I wrote this for Kim Taylors "Just One Wife" blog
From what I have seen in my experience as a polygamous child there is always a favorite wife. Sometimes more than one, but the children who are unlucky enough to be offspring of the mother who is not the favorite are often neglected and sometimes abused by their father. I have always felt great sadness and empathy for Abrahams son, with his slave woman, Ishmael. My dad once told my mom that it’s a natural thing for a father to take out on his children the frustration he feels towards his wife. That is a shocking admittance on his part! He was discussing someone else when he said it, but we realized that he was excusing himself for his own abuses.
My mother had desperately wanted to give my dad a son but she miscarried many times. Once she asked me to please run get my father, who was at another wife’s. I was about 10 years old and afraid for my mom. I found my dad lying on my “aunts” couch, watching football. I pleaded with him to please come. He rolled his eyes! Oh that’s right, it’s not my moms “night”! He didn’t come over for several hours. He was never there for his suffering wife. But of course she should be there for him.
When I look through my genealogy I realize that, in many cases, the polygamous father dies alone. Why is that?
Because of polygamy my sisters have no birth certificates and no education to be able to know how to figure that out, although they are trying to. I had one because my mom “rebelled” and sent away for it. She was afraid of everyone.
I can see that when a man deviates enough to have multiple women he can also, in many cases, deviate to include his own children in his self gratification. A common come-back for this is that it happens in monogamous families as well, but it seems to me that people are suppose to strive for the very best human behavior, especially when claiming that God is on their side.
I have known and heard of so many families who have lost the first wife and her children when another wife comes into the family. Doesn’t that seem counter-productive? It happens over and over again. The new woman excuses herself because the first wife agreed to the situation. She then could not handle it. And what makes people think that it’s the “strong” woman who will stick it out and share? The strong woman finds a better life for herself and her children!
I wish for all women what I am lucky enough to have; a husband, and father to my children, whom I don’t have to share with other women and children. My husband is a product of the same lifestyle and he saw the plight of the women in his life. He almost starved to death twice in his life because his mother had to leave him as a nursing baby while she worked in the states, and again in South America when they were stranded with no husband and father to care.
I love my father but I believe he made the wrong choices and I sure wish his children would not propagate that lifestyle.