Young ladies in campus are increasingly being forced into single parenthood by deadbeat boyfriends. Their boyfriends chicken out when responsibility comes knocking. But are all campus men afraid of the heavy responsibility that comes with being a dad? Four guys who chose to take responsibility for their babies narrate the experience to Afromum;
Kenneth, Bachelor of Education graduate
A baby was never our intention. It was a serious relationship though, the baby just came way too early for us. We had been using protection all along. However, this one time, we decided to experiment the ‘safe days theory.’ You now know how it turned out (chuckles). When my girlfriend found out she was pregnant, she was devastated.
A few of her friends convinced her to procure an abortion. She discussed the idea with me but I was against it. I told her we would break up if she tried it. They raised money for her abortion behind my back. She went for it, but it failed and complications followed. Even if I had wanted to break up with her, it would have been heartless to leave her at her lowest point in life.
I chose to be there for her, and when the baby came along, for both of them.
Since I have graduated and managed to get a job, things aren’t as difficult as they were in my last two years in campus. When you become a dad, your perspective on life changes. For instance, I now know that one can go into a supermarket for more than a deodorant.
Peter Otieno, Maseno University graduate
The fear of uncertainties of being a student and a dad at the same time was crippling. Financially, there wasn’t much to worry about. She was working to save money for tertiary education after completing high school while I also had savings from working during long holidays. We agreed to divert that money into our new family member and I would later pay for her education.
I had to travel every two weeks to see her as we weren’t staying together. It had a toll on my studies and pockets but I managed just fine.
Parenthood taught me how to behave. My priorities changed, and a few friends had to go. Diapers and clothing become more important than clubbing. I became more dedicated to my work. There’s no time to slack, you have to be ready to jump into action or you could sleep hungry. Knowing you are depended on makes you push yourself a little harder and that effort is always rewarded.
Advice to deadbeat dads: If you were there for the fun, be there for the responsibility too. Your family needs you. Go and be there for them. It is never too late.
Francis, Kimathi University student
She was at a technical training school when we met. When she gave birth to our daughter in 2012, her parents pressured her to get married but she refused. She said she wasn’t ready for marriage. When they refused to support her, she moved to Nairobi to work as a housemaid. It hurt me that I was to blame for all that. I vowed to be there for her and the baby the best I could.
She was able to later resume and complete her studies and got a better job.
If there’s one thing I have learned from being a dad, it is that you must have some money always ready for emergencies. You can no longer live on the ‘daily bread’ philosophy.
I was in third year then. My girlfriend then got a scholarship to study abroad. Keeping the long distance relationship was a task and we soon went mute. After six months, she sent me a pregnancy selfie with the caption “good job”. My whole life flashed before my eyes. I was scared. So scared. I wasn’t prepared. The fear led me to demand a DNA test.
After I was confirmed as the dad, I decided to take up the responsibility. No way I was going to block my conscience from the fact that I was a dad. We rekindled our love and we are getting married soon. After I got used to the role of being a dad, I realized there was nothing to be even scared of in the first place.
While a lady can choose to be a single mum, after you both agree that that’s best even for the baby, no man should run away from parental duties. Whether planned or unplanned for pregnancy, the man responsible should man up and help raise the family. She is scared just like you are, team up and overcome the fear of the unknown together.
Disclaimer: Some of the subjects in this article expressed reservations about their names being published. The names used therein are aliases.