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I met a woman about 4 years ago. This woman was only 25 at that stage and her daughter was 9 at that stage. She told me that the child was conceived trough a sexual assault.

Now the child has turned 13 and it is legal for her to request birth control. This by itself does not bother me. I know the child's heart and she is not interested in a promiscuous lifestyle.

What is in fact bothering me deeply is that I think the child is being coerced by her mother into it. I have also realised that the child has all of a sudden started suffering from quite severe menstrual cramps. Something that may have something to do with the birth control. I'm not sure.

What also hurt me emotionally is last year I finished formal adoption process so that I would become the legal father of this child.

We had to go to family court, I had to pay nearly 200K worth of legal cost and fees to do this. I had to be interviewed by a social worker that gave me the third degree that made me wonder when exactly my trial started?Everything in regards to this child that costs money I pay. All I get to say when the child costs money is "Yes, dear" and "How much?". All of this I do with what I thought was the understanding that I was helping raising our child.

Now I have to lay in bed and hear our child writhing in agony every third night trough two brick walls, from a medication I was not considered in the slightest. The only reason that I know of it because I saw them drinking it and inquired about it.

The big issue is that I'm basically a pure libertarian. I respect others in making choices and fundamentally oppose everything and everyone who tries to impose there worldviews or philosophies on others. I have but one real creed or dogma that I believe in and that is the belief in free will.

My wife knows this. In our courting phase I told her that I'm basically a vegetarian. She asked me if I would expect her to give up meat if we lived together. I told her that choices of diet are for me like choices of religion, deeply personal. I would consider it tyranny for me to force such a thing on another person, so no. We had similar talks about alcohol. I don't drink, but she can have a glass of wine if she wants. I just reserve veto rights if the alcohol becomes a problem.

This issue goes further than just the fact that my wife got our child on medication without consulting me. It fundamentally is in opposition to the philosophy and worldview that I live my life by.

I know the idea of a teenage pregnancy for the child haunts my wife. Her teenage pregnancy forced her to leave school at 16 because the all-girls school she attended expelled her and would not take her back after she had the child. She was 19 when she got her GED. I sympathize greatly with what she went trough, but emotionally blackmailing the child to get on the pill is not the solution.

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    "The pill" is prescribed to control severe menstrual cramps, not to cause them. I.e., the pill is not the cause of her pain that you can hear her "writhing in agony every third night [(???)] trough two brick walls..." '...I saw them drinking it and inquired about it." What country are you that sells the pill in liquid form? Jun 19, 2023 at 13:18
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    Do you know for sure it's birth control pill? How about starting by asking your wife and the child (together or separately) what is it exactly that the child is taking and for what purpose.
    – iulia
    Jun 19, 2023 at 16:56
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    Are you knowledgeable about birth control? (It seems like not.) In many ways, I would expect to defer to a female parent when considering birth control, given their lived experience and greater knowledge of hormonal BC. Jun 30, 2023 at 18:47
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    @Sascha it reveals a resentment and that this pure libertarian thought that he was buying control of his wife and her daughter.
    – Damila
    Jul 27, 2023 at 2:46
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    @Damila: that kind of was my point, very weird train of thought to think that money has something to do with it.
    – Sascha
    Jul 27, 2023 at 19:04

2 Answers 2

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A few issues to address here so I'm going to try to tackle this in parts. Though before that I just want to say thank you for being willing to adopt and care for your daughter.

Daughter's Pain

You seem to presume that birth control (BC from now on) is causing your daughter to have severe menstrual cramping, and I find that unlikely. Hormonal BC is actually prescribed to help relieve cramping and other symptoms of severe period so if anything I would think BC would be helping your daughter's pain.

So first step is to find out what is causing your daughter pain. If it's really that bad she must be taken to a doctor to determine the actual cause of her discomfort. During such a visit you can mention your belief that the cause is birth control and see what the doctor says about it. I suspect the doctor will say the same thing that I did and that BC is more likely to be helping that harming her periods. Still hearing that directly from a doctor might help to relieve your concerns better then anything I can say.

If your doctor does believe the BC is the cause of the problem, which I stress is doubtful, something should be done about it. Though unless your daughter explicitly says she doesn't want to take BC (more on that below) the solution would likely be not to stop BC but to change to one that didn't have undesirable side effects. It's not uncommon to go through a few BC pills until one that works best for the person taking it is found.

Regardless of the cause if your daughter's pain is really that severe you should be seeing a doctor to figure out the potential causes and how it can be fixed. This should be your first step!

What is your daughter's opinion?

You have made clear what you and your wife's view on birth control is, but not what your daughter's was. You said that she was 'coerced', but you didn't clarify what that means. Have you sat down with her and asked her what her thoughts were on taking birth control? Did she express a desire to not take it or a concern that her mother felt so strongly about it?

Even if your wife suggested birth control that alone is not the same thing as 'forcing' it. For it to be forced your daughter needs to actually be upset about taking it. Given how easy BC is to take, the usual minimal amount of side effects, and the potential positives in regulating and minimizing the pain of a period generally means BC can be useful and desirable even if one is not expecting to engage in sexual activity. To be frank it seems unlikely your daughter would be strongly enough opposed to BC for you to need to worry about her feeling coerced.

