Life Before my Daughter
In the beginning, it was so fun. Isn’t that how it always starts? That good ole’ honeymoon phase. I know we’ve all been there. Things were great and it felt like I had nothing to worry about. That lasted a couple of months until reality hit me and left me questioning how much of our relationship was built on the highs of a new, exciting relationship. Over time, I found that some of the fundamentals just didn’t line up such as our beliefs and our values. Even at this point, I didn’t feel triggered to dig a little deeper.
Our relationship required very little responsibility. We were all about having fun. The superficiality suited me at the time. Very little focus was put on learning the real deal stuff about one another. And we were both fine with that. I ignored the differences in our outlook on religion, pop culture and gender roles. I did not want to recognize and ultimately deal with the differences as I was struggling with my sense of self-worth and value. Being in a relationship signified that I had succeeded in acquiring love. Neither of us focused on the future or the big picture. Our relationship was built on a very shaky foundation that would be tested after the birth of our daughter.
We had only been together a very short time before I learned of my pregnancy. During my pregnancy, I really started to notice the differences between our general approach to planning for our child. At this time, I was working as a server. I was very anxious to get a sufficient number of hours to qualify for maternity leave. This was part of the planning for our financial welfare ahead of the birth of our daughter. He, however, showed very little interest in any sort of planning. This puzzled me and worried me as well. In my mind, he also showed very little empathy for me during my labour. I was in labour for over 30 hours and ultimately had to undergo a Caesarian birth. My recovery was slow and painful. My partner was not compassionate during this ordeal. He was removed emotionally and physically.
Life After Nevaeh
The storm of having a baby and being a new mom is hard enough, let alone finding out all these traits about the other person you had no idea about. There were many problems in our relationship before our daughter was even born, but in my head, I always thought we could get through anything because now we have a child, therefore we HAVE to stay together. That’s just how it works, right? WRONG. The gulf between us became wider and wider as time went on. My partner seemed put off that my attention had shifted from him to our daughter. He wanted the same attention provided to him prior to our daughter being born. Firstly this was impossible as I was getting up every 2 to 3 hours to feed. I was exhausted. I was flabbergasted that he was so aloof and detached when it came to raising our daughter. He slept through nightly feedings. Not once asking if I need anything. As our daughter grew older I planned activities with her, park outings, play places and he never actually wanted to come, however sometimes I would force him.
It became very important to me to maintain independence. My partner wanted me to stay home and not work. I felt that this was part of a control mechanism and one that I was not going to partake in. I’m very goal driven and work hard on advancing my own success. This opposite role of gender role modeling drove us even further apart. His demands became insatiable. He demanded a spotless and perfect living space when he came home from work. He was put off by our daughter’s toys in the living room. He wanted extravagant meals for dinner. I barely had enough energy at the end of the day to brush my teeth let alone assemble a gourmet dinner. Maybe he did not understand what I was going through.
The more I experienced his detachment to me as a person, his partner and the mother of his child, the more I became concerned about what affect staying in the relationship would have on my daughter. I was no longer the only one in the equation of this relationship, our daughter was part of it too. I tried to salvage the relationship for the sake of a “family” unit. But all attempts were to no avail. I saw clearly that the strong male role model I craved for my daughter was not to be found in the current state we were in. I had lost my father when I was only 14 years old to cancer and it was so important to me to make sure she had a good relationship with her Dad. Shortly after our daughter’s first birthday I made the decision to leave my partner and set out on my own. The decision to do so was very difficult emotionally but was necessary for my sanity and the wellbeing of my daughter. Our relationship at this point had deteriorated to such a low that it was impossible to consider staying.
And so I took the plunge and forged a new path for me and my daughter. She ultimately drives my decisions. My insecurities that plagued me in the past and were responsible for staying in bad relationships were no longer a factor. All that is important is my daughter, her health and welfare. My daughter is my world. I don’t settle and will guide and teach her the same lesson. I have no regrets over my decision to leave my partner. I did it to salvage the most important relationship I will ever have, my daughter, Nevaeh!