Staying friends with your ex partner for the sake of a child. In my experience (and I imagine for many) this is one of the hardest things to do.
Unless you both just miraculously fall out of love with each other but still want to be around each other (ha), there are likely going to be some problems.
Some people are great at staying friends with exes. Sometimes it’s relatively easy. I’ve stayed friends with exes in the past, and I’ve cut ties with others. Rarely, I’ve known people who stay pretty close friends even after breaking up with each other (I’m not sure how they do it, but fair play to them). The thing is, sometimes you just don’t want to stay friends with an ex. Sometimes things didn’t work out well, and you want to go your separate ways, away from the mess that was your relationship, right? Not so easy if you have a child with them.
I can honestly say that trying to get along with Pickle’s father is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. There is no rule book on how it should be done, there is no guidance on how to make it work as ‘co-parents’. It is really fucking hard.
On top of that, we’re also living in a pandemic. If we had been living under normal circumstances, he obviously would have just seen her X amount of times but that’s not been possible. Anyone who knows me or has read my other blog posts will know about my recent health problems (nearly dying from an exploding ulcer). I also had a really difficult pregnancy before that. I suffered with something called ‘polymorphic eruption of pregnancy’. It got so bad that I was given steroids, which are immunosuppressant, meaning I counted as higher risk. My daughter was also diagnosed with a condition that made her a higher risk if she caught Covid. So we’ve spent the majority of the pandemic shielding, until recently.
It’s been months of difficulties. Video calls, awkward emails, and generally trying to establish how this tricky co-parenting thing works. (With added pandemic – for extra fun!)
If it weren’t a pandemic, we would probably mainly talk in person. Instead we’ve been forced to try and figure out communication through other ways. I’m sure you can imagine how many misconstrued emails and texts we’ve had, it’s been a nightmare.
Our daughter was born a week before the severity of Covid-19 became apparent in the UK and subsequently the world. Seriously, we had zero practice at co-parenting before it struck. So now we’ve been navigating blindly through two crazily difficult things: co-parenting and in a pandemic.
The question i’ve been asking myself is ‘how do I remain in close contact with a person I don’t want to see or talk to?’. I’ll let you know when I figure out the answer.
On the one hand there is us as exes. If we removed little Pickle from the equation I would not have any contact with him. We’d go our separate ways and things would be easy, we would move on. On the other hand there is us as parents. I want my daughter to know her father. I didn’t know my father and I don’t ever want that for her.
Obviously, these two things don’t really work well together. And as with everything else now that I’m a mum, my daughter’s needs come far before mine. So I am working hard to swallow my difficult feelings, which is tough for me. Normally if a relationship had been this stressful, and we were struggling so much to get along, I would simply go my separate way from that person.
Luckily, my daughter is worth it. All I have to do is think of her, or look at her, and I remember exactly why I’m fighting so hard to work through this. I remind myself that at least he is a father who wants to know her, and for that I am very thankful.
This week visits with her Dad start for the first time since the pandemic began. My stresses and nerves are high. I can only hope we find the balance, and that we learn to communicate and co-parent well. Hopefully in due time things will get easier, we’re in it for the long haul now either way!
Love to all the other parents trying to navigate this awkward and mega stressful thing that is co parenting, especially in a pandemic. Huge respect to everyone else who is trying so hard to bite their tongues, work through their difficult feelings and be positive for your little ones.