This is a topic that will be difficult for me to write, but for some reason I feel compelled to do so… perhaps it will be healing. I want to tell you how I do not have custody of my first 2 children.
I married my high school sweetheart after becoming pregnant with my oldest daughter. I proceeded to have my oldest son only 11 month and 11 days after my first born. Depression lurked in me for many years and I would say that around the time my kids turned 1 and 2yrs of age… my first bout of hypo-mania kicked in… very possible could have been mania. I was a stay at home Mom, which I loved. The kids were my world and their Father was a workaholic who sometimes didn’t see them often during the week.
Sleep started to elude me and I behaved in ways that were out of the norm for me. An event took place that I will not divulge but just know that it skewed my perception of my marriage and I wanted a separation. We agreed that I would get a job, stay in our house, and keep the kids. Out of the blue, that changed. He no longer wanted to leave, but told me to, and said that once I was settled in my apartment I would have the kids… until then, he would keep them. I had no reason not to trust him because he had never been one to lie. He asked me to move out on a Friday…so I went and stayed with some friends. I only took some clothes… not even all of them. By the following Monday, he filed for divorce on grounds of abandonment… stating that I just up and left leaving the kids and my belongings behind. Imagine how sick to my stomach I was when I was served the divorce papers. I was utterly devastated.
During my lunch breaks at work, I would call different attorneys in an attempt to find someone to take my case pro bono. I had just started my first job ever and only made 8$ an hour. My family wouldn’t help me because they wanted me to go back to him… they didn’t approve of me leaving him. I had zero help, zero council, and had no clue how the legal system worked. I did not know that I could just show up to the court date and plead my case without an attorney. I thought I HAD to have an attorney. So, instead, I did a foolish thing and we “worked out an agreement” in which we had “joint” custody. I thought joint custody meant that we both kept the kids for an equal amount of time. NOPE. He was listed as the primary caregiver. Understand that I was 22 and absolutely clueless. I thought, truly, that this agreement was all I could do without an attorney.
After divorcing, which took 30 days, he and I decided to try to work things out and we reconciled, though divorced, for about a year. I was putting all my effort into making the relationship work and he wasn’t at all. We talked of remarrying but he insisted I sign a pre-nup so I couldn’t remarry him and then run off with the kids. I absolutely refused to sign such a thing. So once again, we parted.
Afterwards, I spent many years highly unstable, very suicidal, and completely feeling dead in my own skin.
He had told me that he had filed for divorce only to get me to come back. Yet all it did was push me further away. I felt abandoned by my family… ripped away from my children… I felt like a walking disaster.
To this day I still cry over the way that things happened years ago. I probably always will. I look at my disorders and the disasters I have left in my wake and think that perhaps it was a blessing that things happened the way they did… my mind can think that, but my heart feels something entirely different. It just hurts. 🙁