Maury Povich has made a mockery out of pregnancy and paternity. There, I said it. But it’s not like I can exactly blame him. If you can find ready and willing guests who choose to have America laugh at their lie-detector-failing, cheating boyfriends or guess your gender or the father of your child like it’s Jerry Springer meets The Price is Right, then I guess a few minutes of daytime network TV fame is worth the title of “trash TV.”
I never understood how a woman could be unsure of whom the father of her child is, but the truth is it happens every day. And it just doesn’t happen to wild, promiscuous women with low self-esteem and no morals. The truth is all you have to do is have sex with two different men in a close enough time period.
So what if you find yourself staring at a plus sign and consumed with the overwhelming worry that the father of your unborn baby could be one of a number of men. Here are a few ways you can try to pinpoint exactly when you got pregnant. You have to determine when you were most fertile, which is fairly easy to do if you have a regular cycle. Most women have a period about every 28 days and ovulate about 2 weeks after their last day of spotting (14 days into the cycle). This is even easier to calculate if you are on the pill, but if not many women mark their cycles on a calendar. If your cycle is longer or shorter than the average, you’re going to need to count halfway through your cycle. Keep in mind that ovulation isn’t a one day process; a woman is most fertile for about three days in the middle of her cycle. When you figure out when you may have been ovulating, you can start to think of what men you may have had sex with at the time. Keep in mind this only works if you’re actually keeping track of when you get a period.
Here’s something that may make your life just a little more complicated. sp*erm can live inside a woman for up to seven days, which means that even you had sex with a man days before you’re supposed to ovulate, his sp*erm could still be hanging out in your fallopian tubes, waiting for an egg to fertilize. As a final option before getting a full-blown paternity test, you can wait until your first ultrasound when a doctor can determine the date of conception a little more accurately based on the size of the fetus. But even then most doctors agree that the due date can be off as much as 7 days,
If you find yourself still unsure the best thing you can do for your sanity and your child’s sense of self is to find out exactly who the father is. Honestly, paternity tests don’t have to be a circus of wailing, falling to the floor and some fool doing the Dougie when you Maury reveals he is not the daddy. The earlier you come forward with the fact that either some infidelity took place or that there’s the potential that more than one man can claim paternity, the earlier you can cease the opinions and accusations of friends and family and your own guilt, because everyone will have an opinion. But the only way to get some peace of mind is to be honest with yourself about the situation you’re in.
Paternity tests can be done both pre and post natally through blood collection, buccal swabs and umbilical cord. Pre-natal testing is often more expensive but both types of test can range anywhere between $400.00 to $2000.00. Some testing sites offer low-cost testing and payment plans; and if he can go half on a baby he better be able to cough up some cash to clear his conscience. Keep in mind that most states have laws that require an unmarried couple to fill out an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form at the hospital to legally establish who the father is. If the couple is unmarried, then no father will be listed on the birth certificate until this legally binding form is filled out. While there is no father listed on the birth certificate, the baby’s rights aren’t fully protected which could mean issues for both mother and child when it comes to collecting child support.
In fact in this day and age I don’t blame men who request a paternity test regardless of how much they trust and love their partner. 18 years is a long time and women can be scandalous. Even if another man is willing to take on a responsibility that isn’t his, that’s no excuse to be dishonest. Playing paternity games is dangerous. God forbid your child ever needs a kidney, and someone who is possible match is left clueless because he isn’t even aware that a child walking around with his DNA. There are also certain legal and social issues that may come with determining paternity such as social security, veterans and inheritance benefits. And fellas, please stop running around talking foolishness about the baby is “too light” or doesn’t have your nose. Take a Biology class and play with a Punnett Square or two and discover how DNA actually works.
This isn’t Sunday morning, so I’ll leave my convictions about self-respect and safe sex out of it, but I do want to emphasize a big part of being a sexually active adult is being responsible. How many partners you choose to have and when you choose to have them is a personal choice, but when you start pro-creating, it’s no longer just about you. So get up and put on your big girl panties and stop with the paternity games. And just maybe men should be more careful and women should start paying closer attention to their own bodies and start choosing their partners with a little more discretion. Regardless of how you feel about the father of your child, your child deserves to at least know who he is, and that man deserves the opportunity to step up and take care of his responsibilities. And let’s be honest, if you’re having sex with 15 men in a short enough time period and not tracking the changes of your own body, you might need to find some other constructive ways to spend your time or invest in a day planner.
Source: American Pregnancy Association
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator whelping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog Bullets and Blessings .