'I plan to ditch my family'
Columnist Sipho Yanano takes a critical look at a mother's difficult decision to leave her family.
Woman feeling shame (Shutterstock)
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A question asked on Slate.com

Q. Want to Go Alone: Four years ago, my birth control failed. I never wanted kids and was set to have an abortion, but my husband convinced me it’d be different with our own. It’s not. I'm glad my husband bonded with our daughter, because I wish her no harm but do not love her.

My unwillingness to spend time with her made me take on long hours at work, and I am being rewarded with a promotion and raise that requires a transfer to a city 1,000 miles away. I accepted as soon as it was offered. I’m now wondering how to tell my husband that this is a done deal and also that I’d prefer that he and our daughter stay behind. Any thoughts?”

Sipho Yanano answers

Dear Reluctant Mum

I am so sorry for your predicament. But then, are you serious? Do you really want to abandon your beautiful child? For what? Selfish reasons? You never wanted kids, hey? So why did you get married? Sorry, let me rephrase that:  Were you not aware that if you get married, even when using birth control, there is a chance you may get pregnant? 

So, you wanted your husband to give you permission to abort his first child? Which father and husband, in a right frame of mind, would agree to that? You have a loving husband who is also a doting father. He has taken the load of child rearing upon himself as he allows you to pursue your personal goals. He does not deserve your selfishness.

You brought another individual into this world and now you wish she could disappear. In fact, you fall short of saying ‘I hate her.’ I understand where you are coming from - we live in a society where everything that irritates us has become disposable - including husbands, wives and in your case, a four-year-old daughter.

Modern popular advice these days encourages us to leave a relationship as soon as it gets bumpy. We are told to quickly find someone else if we are not happy. It’s all about ‘me first.’ The self sacrificing spirit needed to make a long term relationship work is viewed as old school. Divorce has become common place, if not the norm. 

In your letter you focus too much on yourself - never on how your husband and daughter will feel when you have abandoned them. You’re only thinking of now and not of your family’s future or of the difficult time your husband may have raising your daughter alone. 

A lot of questions come to my mind. Did your mother also abandon you when you where young? If so how did you feel? Do you want your daughter to grow up with the same negative feelings?

You do not mention if you've sought professional help for your mental state. You need help to understand how you can get in touch with your maternal feelings. We learn to talk, ride a bicycle, read, dance and many other activities. Hiring a professional to help you learn how to love your child, painful as it may be for you, is the best way forward for all involved - especially for you. Instead of ditching your child and your husband you should ditch your new your job and stay in your current one. Focus on keeping your family intact. 

In short, stop acting like a spoilt child, see a shrink and start taking your parenting responsibilities seriously. 

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

What advice would you give this mom? Do you agree with Sipho?

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