I love my job.
I love the fact that as a birth registrar I get to go to work every day and help people who have just welcomed a baby into the world. I see the babies and I see the parents and for a brief second, all is right with the world. Then, something happens. Anger sets in, drama ensues, and you see a mother remember why she is no longer with the baby’s father. Or you see a father who has a shadow of doubt that the baby is even his. The unmarried parents begin to argue and that moment of sheer joy and the miracle of birth that just occurred fades away.
Situations such as the one I just describe happen all the time. Mom is angry, dad is doubtful, and the baby is just in the middle of it all. It hurts me to see situations like these because I know that a rational decision such as the acknowledgement of paternity is far from a reality at that point. I know it is my job to educate not enforce paternity establishment, but I wish parents could see the value of having a mom and a dad on their baby’s birth certificate. If they could look past the hurt and the anger, they would see that an acknowledgement of paternity not only brings parental rights to the table, it also give the child self-esteem and a sense of shared parenting. It lets the child know that two people in this world, its mom AND dad care enough to put their differences aside and do what is best for their child. Adding the dad to the birth certificate is one of the best things a parent can do for their child.
I love to see that moment when both parents realize not only the blessing of having a child but realize the importance of equipping their child with all that s/he needs to build a successful life. I will always love my job but I am hopeful that parents will start to realize that bringing a child into the world is a gift, not a burden. Their child is now their priority, and all of the drama needs to stop in order to raise a child that does not grow up having low self-confidence and feeling like a burden.
I am hopeful that one day the acknowledgement of paternity process will be so in demand because parents will see the value of adding the dad.
Birth Registrar (Name Withheld)