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DSC & New Baby

(34 Posts)
ElBumpo Thu 13-Mar-14 17:17:47

I have been with my husband for just over two years. He has yet to secure court ordered contact that allows them to come to our home or meet me (he sees them 1 day a week). I have a baby due in about 3 months. Depending on court progression, there is a chance his children could meet me either 8 weeks before, 9 days before or not until after the baby is due.

Last year, DSCs mother had said that I would be introduced to the children at the start of this year but then changed her mind in January. She hasn't given any solid reasons for her objections but I can appreciate her reluctance at introducing "the new partner" having been in her position a few years ago. I'm not the OW in case that makes a difference.

So, in the absence of a way to go back and delay the conception of their half-sibling - what's the best way to handle this? DH hasn't said anything yet as they are both quite young (just turned 5 and nearly 4).

Any tips on what to say, when to say it etc would be appreciated. DH has considered putting together photos and video messages from us here to "introduce" us without actually meeting us but I'm unsure. The DSC do know about me and my children and have since last year. DSC often send colouring pages as "gifts" to my children and are keen to meet them.

I'm concerned that their mother will confuse them by saying our baby isn't their sibling or that they will never see the baby - these fears aren't completely unfounded, he's only just got DSC to believe that he is their dad after they'd been saying things like "Mummy says you can't be our daddy because you don't live with us" etc.

I'd appreciate if people didn't point out that we should have waited for a final court order before conceiving - we are already aware of that.

FrogbyAnotherName Thu 13-Mar-14 19:07:46

Your DH doesn't need a court order to introduce his DCs to you and your DCs - what the hell is he playing at?

Why hasn't he just arranged to meet you somewhere, or bring them to your home, when they are with him?

FrogbyAnotherName Thu 13-Mar-14 19:08:28

.......did they miss their Dads wedding?

ElBumpo Thu 13-Mar-14 20:29:00

The court order forbids them from coming here or seeing me because that's what their mother wanted.

We just had a very small legal ceremony (me, him and 2 strangers from the street!). We'll have a proper blessing when we can be together and his children have adjusted to things.

lunar1 Thu 13-Mar-14 20:36:23

Why did the court order that? It seems a bit extreme.

ElBumpo Thu 13-Mar-14 20:39:34

It was a consent order. She offered increased hours in the day for him on the condition I wasn't allowed to be introduced and he cannot bring them here. We are awaiting a contested hearing but due to CAFCASS delays, it's going to be longer than we thought.

purpleroses Thu 13-Mar-14 21:03:36

I'd have thought he should tell them soon about the baby. Does their mum already know? If not, then tell your DP should tell her (by email or phone) at the same time as he tells the kids, giving her as long as possible to adjust to the news before she next sees the kids (so hopefully she'll be less likely to say negative things to them as she'll have had a chance to get used to the news).

They'll probably be dead excited about it, and impatient to meet you. Hope your court order comes through soon. It does sound a ridiculous restriction not to introduce your children to your DW!

FrogbyAnotherName Thu 13-Mar-14 21:20:38

it was a consent order. She offered increased hours in the day for him on the condition I wasn't allowed to be introduced and he cannot bring them here

Wow.

The fact that your DH agreed to that previously will unfortunately make life a lot harder for you all now - no matter how careful, sensitive or considerate you are about introducing and meeting his DCs, his ex will always be in the background, knowing that he will give in and let her have her own way if she says the right things.

I don't think it matters too much how you and your Dzh handle this - it's inevitable that your DSC will end up damaged based on their Mums behaviour.

ElBumpo Thu 13-Mar-14 21:32:33

He didn't really have a choice, frog, it was either that or he remained at 2 hours in a contact centre. The contested hearing should, touch wood, give things more of a balance and show their mum that she can't have her way and that it has to be about what's best for the children.

I've read a lot about damage limitation when one parent is bad mouthing another (with positive results, the relationship between DSC and DH improves week after week) but advice on introducing a new baby like this is nowhere to be found.

ElBumpo Thu 13-Mar-14 21:34:15

Yes their mum knows purple roses, she has since the end of last year. I hope you're right about her being used to the idea :-/

purpleroses Thu 13-Mar-14 21:44:13

Well I'd tell them sooner rather than later then - if you think she may say negative things to them might as well get in first.

But do drop her a line to let her know you're telling them/have told them too.

FrogbyAnotherName Thu 13-Mar-14 22:20:18

bumpo I fully accept he did what he thought was right.

Thing is, the psychology of toddlers is applicable to all ages. If a toddler is given sweets if they have a tantrum at the checkout, then that's what they'll do. If they are picked up and carried when the plant their bum on the pavement, then they'll sit down every time they want to be carried. If they are allowed to sleep in with mummy and daddy after being put back to bed 10 times, they'll keep disturbing their parents sleep.

