I am a strong advocate for involved fathers. Since the day I became pregnant with my darling son, I have said (mostly to myself because people don’t listen to me), “I didn’t make this baby alone, why should I raise him alone?” Luckily for me, I married a man who, while quite traditional in many ways, is also evolved in this department.
My husband loves taking an active role in parenting our son. If the darling boy hadn’t been such a hardcore nurser during his first year, I’m sure Hubs would have stepped up even sooner. (That’s not to say he wasn’t involved the first year, he was, but there’s only so much you can do when the baby wants to nurse and cuddle with mom 24/7.)
For this reason, this story about Jason Patric does more than sadden me. It also angers me as a feminist (isn’t there some rule about not pissing off feminists? There should be). Why, you may wonder, does this rankle my inner Goddess? Because when courts rule that fathers have little to no rights, they are also saying that mothers should be the ones to bear the full burden of child-rearing.
If mothers bear the full burden all the time, how can they pursue life outside of motherhood? How does one work, engage in hobbies, stay connected with friends, enhance her inner self if she is constantly in a whirlwind of playdates, poopy diapers, and Pixar movies?
Some mothers may like to do it all. Whether they truly love it or simply love being a martyr is their business, but it seems detrimental to the evolving role of women in the modern world to say that a man who wants to be a father (and who has done nothing inappropriate to bar him from that role) has no right to be a father.
However, even more important than that, it is extraordinarily detrimental to the child to be banned from having a relationship with his father, especially a loving father who wants to be in his life.
Clearly, this case is complicated by the in-and-out nature of the parental relationship and the pre-existing agreement. However, one thing that isn’t complicated is that kids (I’m tempted to say especially boys, but really, it’s all kids) need their dads in their lives. Study after study shows that kids who have strong, loving relationships with their fathers grow up healthier and happier.
So wherever you fall in the “fathers should be involved” spectrum, it seems clear that the biggest loser in this story is the little boy who will someday want to know why he never sees Daddy.
Essentially, Jason Patric (whom you may know from The Lost Boys, Sleepers, Speed 2) agreed to donate sperm to his ex-girlfriend. Later, he and Danielle Schreiber reunited and he got to know his son and had a change of heart about fatherhood, but when the relationship turned sour he faced being cut out of the boy’s life permanently.
It’s unclear if Patric and Gus’ mother had any paperwork drawn up outlining their arrangement prior to the boy’s birth, but regardless, the judge has not sided in the actor’s favor.
TMZ went on to report the “law that says if a man donates sperm to a woman to whom he is NOT married and she’s inseminated with the help of a doctor…the man has no paternity rights or claim of custody.” How heart-wrenching. Jason Patric has a biological son he’s come to love, wants to be a father to — has done nothing wrong to — and now has no right to ever see again.