Learning From The Systemic Field – Who Is My Father?
Who is my father?
It has been the theme highlighted in the systemic workshops I’ve experienced in the past few weeks. I’m trying to understand the question.
The age of the child asking the question ranges from teenager to mature adult. It is a question that lingers in search of an answer.
There is a multitude of reasons that a mother has in not disclosing the father to a child. To understand, one would have to go to the timeline when the mother made this decision.
What were the circumstances at the time?
What were her fears at the time?
Why would she decide not to have the father in the life of a child?
There could be numerous reasons. It could be that the mother didn’t know the father because it might have been a one night stand. It could be that the father did not want to be disclosed for various reasons, and she needed to protect his identity. It could be that the relationship involved abuse, and she would not want her child to know this or nor would she want the people around her to know this because she would be ashamed and feel even more distanced from her support structure.
“I’m going to carry this shame all by myself.”
It could be that she feels the father is not strong enough to be a father.
Many reasons exist that refrain the mother from exposing the child’s father’s identity. She either decides by herself or on behalf of her support structure or to protect the father,
The mother makes this decision from the conviction that she makes the only right choice for her and her baby. She takes on the responsibility for this child. And no matter what, even at a high cost, often to herself, she makes a vow of silence to keep the secret. She is willing to carry that cost. The joy of having the child is usually enough for her.
She wants to protect the child. “I take ownership.” “I take responsibility”. At the time, these decisions that are made are the only available choices for her.
If she had a 2020 vision, she might have made a different choice. Whatever choice she’s made, it’s not an easy choice. Living with the consequence of not having a father or the birth father present in a child’s life is more extensive than she can imagine.
Then there is the situation of sperm donorship. There is total responsibility and agreement with all the relevant parties. However, what we see and experience in family constellation work is the pattern of the child wanting to know who their father is, keeps popping up.