Orla Barry: I feel guilty for tricking my boyfriend into having a baby
I desperately wanted to have a baby for the last few years and last year I got pregnant, much to my delight. However my boyfriend had not much interest in having a child.
He's five years younger than me and had been planning on emigrating around the time we met. I really liked him and told him I was on the pill. This wasn't true.
I used to look at women I worked with who said they were pregnant and as I was hugging them congratulations, a part of me would be crying inside. It's like I became possessed. I think a part of me has also wondered if I could ever have children because when I was 18 I had an abortion.
Needless to say all this news about abortion legislation has brought the guilt of all that back up. When I found out I was pregnant, my boyfriend was shocked. It took him a few weeks to come to terms with it but then he just committed to the idea. I told him I had been sick and maybe that had affected the pill I was taking. At the time I was thrilled.
We moved in together shortly afterwards and I began to realise we didn't have that much in common. The more committed he became to the relationship, the less I wanted to be with him. Since our baby was born, he has proven to be a great dad. The problem is that now I feel I have snared him and feel guilty.
I can see that he is frustrated living here. Many of his friends have moved to Canada and Australia and he has to work at a low-paying job. He has taken up drinking at home and while I don't want to be at him, I can see that he is a bit depressed with the way his life has turned out.
When our daughter is about seems to be the only time he really lights up. I suggested to him once that we take a break for a while, but he said he was committed to being a good partner and a good father.
I really do wonder if we would still be together if I hadn't got pregnant. Part of me now thinks that maybe I should tell him the truth and this might sort everything out.
SO NOW you're feeling guilty. A year after you managed to get everything you wanted you're starting to question your methods. It strikes me that you have spent a lot of time concentrating on what you want and very little on how your decisions are affecting those around you.
I understand your desire to have a child and I know it can become all consuming but there is no excuse for tricking someone into parenthood. Respect to your partner for stepping up to the plate and doing everything he could to support you and the baby. Telling him the truth now may appease your guilt, but it will do little but hurt this man who has done everything to make your lives better.
I have never understood a woman who would fool someone else into having a child with them. There are ways of becoming a single mother that don't involve underhanded methods. Why didn't you consider using an anonymous sperm donor? There are a number of facilities in Ireland now where you can access artificial insemination. It would certainly have saved you a lot of guilt.
The point you make about the abortion debate in recent weeks is interesting. In so many ways it seemed those who were speaking about the legislation and those voting on it were far removed from the subject itself.
The sight of anti-abortion protesters singing hymns outside the Dail were so unrepresentative of people I know who were opposed to the changes.
As for our Dail representatives, it's a sad indictment of our politicians that so many of them had taken to the bar long before the debate ended. From discussions with those who were in the house that night, it was a great drinking session and more than a few Dail members were far more sober when it came to voting.
To think of the experience so many women go through and the efforts protesters on both sides went to have their views heard, how depressing to know that those deciding the fate of such an issue were happily getting drunk.
I doubt very much if this was a ruling chamber in the United States, for example, that such behaviour would be tolerated or later joked about.
The reality is that your chances of conceiving should not be affected by having had an abortion. If the abortion was without complications, it's unlikely to affect your future ability to get pregnant.
I understand you moved in together to try and make a go of things but from your perspective it hasn't worked out. Why have you not simply addressed this matter head on? Have you told your partner you don't think the relationship is right any more? Forcing a situation like this will make both of you unhappy.
He appears to have committed to both of you, and perhaps he is in love with you now and ready to spend the rest of his life with you. The longer you let the situation continue, the bigger an issue it will become.
No matter how you conceived, the fact is that he has a baby daughter he wants to raise. Don't sully that by telling him what happened to appease your own guilt.