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I really need some advice from those with experience please - struggling

12 replies

lookingahead · 24/03/2010 10:42

Contact for new baby and our DD ? really struggling and in need of advice please

Dh left me and our almost 3 year old DD in October and I am pregnant due in June.

I understand that what the best contact is for a newborn and what works best for a 3 year old are very different but I am trying to work out what is for the best ? My 2 problems at the mo are:

Contact with our DD is problematic at the moment (he has her for the weekend every other weekend and then picks her up from the childminders once night every week and drops her home) ? He is pushing for more ? she is showing signs of being upset and confused ? he thinks the solution is to see more of her but I spoke with her childminder and she thinks this could be more damaging ? and that she will benefit most ffom consistency, routine and reassurance from both of us rather than him trying to be around more.... PlusI have 2 problems with him having her more often

  1. I work virtually full time and do not want to give our DD for the other weekend any more than I do or I would not really see her (Monday ?Thursday is a quick hour together morning and night, hassled rushed and tired)
  2. I hate seeing him! I am still incredibly upset and hurt by what he has done to me (us) and find it very hard every time I see him. I breathe easy and get strong when I have that distance from him and am in a mess when I do see him ? I don?t need to be even more stressed whilst pregnant , trying to hold down a very pressured job, looking after DD and deal with the emotional and financial fallout. Plus I don?t think the arrangement that we have in place is unfair (would welcome any other opinions on this or ideas)

    The other issue that I have is that I understand this contact will not work for a newborn...Does anyone know what is best for a newborn ? I understand that little and often is best when they are very young but I am not sure how to make it work (also given that I find the prospect of having him round a lot really upsetting - and knowing what effect sleep deprivation will be having in June too - but still understand the need for him to bond with the baby)

    I think it could be really confusing too for our DD when the baby comes along suddenly having her Dad in the house lots ? as she is already confused about why he is not living with us anymore which is difficult and upsetting to deal with in itself ? but he can?t have a relationship with one and not the other can he ?

    Its complicated, emotional and difficult to know what to do for the best for the DCS. I have set up a meeting for us to talk about this on Thursday and want to go in with some idea of what I want.. but I am actually not sure what is going to work here. Please help!!
OP posts:
messymissy · 24/03/2010 12:53

hi gosh what a lot for you to deal with. I can fully sympathise. I am a relatively new lone parent of 1 dd 3yo.

My ex sees DD once a week only - and on a regular day. He only visits extra for special events agreed well in advance. He often fails to turn up on the agreed date skipping a week. Initially DD thought daddy was visiting every day but now she understands the days of the week she is happier knowing what day is daddy's day. He sometimes phones and sometimes we phone him.
My dd used to ask where daddy was, so i just say he is in his house and we are in ours and she has accepted this.

My suggestion to prevent the confusion - especially the every other week business for a 3yo is to maybe have access every week but for less often, eg the same night every week and just one day at the weekend. Then you can talk to her about, eg thursday being daddy's day to pick you up from childminder and Saturday being the day you spend with daddy. so making it more of a routine. so I agree with your childminder about consistency.

As for a newborn - sorry to sound harsh here, and I really really dont want to upset you but if he was really taht bothered about the new baby would he really have left before it is due, so therefore, why should he hve more access to the newborn than he has with DD? If he wants to bond with the new baby well i dont think he cant do that over and above your DD's needs and feelings. If he comes to the house too often your DD could very well get confused and think daddy is coming back.

And your feelings about this are valid too, it is your home and you should not feel uncomfortable in it.Could anyone else be there with you when he visits?

maybe it would be a good idea to speak to your dd that daddy will visit more often (but keep it to very short time, a couple hours max) while the baby is little. this could be done on one extra visit a week OR for him to come to pick dd up a little earlier so he can see the baby or bring her back a little earlier on the agreed days so he can see the baby then - combing the two and limiting the number of times you have to see him.

