I've been spending a lot of time trying to figure out the precise point in my life when I completely fucked it up, if there was one, or if maybe it was all just a series of ups and downs that waxed worse. If I were forced to decide, right this second, I would say that the moment I pressed the flush handle on the toilet that is the world, in which floated the shit that is my life, was when I got someone pregnant. I've fucked up lots; I've gotten mixed up with drugs and "the wrong crowd", not gone to college, not pursued practical careers as diligently as I should have, and just generally been directionless and "lazy" for my whole life. But all of those things, even temporary homelessness due to drug abuse, were significantly less crushing than the consequences of having children.
There were two weeks (maybe more? I don't remember, it was so long ago) which followed a period of drug use that crippled my life during my early twenties, which I even now think of as the longest two weks of my life. I wandered around, homeless and penniless, starving, scorned and humiliated; yet I don't remember feeling the least bit suicidal. I felt a lot of bad things, but suicidal was not one of them. I had this small hope which I followed like an invisible carrot dangling in front of my face, like a pillar of fire and cloud hung in the sky by an unseen benefactor to lead me to a better place. Or just where he wanted me to go at the time.
Nowadays, I get recurring urges to jump off bridges, or drive my car into large immovable objects. And the invisible carrot is much less visible.
When the idea of having kids first sprouted in my head, I saw it as a step towards normalcy and decent living, away from the darkness of a drug-addled and carefree youth that was surely spiralling in the direction of nothing but wreckage and doom - A step towards true fulfillment in this corporeal existence. I felt it was healthy. I felt it was what I was "supposed" to be doing to live a stable, god-pleasing life. Whatever I felt, it's what biology drove me to do. It drove me to do it multiple times.
Before I made the decision to let my sperm flow freely and generously into a woman's reproductive chambers, I believed that a) people who were consigned to pay child support were losers and that b) I was not a loser. I was wrong about one and a half of those. From a technical standpoint, people enshackled with the duties of a child maintenance payor were, in fact, losers at some point. They lost the affection of their spouse, lost the marriage with said spouse, and lost the court case that followed. What I was wrong about was how staggeringly easy it is to be a loser in this manner. I believed that if you suffered this fate, you deserved it because you monolithically fucked up, and/or you weren't trying hard enough.
What I didn't believe at the time is that these days and in this culture, women of all types - for many varying reasons - prefer to leave a relationship once they have a child, and have the law demand money from the man on pain of having his assets/money/entire life frozen and/or seized.
What I didn't believe at the time is that I wouldn't escape the brutal, discriminating sword of family justice by what I thought were my virtues, or that the law wouldn't be insensitive to my poverty and make it so I was unable to function in society enough to even recover from financial hardship.
What I didn't believe was that I was already a piece of shit to these women before I even made eye contact. They smelled me coming. And the coinciding smell of money was the only thing that kept them from running away in disgust.
What I didn't believe at the time. That is what destroyed me.
Those pitiful lessons in school involving eggs and electronically crying plastic babies, that they did to try and discourage us from having children, didn't have the impact of the real world that we were hideously misinformed about. I'm not sure what or how they're attempting to teach kids these days, but let my story be an added lesson for you. Don't do what I, and millions of other men did. Don't become a father.