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Contact arrangements 14 month old

(13 Posts)
Deardinah Tue 03-Nov-15 10:53:08

I was on here a year ago, you helped me through the hell I went through when my husband left me and my 3 week old daughter for another woman.
14 months on, I'm trying to get on with my life, but still very low.
We have an arrangement where he sees her twice a week and has her overnight twice a week. He's been doing this for a few months, he tells me she sleeps really well, never cries and always goes to bed on time, she doesn't for me! Still wakes in the night when she loses her dummy and bedtimes are hit and miss. I'm trying to do what I thought was best for her, I want her to know her father and it's drilled into me from all sides 'don't use children as pawns, they're not weapons, they deserve to see their fathers....' I agree, truly I do, as much as I hate him, and her, knowing she kisses and cuddles my daughter after what she did kills me inside, but I just can't let it show, for the good of my daughter. This is how it is and I can't change it. However, Just recently she cries when she leaves me, I have spoken to other mothers about it and they are shocked when I say she stays overnight twice weekly and its making me question, am I doing the right thing by her? at one year old is it too much? He, of course is not going to give up overnights, thinks I'm overreacting, says she's perfect for him. I can't help but worry about the psychology of it all, I thought it would be easier on her from such a young age.
It's crippling me, every time she goes, I'm distraught, but I know its not about me.
Any advice, gratefully received.

MoriartyIsMyAngel Tue 03-Nov-15 11:02:50

Most important thing - is it a legal arrangement?

It's important she has a relationship with her df, blah, blah, you've heard all that. But I think 14 months is too young for overnights. Of course he's lying when he says she's perfect when she sleeps there, and he's lying because he doesn't want you to suggest the overnights stop.

I'd say that she is too distressed when she leaves and that overnights need to stop for now.

PatriciaHolm Tue 03-Nov-15 12:07:36

Even if its not court ordered, he could easily go to court to get it reinstated if you do decide to stop; it's essentially the status quo and her crying (presumably briefly) when she leaves her primary carer to go to her other, familiar, parent isn't even remotely enough to get overnight contact stopped.

I understand it's hard. But he's been a frequent part of her life since she was born and she has a right to a continued warm relationship with him, which overnights are part of. She's probably picking up on your distress as well; can you get someone else to do handovers? If you are distraught she will be too even if she doesn't know why.

Deardinah Tue 03-Nov-15 12:18:44

I hold my tears in when I hand her over. I have no one else to do the handover. I perhaps worry about things that don't need to be worried about, read articles about the damage caused to young children sent overnight to non-resident parents, child psychology articles about the 'best time for overnights being after age 3'
This is a completely foreign concept to me, my first child, I don't know anyone else in the same boat, the only one in my family divorced and co-parenting. I feel completely lost and this is an extra worry on top of all the usual worries mothers have at this age!
This is not a legal arrangement, the divorce itself is crippling me financially, I have lost my house over it, can't afford to live there or change the name on the mortgage so its being sold at a loss. I can't afford any more legal fees.

MoriartyIsMyAngel Tue 03-Nov-15 13:06:46

I don't think it's ideal for such a young child to have overnights, and whoever suggested it was in the wrong, but it's done now, and as long as you have no worries about her physical welfare, I don't think there's much you can do tbh, especially if you need to avoid further court costs.

Ensure she feels secure and happy while she's with you. Try your best to look and act positive in the build-up of her going to her DF, as if it's a treat, not something that has to be endured. There's no reason to think she'll be emotionally scarred. I think it's a case of making the best of things now.

TooSassy Tue 03-Nov-15 21:46:13

Oh OP.

First and foremost. You say you are still low. are you getting any counselling or RL support to help you through this?

He is lying to you about how well she sleeps. If she is having disturbed sleep with you then that is also happening at his.
Regarding the overnight comments made to you, they were totally unfair. Your ex is not a stranger to your DD. yes she may cry briefly when saying bye to you but that is not enough for any court to say the overnights need to stop IMO.

I agree with the poster who says perhaps your DD is picking up on your anxiety, especially at handover time. And remember that 5 nights of the week she is with you. She'll be absolutely fine.

charlybear7 Thu 05-Nov-15 21:28:03

Recently been in court and social services stated that my 5 month old should not be staying overnight with his father (he left me and our 4yr old whilst I was pregnant) until age 1 or 2! Hope that helps X

Deardinah Sun 08-Nov-15 18:54:56

Thank you. I asked him a few questions via text about where she sleeps & who looks after her, asked him to be honest about how well she sleeps, he got defensive so I explained my concerns, he assured me she sleeps great, he & his dad look after her & that we are doing the right thing by her, touch wood the past week she's sleeping better, I must admit she is a very well adjusted little toddler, happy, smiley, plays well on her own & with others. We must be doing something right, I hope I'm just being an over-protective mother. I'm also thinking perhaps this is easier now, rather than waiting till she's 3 & then trying to explain to her she needs to stay away from home, perhaps this routine will just be a normal part of life for her. I just need to come to terms myself with the bizarre arrangement. I just hope he doesn't get bored or cool off as she gets a bit harder...again worrying about things that haven't happened! Lol

Bellemere Sun 08-Nov-15 19:40:48

14 months is old enough for overnights. Separation anxiety at this age is entirely normal. One of my DC was a similar age when we had a similar set up. He loves the arrangement and has a great relationship with both of us. It's likely your daughter has a good attachment with both of you. Just keep doing what you're doing - you said yourself she's a happy little thing smile

Bellemere Sun 08-Nov-15 19:43:06

TooSassy - that's nonsense. My DSC sleeps fantastically here but her mother says she is a terrible sleeper there. There are lots of reasons children may sleep differently in different places.

TooSassy Sun 08-Nov-15 20:31:10

bellemere I stand corrected. My apologies.

Let me say my Eldest was/ is a good sleeper wherever she may rest her head.
My youngest is a shocker of a sleeper. Irrespective of location.

Well done you. You've cracked the sleeping code. Will you write a book now?

purpledasies Sun 08-Nov-15 20:37:18

My DD did overnights by that age and it's worked fine. I think it's possibly a bit young for courts to force access against a mother's wishes, but no reason it would be harmful if you're both working things out amicably. Separation anxiety is completely normal at that age too. As long as she settles once she's with her dad she'll be fine

Bellemere Sun 08-Nov-15 21:23:37

Well done you. You've cracked the sleeping code. Will you write a book now?

Not sure what that comment was for? I didn't say I'd done anything worthy of praise, only that my DSC sleeps differently at one house from the other.

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