According to my analytics, last week somebody found my blog by searching for the phrase, “I wish I had a dad.” I haven’t written on that exact topic, so I searched for that phrase to see where my blog appeared, and which post appeared, in the results. I couldn’t find it, but while scanning it became clear to me that a lot of others have written on that exact topic.
If by some chance you are here because you were searching for that phrase, and you wished you had a dad, let me offer this little bit of information and hopefully comfort to you.
1) You aren’t alone. A lot of people wish they had a dad.
2) It’s not your fault that you don’t have a dad.
3) Our culture believes that the definition of freedom includes having the State annul familial obligations whenever adults want. So part of the reason you don’t have a dad is because our culture was more concerned about your dad’s freedom (from you and your other parent) than your feelings about him, and your legitimate need for him.
4) If you don’t have a dad because you were donor conceived, then it’s also true that our culture is more concerned about your mom’s ability to choose how to reproduce than what those choices do to you, your long term prospects, and your feelings.
I say things as plainly as I can because I don’t want to be misunderstood. But I also hope for something else:
It doesn’t have to be that way for future generations. YOU can be part of the change. You can tell your story and speak out so that others don’t choose to do to their children what was done to you. If enough people speak out, then laws can be changed so that these injustices aren’t condoned by the State. The adults around you failed in their duties, but the State and the wider culture has a large part of the blame. When the State annuls people’s familial obligations without cause, it is acting unjustly and outside of its authority.
5) If you are grieving alone because you don’t have a dad, then you may be experiencing disenfranchised grief. This is grief that is not acknowledged or accepted by the wider culture. As a way to be part of a community who understands you, you might want to consider publishing your story online for others to read. It will help you see that you’re not alone, and there is a small movement afoot that calls attention to the injustice you are facing. If you want to tell your story, there are a couple of websites that want to hear what you have to say. They will publish your story, anonymously if you prefer:
- Donor conceived people can do that here.
- Others without dads can do that here (single mom by choice, kids harmed by divorce and/or parental alienation, kids in gay households, etc).
Finally, it is OK to put your mother and your father together in your heart and your mind. Your mom and your dad are each half of who you are. Speaking for myself, I fully acknowledge the legitimacy of that family triad, YOU, your mother and your father. Even if you don’t know what your dad looks like, that’s OK. He’s there in you, along with your mom. That is real because it is YOU. You don’t have to tell anybody that you’ve done this. But if you do tell somebody and they don’t agree, just remind that that this is your choice. Everybody else gets a choice, right? So do you. I think that part of the healing process includes letting ourselves acknowledge this, because it is truth.