Monday, February 11, 2013

If Your Husband Fathered A Child Out Of Wedlock.....

Child out of wedlock
A recent poll asked Nigerian women what they would do if they discovered their husband had an illegitimate child. The results were as follows: Leave him: 17% Forgive him: 36% Raise the child: 42% Punish the child: 0% Keep it secret: 4%.

For some Christians this is embarrassing, they wouldn't want everyone to know about this evidence of their exuberant youth, especially in a case where the child has been with his or her mother over the years and then suddenly the child is delivered at your door step like a pizza or an electricity bill.

Some women might see this child as a threat, a threat to her "normal family", her children, her husband's wealth. So many questions arise. Should I encourage my husband to be a part of this child's life? Certainly! What if this child hasn't been raised properly...has an attitude? What if this child doesn't like me or my kids and is only in search of a deeper relationship with his or her father? What about his mum? No matter what you choose to do, your life has changed so has that of your children, they now have a half sibling.

Then, there is this innocent child who didn't write an application to come into this world as "piggy-in-the-middle", not fitting in, always seen as "the other child". Often such children are bound to come to a point where they are faced with an identity crisis; they might act out and be difficult because they feel like a mistake and are not sure they are truly loved.

This is where we have to ask ourselves what it really means to be a Christian mother. It's a real WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) moment. Are your arms wide enough to hug this child also, is your heart big enough? Perhaps some room has to be made. But this is not just a test of your heart, this is a test of your mental and emotional resilience. Depending on when the birth of this child took place, you might feel resentment towards your spouse for some of the choices he has made, but the truth is that as a couple you have been yoked together and have a responsibility to support, for better for worse. 

It pays not to have unrealistic expectations about the level of closeness or intimacy you might share with the stepchild. Relationships are built, and it takes time and shared experiences to create meaningful ones. But unconditional kindness will go a long way. 

If you have good intentions and a loving heart, this can be worked out. love, acceptance, approval, respect and enthusiasm is the key. It won’t always be easy, but the more positive your attitude is the better. The key is to remember that the children are passengers on this train. They didn't get an opportunity to choose whether they wanted to be in this situation, so great care and patience should be taken to help them adapt. 

Ijeoma Olujekun

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