Life before I broke.
In 2008 I met a man. For the purpose of this blog he shall be called Lee. We moved in together and very quickly I became pregnant. This wasn’t planned but we were both thrilled to know we were to become parents. I am ashamed to say I hadn’t known Lee for very long but at the time we were happy and things were going to work out just fine. Or so I thought.
We lived on a farm in the south of England. Lee worked the farm and he worked hard. As our baby grew in my belly we attended scans and appointments together and to start with he was supportive. That didn’t last long.
At 34 weeks pregnant I had a 4D scan. It was amazing. I could see our little baby, a girl we now knew, in so much detail. An experience to be treasured. Sadly an experience I treasured alone as lee was not interested in joining me to see our daughter one last time before she arrived into the world.
At 36 weeks pregnant we moved to a lovely new bungalow on the other side of the farm. It was beautiful. My little girl would have her own room with views across the fields and plenty of space to grow. This move wasn’t easy though and looking back alarm bells should have started ringing.
I moved the entire contents of the house from our little flat above the buttery to the beautiful bungalow in the fields. Me, I moved it all, alone. A heavily pregnant woman left to lift everything because Lee chose to tend to the farm all day long and demanded that it had to be done that day. But I did it and we made the move.
40 weeks pregnant and now 3 days overdue I’m alone again. Lee has gone for job interview 200 miles away. I begged him not to go. Terrified that baby would arrive without him there. I didn’t want to move from our lovely bungalow and certainly not 200 miles away from my friends and family, but Lee made it perfectly clear that I didn’t have a say in the matter. He returned from the interview and baby arrived a week later.
The birth was traumatic. I had to have an operation a year later to correct complications that happened during birthing. Lee was as unsupportive as ever. He may as well not have been there. I was kept in hospital for 4 days. It was worth it. My baby girl was perfect. The moment she was born I fell instantly in love with her. From that moment she became my reason for being, my world.
Lee took the job up north and with a 4 week old baby we said good bye to friends and family and made the move. As soon as we arrived at our new home before the sun went down on that first night, Lee went out to work. I was again alone. This time sat in a cold damp farm house surrounded by unpacked boxes and my 4 week old baby. This farm was mile away from any sort of shops or other houses. I was terrified, isolated and lonely. A new mum with no one to turn to.
We made it work for a year. Slowly we turned the damp cold house into our home and begun to make a few local friends but Lee showed very little interest in being a father and at times I felt like a single parent already.
He begun to go to the pub and started to stay out, I knew then that we wouldn’t last much longer. I arranged to have relationship counselling. I wanted to give my little girl a chance of having 2 parents to bring her up but It wasn’t to be. Lee had already met someone new.
He asked me to move out as the cottage came with his job so I was the one that had to go. It took 3 months to get the money together and move into a new place with my baby. I felt lonely living so far from my family but decided to stay local so that our daughter could still see her father.
My new flat was just a 15 minute drive from the farm. My little one had her own room, It was close to town, I thought we could have been ok there and I made it very clear that Lee was welcome to come and see his daughter any time he wanted. He never did. For 5 months I offered for him to see his daughter or take her for the day and for 5 months he let her down. One Sunday he had arranged to pick her up but cancelled at the last minute saying he had to work. I found out a week later that he was at a horse show that day with his girlfriend. That was the final straw for me. Why was I staying 200 miles away from my friends and family when he wasn’t even interested in seeing his child? It was time to move again.
It wasn’t until I moved back down south that I began to realise how controlling Lee had been. Everything was his way or no way. Slowly he had crushed the person I used to be an I hadn’t even realised it. It hit me hard after I moved. I was a single parent.
The agreement Lee and I made was that every other weekend I would drive up to him and every other weekend he would drive down to me so that he would have contact with his daughter. The week after I moved away I drove the 200 miles back up north so my little girl could see her daddy. I invited his new girlfriend to join the 3 of us for lunch so I could get to know her as after all It was becoming apparent that she would be in my daughter life too so I wanted to know who this woman was. The meeting went well. It was hard, and I hated every second of it but it wasn’t about me. It was about trying to get my daughter to maintain a relationship with her father. A fortnight after that first visit Lee and his girlfriend were meant to make the trip down south. They never came.
My beautiful baby girl was now 2. We lived in a lovely 2 bed flat not far from family and I thought that finally things would start to get a little easier. Wrong again.
I had no help from my parents. I was truly alone. Struggling to bring up a child and not getting a moments brake. She was a very demanding child, I am convinced she has adhd and currently I’m trying to get her assessed (more about that later). I was exhausted, physically and mentally drained. I couldn’t get my head around being a single mother with no support, trying to find work and balancing finances. I struggled for another 2 and a half years in silence.
Looking back, those years were so special. I spent every waking moment with my precious little girl. We did so much together. I was a good mum. She wanted for nothing. I took her to swimming lessons, dance class, cooked healthy meals every day and read a story every night before bed.
Occasionally I would message Lee and his family with updates and encourage them to visit. Once he came. Once!
I met a woman and we begun a relationship. Up until this point I didn’t realise I felt that way towards women. This started a whole new whirlwind of emotion. I was Gay!! A single mum struggling to cope and then the realisation that I was gay left me feeling confused and even more alone than ever.
When my daughter was 4 years and 9 months I finally cracked. I couldn’t take any more. I was broken. I reached out for help but no one was there. No one to turn to and no one to save us. I had no choice but to ask Lee to collect our daughter for her own safety. I was having a break down and It got worse before it got better…….