Friday, 30 January 2015

To the little boy growing in my belly,

I got to see you again yesterday :) but geez are you Mister Stubborn! You didn't make it easy for the nice lady to get a good look at you to make sure all your organs and body parts were OK. Sorry for all the prodding and shaking though. She even made us get up and do a crazy dance together to get you to move into a better position. Just like your big sister, you had your legs up over your head which made it very hard to see your adorable face. Although, you are very polite because even though your legs were up you kept them closed. She was still able to see that you are indeed a little boy. I didn't get any photos of you to take home this time because you didn't feel like being very photogenic, but that's OK because I'm going to arrange a photoshoot for you for a bit later on - I'll let you know about it beforehand so you can prepare and be ready for it.

Well, you have a nickname now - Mister Stubborn. It's not the most fantastic name but it does suit you.

Mummy went and bought you some outfits yesterday. I wish I knew what size you'd be, the littlest ones look too little and the next size up looks too big! But they are all very cute.

Your sister was being a ratbag last night and wouldn't go to sleep, so Mummy is very tired today. You probably heard her being silly. Fingers crossed you will be a good sleeper so I don't have to deal with you both at the same time :-)

Love you lots and I'll write again soon,
Mummy xx

Sunday, 25 January 2015

How did you realise you were pregnant? Did you have any signs or inklings before you tested? Or did you know because your period was late?

When I fell pregnant with L, I thought there might be a slight possibility considering we took no precautions, but I wasn't going to gets my hopes up. It wasn't until I started eating cookies and cream icecream with sour cream and onion Pringles mixed in that I thought "hey, this is a bit bizarre!" and decided I would test before my period was due. Positive! And so were the next 2 tests.

With this pregnancy, I had absolutely no idea earlier on. We were sometimes using protection but not having a lot of sex anyway, because lets face it, I was tired and not getting much emotional support from G to even think about having that intimate, physical contact. I knew when I was ovulating (or I thought I did) and had sex without wanting to, basically pressured into it. It didn't even cross my mind for a second that we'd created a baby. It wasn't until my period was 4 days late, which was also the day G kicked me out and ended our relationship, that I got my Dad to drive me to the chemist to get a test. Luckily I grabbed a box of 2, because the first one that night didn't work. The next day I did the other one, this time collecting my wee in a container and the great thing about a digital test is no guessing if you can actually see a second line or if it's just your eyes playing tricks. When that test showed Pregnant 3+ I was shocked. By then, I expected it as I'm never late, but I still couldn't believe it. Why? Why now? How? What!? I took the test out to my Mum and I couldn't speak. She could tell by the look on my face, but asked anyway and I just showed her. I mean, if I wasn't pregnant I would have just come out and said "nope" and continued on with my day.

I couldn't get excited. I couldn't share the news with G and be overjoyed together like the first time. I felt sad for L. I wanted to give her all my love and undivided attention for her first 3 years at least. How on earth was I going to look after two under the age of two when I can hardly manage to look after myself? I rang my Dad and told him and he was excited, another little grandchild for him to dote on. I know once the baby arrives he is going to be a tremendous help, as he was and still is with L.

Then when I thought about it, I was eating a lot of chocolate. And I mean a LOT. I do like a bit of chocolate every now and then, perhaps a Snickers bar or a Tim Tam, but this was eating those Cadbury Marvellous Creations by the block. It didn't click though, because chocolate isn't odd in itself and those Marvellous Creations are quite delicious with the little jelly bits and the popping candy that still pops in the back of your throat. I can't eat it now though. There's a block in the cupboard and I'm not even interested. Now I inhale salt and vinegar chips or silverside and cucumber sandwiches.

When did you suspect you were pregnant? How did you feel when you found out? What bizarre things did you find yourself eating?

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Time for some updates:

Not much to report on the little man. I can feel him fluttering heaps today, like bubbles in my belly. It really is the strangest feeling. We are halfway there too! 20 weeks today, which apparently makes him the size of a banana. I haven't given him a nickname yet. L was always Jellybean to me (G was not on board) but when she was born he started calling her Spud (and to be honest, her head does look like a potato).
I have the morphology scan next week so will finally get some proper measurements and see how he is going. Then after that will be the Glucose Test which I think is probably pointless for me anyway.

