It's got to hurt when you're pregnant and your boyfriend breaks up with you and months later marries someone else. In their private moments, both actress Bridget Moynahan and venture capitalist Claire Milonas can't even say their guy was commitment phobic. But you can say that maybe these women were a bit selfish in having a child knowing that the father would not be present.
I would venture to bet that Ivy League educated venture capitalist Claire Milonas wanted to marry brainiac babe magnet Peter Orszag, the director of the office of Management and Budget and Bridget Moynahan wouldn't have passed on being Mrs. Tom Brady instead of the catch going to Gisele. Their choices aren't exactly model behavior and yet few have commented on the position their boyfriends were put in.
Instead headlines blared with condemnation that the Patriots' quarterback was leaving the poor pregnant Moynahan for Gisele. But it's hard for a guy to defend the position that sex can be for fun and not always lead to commitment even though women know that's the score for both genders. Now the tabloids are teetering with the news that Peter Orszag, the director of Management and Budget will have to budget his time between three families - his ex-wife and their two children, his new illegitimate baby girl Tatiana and eventually a family with his fiancé, ABC News' Bianna Golodryga.
Yet both Moynahan and Milonas made choices that their boyfriends clearly didn't support or prefer. Why are the women considered the object for compassion and not the men?
Both men will have to pay financially because the law states that once a child is born, the man must pay child support. But it's not fair to demand that someone be devoted to a child they didn't want or choose to have in the same way they love a child who is the product of a marriage and committed relationship. That is the difference between dating and marriage - the commitment both financially and emotionally. It is also an argument for the sturdiness of marriage and why those born in it have enduring benefits.
These women had options. Using birth control and/or having a pregnancy terminated. I made that choice many years ago and am eternally grateful that I now have a son with a man I married and loved. But perhaps Milonas did the math and realized at 39, the biological clock was ticking away and she didn't have those options. At least like many others she's not looking at the child as a meal ticket because she can afford diapers, tuitions and books from Borders.
For all the predictable cheerleading about how the child is the love of a parent's life and they can't imagine life without them, few delve deeper and examine what it is like for the child's self esteem to know that they were unwanted by one of their parents.
It has far-reaching implications that I see in my office and others, including President Obama, have commented on quite eloquently.
In his book, "The Audacity of Hope," Obama wrote,
[C]children living with single mothers are five times more likely to be poor than children in two-parent households. Children in single-parent homes are also more likely to drop out of school and become teen parents, even when income is factored out. And the evidence suggests that on average, children who live with their biological mother and father do better than those who live in stepfamilies or with cohabiting partners.... In light of these facts, policies that strengthen marriage for those who choose it and that discourage unintended births outside of marriage are sensible goals to pursue.
And a needed one.
The recent 2007 Census study revealed that 39.7 percent of births were to unwed mothers - with 71.6 percent of that number being African American women. This is not progress for liberal viewpoints but a travesty.
Marriage is still the connective glue that keeps society together. Children benefit from its structure. Even divorced children take comfort in knowing that their parents were once married.
In light of this, we should applaud Tom Brady and Gisele for having John Edward Moynahan in their lives along with their son Ben Brady. And perhaps this is why you don't hear Bridget Moynahan berating her ex because she loves her son and wants him to have a father in his life, even though she knows that Ben will have more time with his dad to pass a football, share a meal and do nightly homework. Maybe this is also why Claire Milinos is remaining close-lipped about her daughter Tatiana because she wants her to have contact with the bespectacled sperminator. Because Milinos is smart enough to know that there is a primal urge to know your birth parent, even with rationed time.
But will these children be treated differently or feel less than? Look no further than the case of author Christopher Buckley and publicist Irina Woelfe for a possible answer. They had an affair that produced a son named Jonathan.
Buckley was forced to pay $3,000 a month in child support but Jonathan's mother filed suit for more money and attention according to the Hartford Courant saying that their son has special needs exacerbated by Buckley's lack of involvement with the child.
The suit said the following: "The father is notably absent from the minor child's life," despite the mom's efforts to try to get him involved.
"As Jonathan gets older, he requires love, attention and a notable involvement in his life from his father.
"It is in Jonathan's best interest and welfare for this court to impose a contact and access schedule on the father, so that Jonathan can establish a relationship with his father and extended paternal family."
The court did no such thing. The law can extract money but not love and attention. Nor respect.
In fact, Jonathan's grandfather William Buckley also refused to share any of his cash with Chris' illegitimate son and instead gave it to his two legitimate grandchildren, Caitlin and William.
"I intentionally make no provision herein for said Jonathan, who for all purposes . . . shall be deemed to have predeceased me," Buckley's will stated.
These are not cases where the men were incapable of making a commitment. They made it to someone else who they wanted to have children with, someone who they loved.. Even Warren Beatty, with all his alleged conquests, waited to get married and then had four children. Almost twenty years later, he's still married.
Marriage is indeed a contract that protects families and often keeps them together. Women who have children out of wedlock often pay the price as do sadly their children.