I hate that I feel self conscious about this. But I do.
I have kids from not one, but two split families.
There, I’ve said it.
The first, as I have spoken about before, couldn’t be more amicable. We have a united front, and negotiate the shared parenting waters with ease. The children always come first, and issues are spoken about openly, respectfully and fairly. It’s functional and friendly.
Master M, unfortunately, does not have this same parenting model. The co-parenting relationship that exists between his two houses has evolved into more of the parallel variety – his other Mum parents her way at her house and I parent my way at mine. There’s just no other way around it.
Master M is adored by us both, he just doesn’t have the luxury of the ‘united front’ that my older kids do. And for this I feel sad for him.
I was in love and wanted nothing more than to be with her and help her have the child of her own that she wanted.
Enter IVF again and my pregnancy with Master M.
The relationship during this time became strained. Something changed when I fell pregnant, and I saw a whole new side of my partner. We had been friends for two years before beginning our relationship, so I felt I knew her well. I realise now that knowing someone as a friend is completely different to knowing them as a partner.
The life inside me provided a new and exciting focus, one that I hoped would unite and stabilise us.
All the same, this child was just such a wanted and beautiful blessing, that I still held out hope that we would be able to make it work for his sake.
I was dreaming.
It became glaringly obvious that we were both going to be much better parents, and people, separately.
Master M was born three weeks early. I can all too clearly recall staring at him once home, adoring his beautiful little face and telling myself, ‘I should just hand him over right now and let her go – I don’t know him yet’.
Every part of me knew how hard it was sharing a child. I dreaded having to go through it; putting this beautiful little boy through the difficulty of two homes, shared care and the many inevitable issues I knew too well that came from separations involving children.
I had grown this little boy knowing he was mine and there is no way in the world I could have given him up, ever.
So here we are, almost eight years later. And he’s the most gorgeous, cheeky, happy, kind little boy who loves both his mums dearly.
The sad truth in this parenting gig is that no one is perfect, and things can’t always be as you would like them to be. But I believe to my core that as long as kids are loved, they can thrive in all kinds of diverse family situations.
It’s early days I know, but this much is true: in spite of all the difficulties, love is one thing my darling Master M has in abundance.