Adults are no different. You DHs ex has had her unreasonable behaviour and demands reinforced because she did get what she wanted. That means she is far more likely to continue to behave unreasonably (as she did in January) and no matter how careful you are, your DSC will be damaged by their Mums behaviour. Your DHs aim for them should be damage limitation, rather than trying to create an actively positive experience.

(As an aside, you may want to read up about specific issue orders - I'm sure there's not a court in the land which would refuse a reasonable request for a DC to attend their parents wedding)

Riakin Fri 14-Mar-14 09:58:19

ElBumpo

Don't tell exw before you tell DSC. She wi

Riakin Fri 14-Mar-14 09:59:07

Tell them and not in a way that you would, eg

Riakin Fri 14-Mar-14 10:02:12

WHAT THE HELLS HAPPENING TO MY PHONE!

you will make a very special setting for telling whereas mum will lower the entire tone. I've seen this for years where there is hostilities anything a bitter ex party can do they WILL do.

Keep it secret and tell children yourselves. Good luck

monkeymadness1 Fri 14-Mar-14 10:57:55

Elbumpo- I can't believe your DP has let it get to this stage without you meeting your DSC. You're married, been together 2 years and are about to have a child. shock

I understand he agreed to have it written into the order that they wouldn't meet you or come to your home in return for ex agreeing to more contact. Why the heck did he do that? As other posters have said, he made a "rod for his own back" the ex will always try similar manipulation to cause problems knowing he is likely to give in.

You say if he hadn't agreed he would have only got 2 hrs a week in a contact centre? Why? Unless he is a danger to them or hadn't seen them for ages and had no relationship with them the Court wouldn't have ordered a contact centre and he would have got normal contact without silly restrictions.

I actually think this way is worse for the kids, the ex has done this selfishly not in the kids best interests at all.

ElBumpo Fri 14-Mar-14 11:36:32

She made false allegations at the start and then dropped them. The first hearing wasn't even with magistrates or a judge so contact had to be by agreement.
I know the court case inside out and I can guarantee that he's done absolutely everything he can short of running off with them(!) The system is painfully slow and flawed - her latest complaint is that I had PND years ago and my DD has a learning disability and she thinks that's a risk to her children so now CAFCASS are involved (yes, seriously, it's that ridiculous).
As I said, he is now awaiting a contested hearing so she won't get a say as such - it will be done from CAFCASS recommendations.
If someone says you can see your children for 2 hours in a contact centre with someone watching your every move or you can see them for the whole day out and about but not with your wife/at your home; you grab the whole day (the best of the two rubbish options from a child focused POV). If they won't budge, you go for a contested hearing but CAFCASS are very slow - 12 weeks at best but add in court errors and delays all over the place (totalling over 9 months now), you wind up where I am wondering how DSC you've never met should be told they're having a sibling. You can't argue with CAFCASS or the court about the delays otherwise you just get portrayed as unreasonable.

FrogbyAnotherName Fri 14-Mar-14 11:51:14

I'm not sure I agree with your assessment of the court process (I m currently living it alongside DH for the second time), but regardless of that you seem very blasé about the impact of what has happened so far on the DCs.
While it is right to focus on the future, that has to be in the context of their current emotional state.

Does your DH have a relationship with his DCs school? (And if not, why not?) They will be able to recommend appropriate play therapy and professional support to help - you would be very unwise to consider doing this alone; there are very complex emotions at play when DCs have been emotionally abused in this way by a parent.

ElBumpo Fri 14-Mar-14 12:07:55

Blasé? What do you suggest we/he should have done? If I seem blasé it's because I'm trying to get past the questions about the court case and back to the question I was asking / what's the best way to tell them?

My assessment of the court process? I'm telling you my experience. What should have been resolved last year is still ongoing because of the court making mistakes on orders, CAFCASS delays, the ex saying she will agree further contact after x weeks and then going back on her word. In court we have two choices: consent order which relies on her agreeing to something (she won't) or an order that the court decided upon which so far they have refused to do without CAFCASS reports which has been delayed since the later half of last year! I'm not blasé, I hate it, it's stupid system and it breaks my heart to see my DSC manipulated in this way. If you think there's more we can do, by all means PM me but we have legal advice, we have a Mckenzie Friend, we have advice/:support groups that we attend.

Yes he has a relationship with the school. There is absolutely zero chance that his ex wife will agree to him taking the children to therapy (if we can even get it on the one weekend day a week he has contact).

Russianfudge Fri 14-Mar-14 13:48:18

I agree you should tell them before you tell mum, but tell her before they go back to her.

Unless, to limit damage you don't tell them at all. If they're not allowed to meet you or the baby, it could be quite upsetting and also quite an abstract concept for them to grasp. Mum may be angry with them if they are excited too.

On reflection I think it may be best to not tell them until your poor DH had got rid of this stupid order and agreed something more reasonable. I hope that he doesn't settle for something crap.

Then, once they can meet you and their sibling, you can all start to blend.

