Why do you have to struggle with that? It’s the woman who gives birth to the child, so it’s very likely that she gets stuck with it when the guy had his fun and then left. Even in a divorce situation, most courts will give a young child under ten to the mother to raise.
The fact is that being a single parent is always looked at as a negative thing in Korea. Three possibilities, ranked from better to worse
- You are a widow with a child. Not your fault your husband died, you were legal, but still not easily marriageable, especially if you want to keep your child with you.
- You are a divorcee with a child. Partly your fault, at least you did marry legally, but you won’t be considered as a potential bride in any respectable family. You’re “used goods”. And the man will say “I’m not confident I can raise someone else’s child”
- You were never married and yet had a child out of wedlock. This is the worst. In Western societies they are also viewed with prejudice by many.
Thus we see in dramas women who re-marry (or just marry another man), tucking the child in the countryside, or they go abroad with the new husband, leaving the child to be raised by her parents or siblings like in “Weightlifting Fairy, Kim Bok Joo”. Or putting the child in an orphanage (like in “Her Private Life”).
The new husband may or may not know about the child, but it is considered “the obvious thing” that he’s marrying her without her baggage, and it’s okay as long as he’s not required to also raise “somebody else’s child”!!!
This is the reason for so many abandoned children. You may like to watch the video about that priest who has made a baby box for the women to put the baby in. Here and here a more recent update.
In other dramas they try to avoid the issue by having the child happily studying in the US with her aunt, and not even wanting to come back. Very convenient. We saw this in “Madame Antoine” and “Romance is a bonus book”, where the daughter studying in America was completely forgotten in the second half of the drama and nobody even mentioned her anymore.
This said, we have seen similar discrimination when it’s the man who has a child, hidden or not.
The existence of the child sometimes is not known to him, as in “Gentleman’s Dignity”. His lady lover leaves him when she discover this, although the child is happily living in Japan with his mother and is already 20 years old, so she won’t have to “raise” him. And he totally understands it, he finds it normal! Probably it’s normal for the audience as well.
Or he is a single father who was abandoned by the child’s mother, like the romantic pharmacist in “One Spring Night”.