That being said the first thing to do is to make sure you understand her actual feelings, without allowing either parent to project their views on the child. That means asking her in a neutral manner how she feels about the birth control. Don't ask in a way that suggests an answer you want, let her give the answer she feels. Make sure this is actually a problem in your daughters opinion before you make it one for you and your wife.

Of course if your daughter does express concern about taking BC then ensuring her wishes are respected is important. That would start with a conversation between the three of you and if you really can't agree may require considering a conversation with a doctor or a therapist...more on that as well below...

Is this 'medication' even birth control?

As mentioned in the comments you don't drink birth control. It's also unlikely that mother and daughter would be taking the same BC at the same time of day, and since BC is usually taken first thing in the morning it's doubtful you would witness it.

So what did you see them drinking? If you think what you saw them drinking caused your daughter's cramping, well it would help if we knew what that medication was since it's unlikely to be traditional hormonal birth control. Again if you take your daughter to a doctor about her cramping you can ask about whatever she drunk was and if a doctor would recommend her taking or stopping that medication.

Is your concern really your daughter's autonomy, or birth control itself?

Forgive me for asking but, well you sound a bit hostile to the concept of taking birth control in your question. In fact I feel the need to point out that availability of birth control has shockingly little affect on a teens choice to be 'sexually active' so your concern about your daughter being promiscuous due to BC is a non issue, especially since teens don't usually choose to have sex until 16-17 not 13. I personally would also point out that most experts in teen psychology agree that informed, safe, consensual sex with similarly aged peers is not necessarily harmful if your daughter did choose to engage in sex as she grew older.

I ask about this because how I answer is kind of dependent on what your concern really is. My answer here is sticking with the presumption that your problem is about your daughter's ability to pick medication she takes and not specifically about the medication in question being birth control. If your problem is specifically that it's birth control that would be an entire different question and answer that would be needed.

You and your wife need to talk about your relationship regardless

Separate from your specific question about BC it seems you need talk with your wife about your relationship. You accuse your wife of not listening to you, of using you only for money, of being emotionally manipulative etc. This does not sound like you are happy with your current relationship, and that is a problem in and of itself that affects not just you and your wife, but your daughter as well.

Now being aromantic I'm a terrible person to give relationship advice - you might as well ask a blind person if these jeans make your butt look fat for all the good it would do you. However the one thing I can say is that relationship counseling or speaking to a therapist can help if one or both partners are unhappy in a relationship and it may be worth considering.

In addition to helping with your other relationship problems a therapist could help you speak about your concern with BC and rather your daughter should take it and help you both to come to a better agreement if you still find yourself concerned after speaking with doctor and daughter about it.

I'm afraid that's as much as I can really say without knowing far more about your and your situation. I hope something in all this was useful for you.

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By choosing to become a parent to an older child, you've made a wonderful choice for your daughter and yourself and your family!

It's hard to not take it personally when being grilled by an authority about your motivations. You made it through, and this shows that you truly have your daughter's best interests at heart. Going forward, be confident that you are a parent, a father who cares about his daughter and her health. Your concerns are valid and you and your wife need to work together to address your daughter's needs.

Your wife's rape and pregnancy should not be part of your family life. The fact that it is shows that that event is still haunting your wife and that's an issue she needs to deal with because it is affecting the family.

You and your wife, together, need to address any and all issues with your daughter. To have a healthy family there can be no secrets about what one parent is doing to care for a child, where the other parent is left out.

Your daughter needs to be seen by a doctor, and there needs to be a discussion about which doctor. Sending your daughter to the same doctor that cares for your wife sets up a situation where your wife may have more access to your daughter's care than you do, which may or may not be in compliance with the rules. So, your daughter needs a doctor, right away, and not necessarily the same doctor she's been seeing.

Your daughter is old enough that you and your wife need to include her in her health care at an age appropriate level. She's no longer a child she's a teen, and on her way to being an adult, so the time is now, to start including her in discussions and decisions about her health care.

To put it in other words, your wife no longer gets to decide on her own what health care your daughter gets. It now involves you and your wife and your daughter.

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    "your wife no longer gets to decide on her own what health care your daughter gets" While I respect the general idea of "you guys are now a family, and it's appropriate to discuss these together," this seems like a very unhealthy way of approaching someone's relationship with their daughter their wife raised alone for 9-13 years through significant trauma. Sitting his family down and saying "I am now part of this, you don't get to decide on your own anymore" would get you booted to the door if I was the wife Jun 30, 2023 at 18:49
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    @AzorAhai-him- I think it's healthy as heck for a parent to express concerns about the other parent being too controlling of a child. The daughter herself MUST have involvement in her own healthcare. It would be irresponsible for any parent to simply ignore such things. And make no mistake, he IS a parent. Adoption isn't "fake" parenting.
    – barbecue
    Jul 5, 2023 at 3:00
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    @barbecue I don’t have any issues with a parent “expressing concern,” I do have issues with the tone the OA used to express the idea. Jul 9, 2023 at 16:32

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