As for L... She is 15 months old! Full of personality. I have no idea how much she weighs or how tall she is. Funny how I started out wanting to keep a record of these things each month and how quickly that all went out the window! She still only has 2 tiny bottom teeth but I'm pretty sure the top ones are on their way (c'mon teeth!) Crawling around everywhere and is starting to work out what her legs are for, although no standing or walking yet. She loves to open drawers and cupboards and has discovered the toilet bowl. She definitely loves music and reading. She can blow bubbles with her mouth, make raspberry sounds and do crazy things with her tongue. She's a good little eater and has mastered feeding herself chicken, sausage, steak, sandwiches (Vegemite is her favourite), but have not yet trusted her with a spoon. She also loves cucumber, tomato, sultanas and prunes!

She doesn't really say that many words except the usual Mum/Mumma, Dad/Dadda & Nanna, but there is a lot of babbling and she will point to something that she wants and shoos away what she doesn't want. She will point or touch her/our ears and nose when we ask where they are, or her rocks or the butterflies that are on the wall outside. If you asked where the baby is, she lifts up my top and touches my belly. If you ask for a kiss she'll turn her head and offer you her lips. She can be a little bit cuddly, but not very often - she likes to move around more than sit still. She's been a very good sleeper since 6 months, with only the occasional wake up during the night (which is probably due to teething). We're down to one nap during the day, two if we're lucky and 3 bottles of half formula and half milk. Although she likes her food, I'm not sure she's eating as much as she should so keeping her on the formula makes me feel a bit better. I go by her mood anyway, if she's getting grizzly but won't have a nap, a bottle usually does the trick and she's happy to play again. Lunch and tea I try to keep at the same time every day and breakfast is generally just after whatever time she wakes up. She's in a good routine that she's made herself and I just follow her cues. I'm hoping the next time around works out a similar way, now that I'm a bit wiser!

I had my initial mediation interview a couple of weeks ago and that went well. Now just waiting to hear about when the next appointment will be, where we'll hopefully come to some visitation agreement. Although I'm not very happy about the fact that it won't be legally binding and I think he'll end up taking me to court anyway.

So, that's where we're at for now.
Because I had an emergency c section with L, I have the option of an elective this time. Which means I have to decide what I want to do and brings up all these different feelings.

As you know, I'm a very sentimental and emotional person. I know there's no right or wrong way for a baby to be brought into the world, it's either the vagina or the belly and it depends on the health and safety of both the mother and baby. I didn't even think of a caesarean when pregnant with L and I had no birth plan so as not to be too disappointed if I said I want this or that and it didn't work out that way. Luckily. I didn't even get a chance to pack a hospital bag! I knew I wanted an epidural and that's about as far as I got thinking about the birth.

I could easily have a caesarean this time and even be awake for it. Then both my children would be born a similar way which would hopefully eliminate any guilt I may feel. That would be the easy option. But then recovery time is slower and I wouldn't be able to pick L up for 6 weeks which would be incredibly difficult for her to understand. We'll be moving house around the same time too, so I'll be useless for that (even more so than I usually am!)

I think I should give VBAC a go, so I can at least experience contractions and my water breaking and all that jazz. It may result in a caesarean anyway, but at least I tried. I know it's going to bring up a lot of emotional things for me, like not having G in the room for the birth, not being given the chance to have L naturally. I honestly don't know which option is going to be better for me emotionally and mentally. I guess I will wait until a bit further along to decide, after I've had more appointments and scans. They may find out something about my placenta or baby which will make the decision for me (I don't know if that will make me feel better or not!)

On another note, we just went through the box of newborn clothes and one of the advantages of not finding out L's gender until she way born means lots of tiny, unworn, gender neutral outfits for baby boy :)

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A lot of things remind me of you - not just when I look at our daughter or my ever-expanding belly.

When I go to bed at night and put my phone on charge, I remember you having so much trouble trying to get that little flappy bit open on your phone and sheepishly asking me to do it.