I hope some mnetters with first hand newborn experience come up with some great advice for you.

RiverOfSleep · 24/03/2010 13:18

I have no experience but do have a little suggestion - is DD still going to be at the childminders when you are on maternity leave?

If so maybe your ex could pick her up 3/4 days a week but bring her straight home to you and then the two of them could do some sort of task like bath the baby?

Is there anyone you can talk to about this before Thursday - is your HV nice?

I feel for you.

cestlavielife · 24/03/2010 13:32

you are under no obligation to have him in your house at all - and creating stressful situation isnt going to be nice when you newborn baby tired etc.

isnt going to be helpful for dd either - she wil have new baby to contend with then confusion of is daddy coming back home then?

so contact has to be outside your home.

regular short sessions with baby will be fine til baby is ok to be left with him for longer - this could be in park, cafe? or at his house ?

my friend's ex left when baby was two months old - ok he ahd been around for that time but after that it went to two evenings a week and one daytime session on weekend - same as for the older child but less time with the baby due to feeding etc. as baby has grown - is now 3 - she has just started overnights with dad. the dad/child relationship seems fine.

from two months there was three times a week contact - and older child would stay with dad for lot longer than the baby - til now when baby is older and they on same schedule.

mamas12 · 24/03/2010 19:30

Aw i really feel for you.
This will need careful planning and I hope understanding from your ex.
Not only will you not want him in your house but you also have to think about the possibility of your dd becoming jealous of baby because dad now comes to house see baby but not her.
Tread carefully.
I suggest he sees baby while dd not there for a few times and then build it in for dd to 'introduce her baby brother/sister to him .
Do it at your mums or somewhere neutral like that maybe?
Most of all think of yourself because you are the one in the end who has to live with the children and the consequences.

Primroselady · 24/03/2010 22:20

Understand completely how you feel as have a fulltime job too, so is a constant battle to see enough of my DS. To cut a long story very short I am building up to XP collecting DS from school on Friday and dropping back via a third person on a Sunday evening on alternate weekends and half the school holidays. He demands more and more but I feel like I will never see DS otherwise.

can you get someone else to do handovers so you dont get so stressed. I have to use contact centre or other people due to history of harrassment from him and when I dont see at all, it is much less stressful. I would play it by ear with the baby and wait and see if he shows any interest before making decision.

lookingahead · 24/03/2010 22:21

thanks for all of your replies and suggestions. I think one thing is loud and clear from everyone ... and that is that i really need to think about what's best for me and DD in terms of him being (or not being) around the house. I hadn't thought about DD becoming jealous of his relationship with the baby. So many horrible things to consider and all his doing (why am I even taking him into account ? Actually I'm not - its more about wanting DS to know who his father is and have some sort of relationship with him even tho it was never what I planned when 'we' (!) started TTC.)

Messymissy -My issue with once a week for H seeing DD now is that I don't want to feel obligated to stay in the house and not go away for the weekend if I want to take DD away. I work all week and do not want to get into a kind of 'Ok You see her every weekend but I'll let you know if I want to go away one weekend' situation' as a) I can see him getting p*ssed off if I want to do something 1 weekend and don't want to have to OK it with him and b) Him leaving us has meant that I want / need to build a life away from him and I can't do that If I have the thought of him hanging over my head all week - I still hate it when I have to see him however brief it is. - plus he would then not have her overnight which I think he would miss too.(gives me a night off as well)

Thanks also for your suggestions about how to handle the situation when DS comes along. I have a couple of months to think about it and it's really interesting to hear other's opinions. thanks..

OP posts:
mamas12 · 24/03/2010 22:43

Hey I'm not saying jealousy might rear it's ugly head but it is a common thing after new baby.
I used to always say that the baby love dd and how baby couldn't do that , only a baby not like big dd blah you get the picture.

