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Parent Profile: Paul Bigus

Paul Bigus didn’t take the typical path to parenthood. At the age of 18 his high school girlfriend became pregnant with their son. He dropped out to support Evan, and after a long court battle won sole custody. Paul not only returned to high school, worked two jobs and cared for his infant son, but also went on to earn a diploma in business and then a degree in teaching from Western University. Paul, by example, has insured his son understands hard work, responsibility and going for what you want in life pays off in the very best ways. Paul says, “I’ve taught him to not look at what you don’t have in your life, but what you do have.”

“I didn’t have a high school diploma, I was working for minimum wage and I was expecting a baby. I didn’t know what to do next, but I was not going to abandon my responsibilities as a parent.”

When you first heard Evan’s mother was pregnant, were you worried she’d chose to place him for adoption?
Yes, I was worried about a lot of things, but he is my responsibility to care for so I never saw adoption as an option.

Describe how you felt when Evan was expected.
That the world is not just about me anymore; that it is now about a life I am responsible for taking care of.

You were working two jobs, taking classes and caring for Evan. How tired were you?
It was very hard; I was exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. I knew I could not let him down.

How much time does your son spend with his mother?
None, but he is surrounded by a great family who gives him all the love and support he needs.

What one thing would you say was the key to your having success?
My parents. They have always been there for us. Parenting is not an activity meant to be done alone.

You have a tough situation with warning your son against teen pregnancy, but at the same time assuring him that you do not feel he was a ‘mistake’. How do you handle this?
I’ll say, “You have to be careful. There are so many things you cannot control.” I had to grow up very fast and it’s not something I recommend trying. I think parents need to be proactive and establish communication and awareness with their teens.

What is the most important thing Evan has taught you?
He has truly taught me the importance of commitment and dedication.

What do you think your life would have been like had your son not been conceived?
I don’t think I would be where I am today, or have the education I have, or have the same high goals in life.

Drop a line to susanp@parentscanada.com so you can be considered for a future ParentsCanada column.

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