How would she tell him?
If he found out he might leave her; many have done so in the past.
Why was it such a crime to be a mother out of wedlock?
Why did the world judge her so cruelly, when they could commend her for keeping her child instead of killing her?
Even those guilty like her sneer because their guilt is hidden behind the lack of stigma their secret abortion had bought.
Why was it more honourable to be a baby killer than a baby mama?
She was not ashamed of her baby. No, she was not ashamed of her little girl. But oh, how she wanted to be loved and to be accepted. How she wanted to have a man and a home.
How she wanted a father, even one not biological, for her little girl.
But whenever she mentioned her little girl, it was always as if she’d mentioned a taboo. They recoiled, became horrified, or sometimes, patronizingly admiring, and then they disappeared without return.
Not one, not two… she had stopped counting.
Now, it might happen again.
She hoped not though.
“I wanted to talk to you about something important that is why I actually asked you to lunch.” She started to speak, keeping her fingers crossed on her laps. “I’m sorry, I should have mentioned it before. But past experiences made me wonder if I should wait until the person got to know me before putting it out there.”
“What is it?”
There was a frown on his face. Just a mild one. Like he was puzzled.
“I am a single mother.” She said it plainly. There was no beating about the bush now. “I have a daughter who is nine years old.”
He stared at her.
Only his eyes blinked. Not a muscle moved.
Her fingers uncrossed on her laps. “I should have told you from the onset but I thought we should get to know each other. I thought you should get to know me. I thought that might be better.”
“You… have a daughter?”
His eyes were now incredulous.
“Are you serious?”
“Yes, I am.” She nodded. “I used to say it as soon as I met anyone. But it seemed to cripple the relationship, so I thought I’d wait this time until we knew each other better. But I guess I was wrong there too.” She shrugged. “I am sorry.”
“You are sorry?” He went from incredulous to furious. “How could you hide something as important as the fact that you are a… a… a single mother?”
He did not pause for her to respond, but raged on.
“How could you do this, lie to me purposely? You think telling the truth from the beginning crippled your past relationships? Well, telling it four months too late, has done the same.”
“I can see that.” She wanted to cry. She wanted to mourn the death of another relationship. “Like I said, I am sorry. I was just testing a new theory this time. I thought if you knew me and liked me for myself, you wouldn’t be put off by my status as a single mother.”
“But I don’t know you, do I? I thought you were an honest, straightforward, God-fearing woman. But you are a liar and a pretender.” His expression turned to disgust. “You are a manipulator. You wanted to manipulate me by what I felt for you.”
“No, I didn’t want to manipulate you. I only thought loving me would make you feel kindly about my status.”
“I think you are an immoral, desperate woman looking for whom to foist your bastard on!” He spat at her.
“Don’t you dare call me daughter a bastard!” Fury pumped into her and swept away the feelings of guilt and self-pity.
“But that is what she is, isn’t it? She was born out of wedlock and she doesn’t know her father, or does she?”
“She might not know him, but I do, and she is better off without him… or you.” She stood up. “I was wrong to have hidden the fact that I have a child. I should not have because I love my daughter and I am proud of her. But I am not sad to see you leave my life as I thought I would be. A man who will call any child ‘bastard’ does not deserve to know my child.”
“I didn’t create the word bastard. It is in the dictionary and in there for a reason.”
“It might be in the dictionary, but it is wicked, derogatory and traumatic for a child addressed thus. It is a burden they should not have to bear because they didn’t choose to be born outside wedlock.”
“The truth is still what it is. Tears and whimpers don’t change it.”
His callous response made her shake her head. “Well, here’s another truth tears and whimpers won’t change: you are a narrow-minded self-righteous prig. And I believe those words are in the dictionary too.”
She snatched up her purse and flounced off. She was done with men, and anyone for that matter, making her apologise for being a single mother.
No more hiding who she was.
I have always believed that the term ‘bastard’ should not be addressed to any child irrespective of their birth circumstances, and the dictionary definition of that word. I think it is heartbreaking for a child and totally wrong.
What are your thoughts on that term?