a formula for relating with him- something that works. Yes, I know he puts you down, he discourages you and accuses you… Yet the Bible says you must honour him. Honour thy father and mother; it is the first commandment with promise… You will live well and have a long life. (Eph. 6:1-3) God recognises the existence of exasperating fathers. He says: “Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger. Do not exasperate them to resentment…” (Eph. 6:4 AMP) Not every father has of course read that scripture. It’s not popular. And some have read it but implementation proves difficulty. Authoritarianism is all they’ve ever known.
What’s the balance? The balance is that even when you have a disagreement with your father you must still honour him. You honour your parents by esteeming and valuing them as precious. That’s what the Bible says. You place them on a pedestal. That means you can’t shout at your father, or be rude and insolent. Of course you can’t physically assault your dad or mum. That’s anathema. Yet I’ve seen some do. I once knew a young woman who slapped her father in the heat of a fight involving her step mum. She slapped her half blind father, though I must say she had the moral temperament of a possessed prostitute.
That must never happen, just as you must never look on the nakedness of your father. Noah cursed the generation of Ham his son for that egregious violation of sacredness. If you want to live well and live long, honour your father and your mother. Though your dad is difficult (and your mum controlling), you must nonetheless honour him. As you mature you’ll grow in wisdom; you’ll know how to relate better with your dad despite his truculence. There’s no point arguing with him for example. It’ll be exasperating. And you can’t change him. He’s 70+. How do you want to change a 70yr old?! Only Moses is recorded as being teachable in old age- was called “meek” by God.
Accept your father for who he is, what he is. That’s wisdom. Everything progresses from there. One day you’ll be a parent yourself. You’ll understand how some parents can be difficult yet well meaning. Responsible parents always have a hard time letting go. They keep worrying, prescribing directions. Many of the contacts suggested might have lost potency and the solutions unworkable. Recognise they mean well nonetheless. Honour their care towards you. Relate to them in that spirit. Sometimes parents are just afraid of losing relevance in their children’s lives. They want to be carried along. Yes, that’s not always feasible but what I want you to imbibe is the spirit of honour. Relating to a father who was never there will of course be difficult. But you can’t afford bitterness.
Accept historical facts. You can’t change them. Forgive, even though he’s undeserving – for your sake. It stops you from carrying bitterness into your marriage. You’ll punish your innocent husband. These are sometimes difficult standards God set for us. You can’t attain them on your own. Ask God for grace. Don’t get pregnant to escape from home. You may jeopardise the very freedom you crave.
© Leke Alder 2014