Glad you're thinking about it now and you're right. You decide what you are able to cope with and them take it to him. If he 'a reasonable man (and with memories of how it was the first time)he will see that you need to come first with newborn.
Are you having family to stay to help with all this. i.e. be at the door when you're upstairs etc.

lookingahead · 25/03/2010 09:22

Ha! I have made the mistake too often of thinking of him as the 'reasonable man'I used to be with - How come they can change so much from being the person you fell in love with to the w*nkers that they are now ?! (ok well not all of them but too many by the looks of things on MN).
It seems he is only able to think of one person right now..., and it's not me! Him pushing for more contact with DD I suspect is nothing to do with DDs welfare - more about relieving his guilt. Anyway....

Sorry messymissy I meant to ask you .. do you identify with the feelings / fears I have about doing the every weekend thing >? If so how do you deal with it ?

OP posts:
cestlavielife · 25/03/2010 09:46

i had exP having contact every eweekend - one weeknd with eldest (he has SN) one with the 2 dds. it was a nitemare and i could not orgainize anything. at least now is every other weekend so i can plan weekends away etc for the other weekend - or just know i dont have to negotiate or take into account his timings.

lookingahead · 25/03/2010 10:35

Cestlavie that's exactly my feeling - the less contact and negociating I have to have with him the better..Because H was the one to leave (and effectively had already shipped out of the marriage) he sees no problem in all the negociating and contact as has much less of an emotional attachment - so all he can see is me stopping him seeing DS... which is not the case - its just self preservation and creating a life away from him (as he is) for my little family!

OP posts:
munchkinland · 25/03/2010 18:45

Hey lookingahead, sorry to hear you are getting stressed about this and obviously every situation is different, but I thought I would share my experience with you.

I split with my ex quite amicably (we had just grown apart etc) then 4 weeks later found out I was 10 weeks pregnant!!

We talked and I decided that I didn't want to try to make the relationship work - It hadn't been working for a couple of years and I didn't see that it could last a lifetime, so thought it better to end then and there than disrupt our child's life 5-10 years down the line which is inevitably what would've happened.

Due to the same reasons you mention, I stayed in the house for the first 6 months of DD's life (It obviously helped that we got on OK, and that I was in the spare room)
I then moved out and we had a solid co-parenting schedule worked out. Neither of us wanted to go a whole week without seeing DD and as both worked full time also both wanted some time at weekends. We worked out that he would have her on Thursday nights (collecting her from nursery and dropping her back there on Friday am) and then I would drop DD to him on Sundays and collect her from nursery on Monday after work.

She is now 5 and we still have the same set up. DD is very well loved by both parents (and step parents) X and I are still lucky enough to communicate well, and both are understanding to holiday's bank holidays etc.

I can't say that it has all been plain sailing and there have been some disagreements WRT some major decisions(school, bedtimes etc.) But I have to respect that he is her Dad as much as I am her Mum and she ultimately is happy and safe.
(I remember her remarking to me in a surprised way that one her friends at nursery only had one house and she lived there with her Mum and her Dad!!)

I do wish you luck and am happy to answer any questions.
I do understand that I was in a very privalleged position to have an amicable(ish) split and to have an X who is and wants to be a good Dad, and that lots of people don't have that, but my advice (for what it's worth) would be to try to be as amicable as possible, it helps in the long run.

cakenomore · 25/03/2010 20:52

i made the mistake of spending too much time around ex with baby and 3yrold.
when baby born was exhassted, saw way too much of him, too easily done as chance to have cup of tea ect.

we got on ok but things gradualy got worse and worse. 15 months after split he decided that actually he did love me and has made life absolute hell. 2 yrs on and its a mess.

3yrold used to stay over on own but baby wanted to b involved too when got older. has just started staying overnight too (now 18mths).

i wonder if i hadnt let him so much into my life and home when baby was little, would things not be so bad now.

just a word of caution as it got so bad 4 me. good luck i know what a difficult situation xxx

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