‘My mum wants me back in Ireland, but now an Aussie woman is pregnant with my baby’

Tell Me About It: I feel very conflicted: I do not want to repeat the past and have my child grow up without a dad


I’m in my early 30s and find myself in a complex situation. To give background to this, I am the only son of my single mum who chose to keep me in difficult circumstances. She had to leave her family home as they told her to leave (my grandparents have since reconnected and are close to me) and she never went to third level. She had to rent and find work all during my childhood and I know it was a tough situation.

About five years ago, I went to Australia with the understanding that I would have my fun and then return and settle down at home. My mum now has her own life, but I know that it means the world to her for me to come home. I had planned to come home this September and told my work that I would leave in August – I’ve a great community of friends and a really good life, but lots of other people are also going home so it felt right. I started dating a very beautiful Aussie woman in February and we both knew that it was just a fling, but she told me in April that she was pregnant and that she planned to keep the baby, whether I was in the picture or not.

I feel very conflicted: I do not want to repeat the past and have my child grow up without a dad. I think this woman is gorgeous and we might manage to become a family (though I realise we hardly know each other), but then I think of my mum and how painful she would find it not to have me come back from the other side of the world. No matter how I think about it, doing the right thing seems to hurt someone badly.

I have not told my mum yet of the situation as I know that the mother of my future child intends to remain in Australia.




The difficulty here is the distance. If this situation was happening closer to home you could give the relationship some time to develop, play your full role as a dad, while at the same time seeing your mum regularly.

However, the reality is much more stark as you so clearly outline. Your mum and you share strong moral principles and family values in that neither of you has taken the easy option of opting out of difficult situations. As August is fast approaching, it would seem that you need to choose a direction almost immediately and then deal with the consequences of that decision. The question of which duty/obligation gets priority rests with you but know that whatever you decide your case is different from what your mum went through – whether you stay or come back you will be able to have a relationship with your child and your mother. The future may hold options as yet undiscussed such as your mum moving to live in Australia (or spending long periods of time there) or your relationship, with the mother of your child, consolidating to such an extent that she might consider spending a year or two in Ireland before your child goes to school.

Culturally, Australia and Ireland are similar, and this also offers some optimism in terms of shared understanding and uniting families

Whatever the future holds it does seem a reasonable request, to both women, that you be allowed some time to explore the relationship with your girlfriend and be there for the birth of your child. In fairness to your mum, she will need to see you in person as she has been waiting for your return for a long time and she deserves to have some time with you to explore the situation. Maybe you could give her the choice of whether you should come home for a number of weeks, or she could come to you so that she can at least meet the mother of her future grandchild.

You and your mum have a history of handling difficult situations and perhaps you can lean on this shared past now – the most important part of this is that your mum knows of the huge love and respect you hold for her and how seriously you are taking the impact of this decision on her. Your romantic relationship is still in its infancy and there is a danger that too much pressure will be placed on it, but nine months of pregnancy is not an insignificant amount of time with which to get to know someone with whom you already have quite an attraction. That you both are committed to parenting this child is very grounding and gives at least the basis for growing a connection. As family is what is being considered, having your mum and partner meet makes some sense, but this needs a light touch at least at the start.

Culturally, Australia and Ireland are similar, and this also offers some optimism in terms of shared understanding and uniting families. What is clear from this dilemma is that your mum has raised someone who carries her integrity and principles and if there is any potential in creating a new family, these characteristics will become embedded in the next generation.