It’s a situation that men often fear. What if they have a child out there in the world that they never knew about?
Sometimes if a relationship fails and a woman finds out she’s pregnant, she may be tempted to raise the child alone. Yet while that can often be a wonderful scenario, it’s only fair for the father to know. Otherwise, things may be traumatic later on in life.
A man on Reddit by the username of Black-Panda22 just found himself in this situation. The child he never knew about is a boy who’s just about to turn 13. The only reason the man discovered this is due to results found on Ancestry after doing a DNA kit.
“My wife and my mother wanted to do Ancestry and when a grandchild came back under my mother my wife asked me to do one without telling me the real reason,” he wrote. “My wife M, my ex L and my son A have all been talking for months and they are all happy. I’m conflicted I understand she didn’t withhold it from me but she couldn’t find me when I came back from deployment.”
It seems especially strange that he was the last to know. His concerns are all based on the fact that if he had known, he would have been there for his son. Instead, he missed out on precious years of his life.
“I’m going to speak to him today and I have no idea what to say,” he wrote. “My wife says talking to him is like talking to me.” While the conversation may come naturally, the son might have a few questions. Hopefully, he’s fully aware that the decision to keep the paternity private wasn’t based on anything his father did.
“What do I say?” he continued. “I’m upset I wasn’t there. I’m upset he grew up without me. I’m hurt for many reasons.” A situation like this is a lot to take in. Even based on the way he writes, it’s very obvious that he would have embraced the situation had he known about it. But now it’s a life-changing revelation.
It’s also very strange that his wife has been communicating with his long-lost son before he had a chance to. It’s very important for them to build up a relationship as well, but you’d assume she’d want to include his father as soon as she possibly could. The whole situation sounds a bit shady.
“I’m not that type of guy,” he wrote. “I would have been there. He seems like he had a good life so far. He had men in life like his uncle and grandfather. But it’s not the same at least not for me.” At the very least, the son seems to have no regrets. But from a father’s perspective, it seems so unfair to not get the opportunity to parent.
In general, parenting is a wonderful experience. In a way, you get to relive your childhood through new eyes. The man is already a father to a little girl, who unknowingly gained herself a big brother. So he’s fully aware of how much he truly missed — from his first steps to his elementary school graduation.
“I have so much to process and I didn’t sleep last night,” he concluded. “I just kept staring at his pictures and watching videos of him. I want him here, I want him close to me. I’m his father he’s my son.” While it seems like a relationship may easily build, it’s going to be very hard for him to get over the feeling of betrayal. Since that’s pretty much what happened.
Redditor pomin_oz had some of the best advice ever — if you can even call it that. “I can’t relate to this on a personal level, and I doubt many can but in terms of advice – buddy it doesn’t sound like you need too much of that,” they wrote. “How wonderful and positive that you and your family are embracing this, collectively. How awesome (and really admirable) that you aren’t running from this or trying to shy away.” They make a good point.
Given the scenario, it seems like everyone’s on board. While it makes sense for the dad to feel hurt, it looks like his son is at a wonderful point where he’s ready to meet his dad. From here on out, the two can form a beautiful relationship with each other. In a way, they’re both very lucky.
However, the story goes even deeper. The original poster admits that the news has been even harder on him because he, himself, had a dad walk out on him at the age of 14. So in a way, he may be channeling that abandonment and feeling guilty for not being there. But again, that wasn’t his fault. He had no idea.
“Thankfully she had a great support system,” he said in a comment. “But I can’t help but to think of those days and nights she had to work twice as hard. I kept apologizing to her and she just laughed and said it was ok. He is ok. He’s just excited we found each other.”
It’s also possible that this big reveal accidentally exposed the trauma he had felt earlier. Suddenly, he was put in his father’s shoes and doing just what his father did, without realizing it. However, the stories really are completely different. Having a dad walk out on you at the age of 14 is cruel. Not being there for your son since you literally had no idea he existed? Totally different.
Later, the dad revealed more of his own personal story. “My father walked out of my life at 14. He remarried and his wife didn’t want me around because I asked to live with him. He said he couldn’t choose me over his wife. I didn’t speak to him for 16 years, he came to our wedding.”
That said, the two never reached a point of forgiveness. “I saw him and said hello,” he continued. “I didn’t give him a chance to speak to me. He passed away 2 weeks ago.” Then he admitted that his wife talking to his son first was actually a good move. She wanted to vet him before her husband randomly got a phone call.
“She vetted everything because she knows I will get on a plane during this [global health crisis] and scoop him up and take him if he needed me,” he said. “I am a bit extreme.” This is a good time to remember that sometimes, your own tragedies shape you. This hurts even more because the dad made a promise to himself to always care for his children.
That said, it’s fair to assume that this situation will turn out to be amazing. The dad has a lot of love to give. But it’s also a good reminder that it’s always important to tell the father of your child that a child exists. While the mom’s story adds up, some women choose to withhold that information on purpose. They can choose what role they want to play, but it’s simply unfair to break the news 13 years after the fact.