Reality bites with new baby. What now?(30 Posts)
Back story: I became pregnant in a fairly casual relationship, both of us had recently become single after long relationships. I said there was no option for me except having the baby, and he could choose not to be involved. He was horrified.
In short, we both acted very badly. There was a lot of arguing and fighting. But a few months down the line he changed his mind and said we should move in together and be a couple.
Looking back I can now see quite how much I was still mentally tied up with my ex. Because of this, and because I could not forgive him for saying he did not want the baby, I said no. I had some idea in my head that things would change and ve different once the baby came, but wanted things to be stable at first, so be on my own.
We got on better towards the end of my pregnancy, and he came to the birth and was really helpful and supportive in the early weeks, less so recently. He said he would be around a lot.
The baby is now nearly 3 months old and we both love him.
In the last couple of weeks I have finally felt I am over my ex (not the father). I think I had been clinging onto that security to counteract the stress during pregnancy.
Baby's dad is now in a new relationship, which he says he hopes will be serious.
I am trying not to be angry with him. I know I treated him really badly, and fundamentally he is a good guy. I felt that we owe it to our baby to at least give being together a go. Until now I was not in a place to try with any integrity.
I am disappointed that he chooses to spend time with this woman over time with his child. I am scared that they will get married really fast and she will try and be my baby's mum. I am disappointed in myself that I did not feel brave enough to give things a try when it was not too late. And it scares me that I cannot help loving the dad, which surprised me, and I look at the baby and see him. Maybe it would never have worked anyway and it is not enough. I do not know how I will ever be able to explain why dad is not around much to our baby.
He sees the baby about twice a week at the moment.
Not sure what I am asking really. I judt want everything to turn out ok.
You said yourself the relationship was casual. It was very on/off from what you describe and has clearly ended up 'off'. All you both owe your baby is that you love and take care of him and that you cooperate. If he grows up with the two of you under different roofs, he'll take it as normal and there will be no big explanations required. Any obligation to your DS doesn't extend to you playing Happy Ever After with his father.
I think you're mostly upset that you're the one left alone and literally holding the baby while he seems to have got on with life, got someone new and successfully moved on. You should probably take a leaf out of his book rather than stay stuck hoping for something that isn't going to happen.
I also do not know how to contact him now. Before I sent him and his family pictures of the baby and stayed in touch, which they want to do. But it is not fair on his new girlfriend to contact him so much. It must be weird enough dating someone with such a young baby without me hanging around.
Everything will turn out ok, op.
Look, it doesn't sound like your relationship would work, or was working, but it does sound like you are both commited parents now which is great.
I feel you are more disappointed that your baby doesn't have a conventional family set up than at the actual loss of your ex. This is understandable but you're doing fine, you will carry on doing fine.
When kids ask why you're not together, you just explain age appropriately that it didn't work out like that.
I take that back - he doesn't sound much of a commited parent - but being in a relationship with him would not have made him so either. Try not to regret - you're doing well.
"But it is not fair on his new girlfriend to contact him so much. "
That's his problem, not yours. He has a son now which means a lifelong responsibility. Anyone he includes in his life has to accept that. If he sees the baby twice a week how come you don't know how to contact him? Is he paying maintenance btw?
It should turn out OK. But not if you try to force a couple-relationship with the baby's father that neither of you really want. It's not compulsory to have one just because you have created a child between you, and you can be great co-parents to your child while conducting your sexual/romantic lives with other people.
ANd you don't want a couple-relationship with this man, you never have done (which is fine) or you would already have become a couple before your 'little surprise' - you just think you ought to have one because we live in a culture that's obsessed with heteromonogamy.
If your baby's father is a nice man, there is no reason at all for him to fail at fatherhood. As to his new partner, if she is a nice person and the realtionship between them becomes serious then, potentially, your baby has another nice adult in his life who will love him, and the more loving adults in a child's life, the better.
And I know this because..... It's a lot like my situation was 10 years ago. I got unexpectedly PG, kept the baby, the father was an old drinking mate who I sometimes shagged. We did not try to form a couple-relationship. Neither of us has formed a lasting couple-relationship with anyone else, admittedly, but we are not romantically inclined and don't live together. DS sees his dad at least twice a week, we sometimes all three go on family outings and stuff, we are on good, friendly terms and DS is happy and thriving.
It can work, OP. Good luck.
Throwing his child a couple of weekly visits and spending the rest of the time prioritising a new GF doesn't sound like a committed parent. OP is well rid.
I did not mean I do not know how to contact him actually, I do, I meant should I continue to send photos and keep him as involved as he says he wants to be. I do not think I will manage to get over the desire to try things as a couple if I am staying in such close contact with him.
He is paying some maintenance.
SGB, good friendly terms sounds great. I am glad it is possible.
You can stay on friendly terms for the sake of your child but no romantic involvement. His gf will have to accept he has a child and will therefore have to have contact with you. The trust is up to them and their relationship.
One of the main reasons we did not get together initially (before baby) is that we work together. Not sure if that makes any difference though. It meant that any relationship would be practically 24/7 from day one.
