The boy, now thirteen around, is being called a "love child." Interesting, I thought, when teenagers fool around and have sex that results in a pregnancy, they "get caught," but only when the father is married is the baby called a "love child." No one has forgotten John Edward's love child, Quinn, and her mother, Rielle Hunter. What I think about when these revelations make headlines is that: At least the child was not put up for adoption.
Certainly my sympathy for the mothers comes from my own experience: I was a woman who had a "love child" with an older man, someone established and successful in my chosen field of journalism. At 36, he was the bigshot political reporter on the newspaper where I worked when I was 22 and fresh out of college. Ah, the times were different then, back in 1966, and as you all know, our daughter was given up for adoption and the rest has led me here today (and told in detail in Birthmark).
I asked my husband this morning what is so different than having an affair outside of marriage without a child, and one with a child: all the difference in the world, he said, surprised that I would even ask. There is a child, he said, as if no further explanation was needed. I get it, I do; in cultures where concubines are tolerated, or second and third wives live together with First Wife the order of the children and who they are born to makes all the difference. In China, for instance, the first son of the First Wife sits closer to the father than the second son, or any son from anyone other than the first wife, at their appointed places at table. But I digress.
|My love child, Jane|
As for myself, the "other" woman pregnant with a love child in the Sixties, I hung onto the hope throughout the pregnancy that Patrick, Jane's father, would leave his marriage as he promised to do, make an "honest woman" of me in the parlance of the day, and we could keep our child. I remember thinking: all he has to do is tell his wife I'm pregnant. He did not. I did not call her either to break the news. I do know she eventually learned about Jane, but by the time he did leave the marriage, three years later, I was married. Without question we would have ended up together if I had not been. But that's another story.
As for Schwarzenegger, it turns out that this child may be the second one fathered outside of marriage; a boy, Tanner, was born to a stewardess on his private jet some years ago and is now in college; wags suggest he looks very much like Patrick Shriver Schwarzenegger.
The ex-gov and musclebound movie star is hardly alone among politicians who fathered a love child. Besides Edwards, there is the late Strom Thurmand, the avowed racist in the Senate who fathered a child with a black maid in his household when he was 22; Jesse Jackson; the recent gubernatorial candidate in New York, Carl Paladino; the former president of France, Francoise Mitterand, and possibly President Grover Cleveland.
|Grover Cleveland, a maybe baby daddy|
Cleveland allegedly had a son with a classy store clerk, but pre-DNA, this was never proven for sure. The son was eventually sent to an "orphan asylum" and the mother to an institute for the mentally deranged; when she tried to reclaim him, she was denied, which led to her kidnapping him. However, he was taken from her again, and recommitted to the orphanage, "from which later he was adopted by one of the best families in western New York, in time becoming a distinguished professional man," according to a 1933 biography of Cleveland. "He thus disappeared from Cleveland's life." Where are his progeny now, inquiring minds wonder. We add here that there was some speculation the child was fathered by Cleveland's friend and law partner, Oscar Folsom, who was married, as the son was named after him--Oscar Folsom Halpin. Cleveland eventually married Folsom's daughter.
So what about you, Dear Readers, love children and baby mammas? How do you feel about the revelations of Schwarzenegger et al? I do feel empathy for these women. And I'm glad that in this day and age many of them do not feel compelled to give up their children to adoption. --lorraine