The birth of a son is typically a source of great joy for many, but for Vince, it wasn’t. He was experiencing a myriad of emotions. The relationship with his child’s mother was strained. They knew their relationship had significant issues, but they tried to stay together once they found out about the pregnancy. The child’s mother, Annie, had just completed college, and her parents were livid that she was pregnant.
Annie’s parents wanted Vince to make an honest woman out of her, but they both fought the idea. “Let him at least come and meet us,” they said. So, Vince went to meet Annie’s parents. It was an ambush since some of Annie’s aunties and uncles were there. Vince felt like he was in a courtroom. The incident made things worse between him and Annie. Vince believed that Annie knew the plans and was on board with pressuring him to marry her.
Besides his relationship with Annie, Vince had a horrible relationship with his father. He came from a polygamous family. His father had two official wives who, in total, had seven children, but he had three other siblings from his father’s affairs. The set-up was difficult for the wives and the children. Vince loathed his father and always wondered if he would be a good father. The unplanned pregnancy heightened his fears.
On the day his son was born, he was at a bar. He was conflicted about his feelings. A part of him felt excited, which was confusing to him. He spoke to Annie on the phone because he couldn’t show up at the hospital. He got the bill details due to the animosity between him and her family. His relationship with his son entailed providing financial support from afar. His role in the child’s life was motivated by his desire not to be like his father, but he wasn’t fully committed to the role either.
He hid the news of the child from his friends. They only learnt about it six months later when Annie posted on social media.
“Vince, you didn’t tell us your ex has a child,” said one of his friends.
As they had that discussion, the banter elicited a discussion about how a mutual friend was also interested in Annie when Vince was dating her. Vince came clean about the child, but the friends sowed another seed in him. They asked him if he was sure about the kid’s paternity. He told them he was sure about it, but it stirred up something in him.
By this time, his commitment to providing for the child had bought him some grace with Annie. Annie’s fortune had also changed, and she got a job offer. After receiving her first salary, she would move out of her parent’s home. Vince would take over some of the bills as she stabilized. He would also have physical access to the child.
The plans worked out as planned, and they also got closer. The child was about nine months old when they decided to give the relationship another try. They hid it from family until they were sure it was solid. Things were going well until the child turned one year old. They had a party where friends and family were invited. It was one of those comments about who the child looks like that triggered a chain of events.
Some of Vince’s friends remarked that the child didn’t have Vince’s features. It brought back the issue of paternity. A few weeks later, after Vince struggled with the idea, he asked Annie about it.
“Vince, what are you talking about? Where is this coming from?”
“I’m just asking if you would be open to a paternity test,” said Vince.
“So this whole time you’ve been wondering if he is your son? What kind of woman do you think I am?” Annie asked Vince.
Annie felt betrayed and disrespected. She was adamant that there was no need for a DNA test because she was sure of the kid’s paternity. Vince obsessed over it despite Annie’s reassurance. He plotted to have the test done behind her back. He stopped bringing up the issue, and Annie thought they were past the matter. Weeks later, discussing the child’s future, they casually mentioned that he ought to be athletic.
“Of course, he’ll be athletic, he has my genes,” said Vince.
“He better have taken after you in that area. Wait, I have never heard you say that in that way,” remarked Annie.
“Well, now I’m sure about it,” Vince said, smiling.
“I’m glad you finally got over that nonsense…” she said, but midway, she realized what he meant.
“Did you have a DNA test behind my back, Vince?”
“Annie, I needed to know for sure,” Vince responded.
“No, you were still looking for a way out of parenting. It also speaks volumes about your trust in me. Would I have invited you to meet my parents if I wasn’t sure you were the father? My word wasn’t enough for you, you had to do it behind my back?” Annie said, fuming in anger.
Vince tried convincing her that it wasn’t about her, but he needed the test for his peace of mind. His explanations were not enough to keep her. The relationship ended, and they went back to being co-parents.
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