It’s taken me nearly six years to realize that I was the victim of a sadistic abuser with a personality disorder. I won’t attempt to guess at what caused his personality disorder, but I have a strong suspicion that it may be his father who taught him that women are objects to be used and thrown away at a man’s discretion. For those of you who don’t know, I lost custody of my two year old to my ex-partner.
And that’s the question that bothers me. Over and over and over again. If I tell anyone that my daughter does not live with me, I have to answer the next question, which is “why?” If I were a father and I said my daughter lived with the mother, nobody would ask that question. But when you are a mom and the child lives apart from you, people automatically make the following assumptions:
1. You’re an abusive parent
2. You’re abusing drugs or alcohol
3. You’re unfit to parent for some reason
I can’t even relate how frustrating this is because none of these situations apply to me. I’ve never abused my child. As a matter of fact, one of the criticisms that I heard most often was that I was soft on discipline. I could not bear to hit my own child or inflict any kind of pain on her. I never abused her and I never will.
Am I an alcoholic drug abuser? No, not even close. Never touch the stuff.
Am I unfit to parent? Well let’s review.
-I carried my child to term as a single mom and never missed a prenatal appointment. I signed up for prenatal yoga, breastfeeding classes and childbirth education.
-I started a college savings plan for my daughter when I was 5 months pregnant and I read to her every night, even before she was born.
-I brought her home as a single mom to a nursery full of everything that she would need for the first year of life.
-I paid for all of her medical bills out of pocket because her father refused to add her to his health insurance
-I breastfed, made my own baby food, enrolled her in Mommy and Me music, the Little Gym at 4 months and Gymboree at 6 months.
-For a year I was a stay at home mom, running a small business from home while caring for my infant as a single mother.
-By the time she was two years old, she was playing the drums, violin and piano/keyboard.
– I was active in the local parent’s association, her sunday school class and volunteered at her daycare center.
So why did I lose custody? Well, for one thing, her father sued me for custody because he was angry that I left the relationship.
On a Wednesday evening, I told him our relationship was over for good. That Saturday, I was late coming home from a shopping trip for his weekend visit pickup. He dialed 911 and told the police that our daughter was missing and that I had a gun. When I got home, there were three squad cars waiting for me. I was handcuffed and thrown on the hood of a police car in front of our infant daughter. But I’m the unfit parent?
So you get why he sued me for custody. But do you know why I lost? Are you ready for this?
-My lawyer didn’t show up at the hearing and the father got custody by default. And because of that I’ll never
-get to walk my daughter to school on her first day of kindergarten
-be able to spend Mother’s day with her without an order from a judge
-be able to style her hair without his permission
-be able to take her to her pediatrician
-be able to bring her cupcakes to her school for her birthday unless he gives me permission
-be able to enroll her in any kind of music lesson, dance or extracurricular activity unless he approves it first
-be able to tuck her into bed at night on a Wednesday
-be there to kiss her bruises
If you think this is a rare occurence, think again. Statistically, a father who sues for custody will win the majority of the time.
So if I tell you that my daughter doesn’t live with me, don’t assume I’m a monster. I’m not.