I gave birth to a health baby boy in November 2012 via C-section. I was overjoyed and overwhelmed. The first several weeks of sleeplessness and constant nursing was certainly stressful, but I was so in love with my son that it didn’t matter.
It was clear my husband wasn’t sharing in the joy of our little family. I couldn’t feel a connection between the two of them. And I felt even less of a connection between the two of us. When my son was just 4 weeks old, I decided it was best for me to go stay with my parents for two weeks, while he figured out what he wanted. Surely all he needed was some time apart to realize that we were meant to be together.
Needless to say, the cliche “absence makes the heart grow fonder” did not ring true in our case. Although I was desperate to keep us together, he was not. My worst nightmare came true. He wanted a separation. A legal one. While I was away, he had found a potential roommate to help with the mortgage. This was really happening.
The reality of the situation hit me on the drive home from Home Depot, where I had just picked up several moving boxes. I had to pull over. I couldn’t see through my tears or breath through my sobs. I called my mom and asked her how I could possibly do this. I could literally feel my heart breaking. She assured me I was strong. I had to be strong. My son needed me. This was not the end of my life, just life as I knew it. Time to start again.
I knew I’d never make it as a single mother on my salary and child support where we lived. I had no family around. No one to help me with this tiny newborn for whom I was now responsible. After a LOT of tears, and phone calls and prayers, I found my best option was to move back in with my parents, 2.5 hours north.
I spent a week dividing possessions. Between c-section recovery, sleepless nights and endless nursing sessions, I packed as much as I could. Piece-by-piece, my son’s nursery that I’d spent months perfecting, disappeared into boxes.
My son was five and half weeks old when I left. It was two days before Christmas. I left behind my house. One of my beloved dogs. My job. My friends. My life as I knew it. The weight of what was happening to me was crushing. Suffocating. I drowned myself in my tears. Cried myself to sleep at night.
A glimmer of hope remained that this situation was temporary. Surely, he would miss us. He agreed to marriage counseling at a mid-point every other weekend. After which, we would hang out at the local mall so that he had time with our son. Our arrangement for visitation was every other weekend, but only when he reached 6 months old. I was exclusively breastfeeding on demand and it made no sense to have him stay an entire weekend that young.
The months wore on and it was clear he was becoming more distant. He began dating, which absolutely ripped me apart. Trying to “test the waters” and see “how others compared to me.” Oddly enough, he never dated the girl that came between us. At least not that I know of.
Though there were brief times when I believed we were on track to reunite, it ultimately didn’t end up that way. Our counselor actually told us there was nothing he could do. BOTH of us had to want to do the work and it was clear only one of us was willing to do that. Hurtful, damaging things were said. Words that could never be taken back. Words you don’t say to someone you love. After pouring my heart into trying to fix what had been broken, I realized that the cause was lost. He’d given up a long time ago and I was holding onto dust.
I filed for divorce in March. Some people don’t understand why I didn’t do it sooner, but I had to fight. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I committed my life to this man and we had a son together. I wanted to be able to tell him when he was old enough that I did everything I could to keep his father and I together. After nearly a year and a half of fighting, however, I was all tapped out.
Luckily, we’re keeping it as civil as possible. There have been some really bad times, but now that I’ve come to accept that it’s over, we’re able to communicate a little more effectively. Seeing him every other weekend is hard on my psyche, but I must get used to it. We’re trying to co-parent as best as we can because my son will always remain my top priority.
The last year and a half has been a journey for me, from the depths of despair, back to a place of joy. It’s taken me as long to accept my new life and find happiness in it. There are desperate times of loneliness and days when delve into the past and try to make sense of what went wrong. I feel like those times will always hang around, but recently my good days have outnumbered the bad.
My (ex) husband has moved on. He has a girlfriend and she’s been around for a while. She spends almost every weekend my son is there with him. It rips me to shreds, but I have to accept it.
I’ve said it before and will say it a thousand more times...I’ve been incredibly blessed with amazing friends, family and coworkers. Honestly, without their support, I’m not certain I would have made it through.
Here’s to a new chapter. New journey. New life.