FrogbyAnotherName Fri 14-Mar-14 14:33:39

There is absolutely zero chance that his ex wife will agree to him taking the children to therapy

Does he have PR? Because if so, he doesn't need his ExW permission - he can pick the DCs up from school and drop them back. If the school believe it would be valuable, they will release the DCs and even arrange for it to be delivered during school time, on the premises.

What was the contact arrangement prior to 12 months ago? You and your DH have been together two years, but court proceeding have only been ongoing for a year - did your DH have contact prior to that?

I think he has done you, and all his DCs a great disservice by keeping you as his dirty little secret in exchange for a few extra hours contact; I doubt the benefit to the DCs outweighs the long term damage caused.

I agree with russian - your DSC have been messed about enough. I suggest that their hopes and expectations are not raised - even with a court order, it's unlikely that their Mum will behave reasonably and there may be many more years of court ahead.

Petal02 Fri 14-Mar-14 14:42:31

I think he has done you, and all his children, a great disservice by keeping you as his dirty little secret in exchange for a few hours extra contact

Sadly, I agree. I’ve never heard of a man going to such extreme lengths to appease an ex. What a dreadful situation.

ElBumpo Fri 14-Mar-14 15:25:02

What do you suggest he should have done, Frog? Contact up until the court hearing was supervised at her home as she would not allow anything else despite him repeatedly asking for more, her agreeing and then going back on the agreement, hence mediation and then court action. I agree he could have started court action earlier but he too was at the hands of her emotional abuse (his reason for leaving in the end) and was wracked with guilt at having left the family home. He didn't think he deserved to be around his boys because that's the state of mind he had been left in. Perhaps that's "weak" to some people but that's what emotional abuse does to people.

Since mediation, ex allowed contact in a contact centre and has agreed to unsupervised full days as I explained before.

What else should he have done? Refused the full days because he thinks I should be involved? How is that child focused? What sort of judge/magistrate is going to look favourably on a man refusing ANY contact time for any reason?

His priority is extending time with his children because that is what is in the children's best interest. He has said, as I have explained, that he is no longer willing to negotiate with her, hence the upcoming contested hearing. You are full of criticisms here but what is he supposed to actually do? Keep the children longer than the court order says? Ignore the court order and introduce me? You/others say he never should have agreed to this restriction which would have resulted in him staying in a contact centre for months on end and giving her solicitor ammunition in the form of him being more bothered about getting to introduce me than actually developing the relationship with his children. How can he stand up in court and say "my children need more time with me" when he was the one refusing the progress she offered?

I have never been a secret - his children have known about me since court action began. They were still very young at that point, it didn't seem urgent to tell them before they would be likely to be introduced to me.

Taking the children out of school is a surefire way of pissing her off even more, potentially leading to a complete cessation of contact (she has refused contact for far lesser things in the past) and the youngest child isn't even in school anyway and she won't tell him where he goes to nursery because she doesn't have to.

Ludways Fri 14-Mar-14 15:35:23

We had a similar situation, dsd didn't meet my ds until he was about a year old as exw forbade it. We worried and planned how they'd meet, in the end she took it all in her stride, lol, we built up the whole "he's so pleased and excited to meet you" thing and they hit it off straight away. They're 15 and 12 now and are really close. When dd (now 8) came along it was just like everyone else's family.

FrogbyAnotherName Fri 14-Mar-14 15:46:50

I agree he could have started court action earlier but he too was at the hands of her emotional abuse (his reason for leaving in the end) and was wracked with guilt at having left the family home. He didn't think he deserved to be around his boys because that's the state of mind he had been left in. Perhaps that's "weak" to some people but that's what emotional abuse does to people.

Yes. I know. My DH experienced similar.

And I refused to enable his victim status.

I was not going to commit my life to a man who was still at the emotional behest of his ex. I refused to consider sharing a home until he had gained the emotional strength to say no to his exW ridiculous conditions on contact, and until he had secured a court order that gave his DCs the chance to develop a positive relationship with their Dad. I supported him to move on with his life - but my boundaries and expectations were clear.

Your DSC don't have that. They don't share their dads life. He is nothing more than a regular leisure activity for them that their mum is prepared to tolerate. The artificial situation that your DH has created with his DCs is not beneficial to them. It is not as simple as saying "any contact is better than none".

He needs to move on and stop feeling guilty. He needs to accept that his exW may threaten or even follow through on withholding contact and he needs to know his options if she does that. And both of you need to move away from the notion that his exW will somehow become reasonable once a court order is in place. You may not be happy breaching an order, but will she care? Or will she find yet another reason for your DHs DCs to be kept away from you? Your DH is dancing to her tune - and you are facilitating it.
I am sure your attitude will change once you have your DC and they start to get caught in the crossfire. Your instinct will be to protect your own - not put their needs to one side in order to accommodate your DH ExW temper tantrums and insecurities.

Don't tell the DCs about your baby - the likelihood is, unless your DH changes his approach, they won't see their half sibling for many years.

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