I was once part of a wedding where everyone but the father of the bride knew that the little toddler running around was the child of the groom. He just naturally assumed the baby belonged to a guest. His daughter did not want to inform him as it would have been another strike against the groom who was significantly older than her.
It all nearly came to a head when the photographer wanted a family photo and the bride quickly decided that it was the perfect time for a bathroom break and the dress was long and cumbersome so it would take a while to get that done.
In reality, it was her way of taking as much time as possible for everyone to get restless and wander off so there would be no family portrait with the little boy included.
That was more than two decades ago. The baby would now be a grown adult but still considered an ‘outside’ child. Urban Dictionary defines the outside child as one ‘usually of the husband, conceived with a woman other than his wife’. Therefore, outside children come about when a man wanders off and returns with more than just groceries.
Through no fault of the children, there is usually some amount of awkwardness surrounding their presence because their very existence came about because two people did something they probably should not have done. The situation can make for uncomfortable family gatherings if people are not inclined to accept that children are innocent of the deeds of their parents.
It can move from awkward to contentious a parent passes away and the surviving one tries to bring the child into the main household. That’s a sticky situation but imagine if the other parent also passes and leaves the outside child a lawful portion of the estate? That’s the stuff that Lifetime movies are made of
It’s hard to imagine that the gift of a life can be so vilified, ostracised or ignored but at times they are. Outside children can be a constant reminder of a infidelity, and a representation of the unknown. They are like that math equation with the dreaded ‘X’ that no one can figure out but everyone needs to solve in order to have some peace of mind.
But let’s be clear, a child born outside of the primary union has as much right and claim as one within the unit. Everyone, especially children, should be treated as if their presence is valued because truly it is.