I went through the same feelings for my son's father around the three-month mark. We gave it a go, it lasted a matter of days, as we were not meant to be together. Looking back I was very tired and hormonal at this stage and probably engulfed with the reality of raising a child on my own. Anyway a few years down the line we are all ok. DS goes to his dad's every other weekend and we both have fun dating other people. Just wanted to add another success story.
Isn't twice weekly quite normal for a non resident parent?
My DC see their dad e/o weekend and a Wednesday evening. That's pretty much how its always been.
Does he know how you feel op?
Yes, send photos, keep him involved unless and until he asks you to stop.
To reduce his involvement is punishing him for having a girlfriend. That would be spiteful and unfair. He - and you are entitled to whatever kinds of sexual and romantic relationships you want. I appreciate that you probably have no interest in dating with such a small baby, but that's fine - when/if you do want to date again, it will be nice to have babyfather as a baby^sitter^. (Works very well in my set up, that one )
Mike, He knows I was underwhelmed by his being absentee for a couple of weeks and I said I was not very impressed that he had put his new relationship before the baby.
I don't understand. Why are you sending him photos of a baby he is seeing twice a week?
Are you going back to work at any point soon and will that mean you are seeing the babys father every day again?
This sounds pretty tortuous if you are still in love with him by then and it may be worth a rethink.
Your baby is still only a few weeks old and your hormones may be all over the place. Hold your fire, take things slowly and see how it all pans out. You and he have this child together for life now. Deep Breath.
It will all be OK.
Hampton, yes I am going back to work quite soon, and will see him every day.
As to the photos, he wanted to be involved, so I have sent him photos of what we have been up to. As on one of his visits the baby is usually asleep it seemed a good way for him to be involved. But maybe it us too much.
Fwiw I doubt you are in love with him. I would guess your hormones are playing you and 3 months in, it's probably natural to subconsciously start looking for a daddy/happy family life and there he is on a plate! You could have it all and be the perfect family if he just loved you. Except he isn't on a plate... Which makes you want him more
Op this WILL get better! You maybe just lonely at the mo which is completely natural. Just keep doing what you've been doing and things will eventually fall into place! Never mind what he's getting up to, just focus on having a nice life with your son!
I wouldn't bother with photos, he can take his own photos when he sees him. If the baby is usually asleep when he sees him then he's not seeing him enough and should make the visits longer IMO.
I think you need to forget about having a relationship with him and concentrate on putting your feelings aside and building a happy, stable friendly co-parenting relationship.
I'm glad SGB is on here already because I think she is a wonderful voice of reason for this kind of situation. Babies (and children) don't need to have their biological mother and father in their same house in a romantic relationship, what they need is love, stability and at least one adult who is serious about their commitment to them. That's what's meant by stability - it doesn't mean "brought up within marriage".
I think that contact is difficult with a young baby, because often one of you, usually the mother, is the main carer and you may have to be there. I would say contact should be little and often, if possible 3-4 times a week. As she gets older then you can increase it to longer periods but further apart until you fond something which is convenient for both of you.
Don't take responsibility for his relationship with the baby - that's for him to do although of course you could have a frank sit down chat about it. Again, don't worry about his girlfriend - it's his issue that he is dating while he has such a small baby with another person and of course that necessitates that he has quite a lot of involvement with you at the moment. It's up to him to manage that and his girlfriend to decide whether she can put up with that - nothing to do with you on either count.
I think that also this means that you don't need to be passing on photos or talking to his family. If they contact you you could direct them to him - I'm sure he can make arrangements to take the baby to visit (even if you decide to go too let him make the arrangement and check with you it's OK rather than leaving it up to you). As Eirikur says he can always take his own photos, if he doesn't have time then perhaps increase visits rather than trying to take responsibility for that bond/relationship yourself. Obviously it helps to be on friendly terms with his family, but don't fall into a daughter-in-law role, because that's not what your position actually is. Politely but firmly assert that he is the baby's father and he is perfectly capable of arranging to bring him over or telling them what he wants for Christmas or whatever.
Another one in a similar set-up to SGB. I got pregnant with an occasional partner 13 yrs ago. He sees DD twice a week, and didn't start having her overnight until she was 3. He did come round a bit more often in the early days when I was on maternity leave, but it soon settled into twice a week. They have a great relationship now, although it was rocky when she was a toddler, and it has worked out well for us, although there have never been any feelings on either side to complicate it.
I think it's a great set-up because there was no big break-up so we are good mates, and I get on well with his partner too.
As for the DC questioning why you're not together - my DD only asked me very recently. It just didn't occur to her to ask before. She's old enough now for me to tell her outright and she's fine with it.
I would suggest you speak to him face to face and ask him what photos and updates he wants. Just explain you don't want to make his new partner feel uncomfortable but don't want to cut him out either. Also ask his family - I think they would be gutted to stop receiving photos but only they can tell you.
Have you met his partner yet? People always seem more of a threat before you meet.
Thank you Bertie, that all sounds sensible.
His family is overseas, though, so will only get to see the baby very infrequently. And they have asked for regular photos. But I suppose as you say it is not my role to facilitate that relationship.
Join the discussion
Please login first.