coparenting

‘I can’t introduce you to my kids until I know. They’ll attach to you, and I can’t break their hearts.’: Girlfriend nervous it’s ‘too soon’ to meet boyfriend’s kids, feels anxious to not ‘replace’ mom

“While I waited, my mind raced. Did their mom know I was spending the weekend with them? Do I hug them? I was suddenly anxious. I heard the door open. ‘Natalie,’ Kevin called, ‘Come up here.’ I breathed in deeply and felt jitters. I wanted these boys to not feel awkward. I knew I wasn’t their mom, and I would never think I’m replacing her.”

‘I couldn’t get hold of my husband. ‘That’s odd? I just had a baby.’ My instinct urged me to check his Facebook. Tears filled my eyes. There they were. Messages between him and girl.’ Woman escapes abusive relationship, marries ‘incredible man’

“He told her where to pick him up, where to meet. Most times were in the middle of the night when I laid pregnant and asleep. I suddenly remembered that rumor at work. Was it true? He walked in nonchalantly. ‘Are you having an affair?’ I should’ve known he was lying because of how calm he was. He was NEVER calm. ‘Of course not. I love you!’ I showed him the messages.”

‘He finished his email with one question. ‘Do you want to meet?’ I was taken aback. I went 17 years knowing absolutely NOTHING about him. ‘Yes,’ I replied. I had a gut-wrenching feeling.’

“When I was in high school, I started getting sick. I needed my full health history. My parents called my birth mom. ‘Can you get in contact with Hannah’s birth father? We need this information.’ I remember sitting in the kitchen watching my adoptive dad call my birth dad. HOLY CRAP!”

‘I choked out, ‘So, their dad and I are no longer living together.’ 8 months into fostering two of the girls, and 2 months after saying ‘yes!’ to adopting, my children’s father and I separated.’

“We had 5 kids and had just celebrated 6 years of marriage. Our entire life crashed, the walls built with facades and fantasies. I was secretly dying inside. It was silent, painful. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be taking family photos without a husband, my children’s father.”

‘My birthmother went into labor. Her secret would soon be out. Lying on the floor, she called her sister in pain. ‘What’s wrong?,’ she frantically asked. ‘My baby is coming. I need the hospital.’

“My birthmother graduated 5 months pregnant, lived at home with her parents and even shared a room with her older sister. But still, no one knew about about me. She hid her growing bump. Her parents were on a trip when the drama began. ‘I can’t keep her. She’s not mine.’ she told the nurse.”

‘I knew our marriage was over. He began feeling the weight of not being true to himself as a gay man. We were now entering uncharted territory – co-parenting.’

“I got off the phone devastated. Bawling. I felt like a failure. Losing a partnership like that, a friendship, felt like death. I began to picture all the holidays – separated as a family, and the awkward meet ups to switch the kids on our given days. I pictured being cold and disrespectful to other. It was the most painful things I could imagine.”

‘He had filed for divorce without my knowledge, and was granted full custody. Everything was chaos. It was my worst nightmare. I had to drop my 18-month-old daughter off with strangers.’

“I remember panic started to set in. Time went by, and no one showed up. Finally someone answered his phone. My knees buckled. I dropped to the ground. They weren’t coming. They wouldn’t tell me where she was. My daughter cried in the background. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know if I would ever see her again.”

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