I can't listen to Twinkle Twinkle or Rockabye Your Bear without my eyes tearing up. I loved listening to you play and sing to L.

I think of the way you pronounce certain words and how I would laugh and make fun of you (in a good way).

My heart thumps wildly every time I see a bright blue car. I miss sitting in the passenger seat and holding your hand as we drive along.

I can barely listen to any music. Every song makes me think of you in some way.

I never ate an enchilada until I met you. I loved making Mexican lasagne for you. Even a chicken wrap from McDonalds makes me think of you as I ate so many of them on our way home from visiting L in hospital. Wok in a Box on a Sunday while I was pregnant, we'd leave your parents house, get it and drop in to see my Mum before heading home.

The smell of a clean man. You always smelled delicious.

How long will it take before I stop missing you? It hurts so much. I wish you could be out of my life forever but unfortunately that's not a possibility.
I hope it's worth missing out on all this awesomeness #selfishman

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

I'm tired of people saying/thinking that I'm cruel and selfish for not allowing L to see her Dad. That I am punishing her in some way. I know she's clever, but she's still only a baby - she's happy and healthy and around people constantly who love her. When she is older, she will be told the truth. But the fact is, I have not stopped G from seeing her, just taking her. He can see her here at her house and spend time with her where she is comfortable. I'm not around as I don't wish to see him, but my Mum is as this is her house. She stays out of the way but still keeps an ear out for what's going on. She will even offer him a coffee.

He's visited her 3 times in the 3 months we've been separated, for a total of 2 hours. He's asked on 3 other occasions - once, I set a day and time and he agreed and then on the day asked if it could be at his place instead. When I said no, it was to be here as previously arranged, he declined. The next time was after he threatened mediation and publicly scoffed about getting to see L in a place he wasn't comfortable and being supervised and how that would all change soon. I told him since he'd initiated it, he could wait until after mediation to see her. I mean, isn't that what it's for? The third time, he asked to take her to a first birthday party and I was insulted on L's behalf and said no.

In the beginning, he said he would contact me everyday and ask to see her. Well he hasn't done that. Another day, he wasn't working (which I didn't know) but was coming over to see her and would let me know what time. He spent the day babysitting his friend's kids, before finally deciding to come and spend time with his daughter.

I'm trying to keep L safe and protected. G wants to be in control of everything and call the shots, just like when we were together and I'm not going to let that happen. I've seen things and I know things and I don't trust him or his son. And now he has a girlfriend with 5 kids of her own. His son has driven cars over L's head when she was very little thinking no one was watching him, made comments about putting his finger in the soft spot of her head and killing her, bitten an adult and not been told off. I'm not sending my daughter somewhere where I don't feel she'll be safe. That wouldn't make me a good mother. I'm also not his ex, who will just let him have their son whenever because she can't deal with him or has something to go to.

I know Dads have rights, but those rights should be based on circumstances. At the moment, a man still has a right to see his children regardless of if he is paying child support or not. Regardless of if he kicked the mother and children out despite them having nowhere to go. Regardless of if he didn't show interest in them when they were living with together. How is that fair? If a mother moved out and left her kids or kicked the father and kids out, she would most likely be seen as a bad mother who didn't deserve her children.

G called himself a single Dad when I met him. I'm sorry, but that to me that implies he had custody of his son. He was actually a single man who had a son who he looked after some weekends or maybe for a week on special occasions. What I would basically call a glorified babysitter. I originally fell in love with the fact that he could take care of a little person, but it wasn't until I had L that I started to notice things. His son had no rules and there was no discipline. I understood that it was difficult to set rules when he was only there for a couple of days and then would go back to his Mum's where there were none - no set bedtime or teatime etc - but felt like he should speak to his ex and sort something out to make it easier. Instead, he would let him go to bed whenever he wanted, play around while eating food, jump on the furniture, wipe his dirty hands on the furniture.... Sometimes he would say something but not often enough to let him know that he was serious. Then would buy him a toy even if he hadn't been good enough to deserve it. This went against how I wanted to raise L. As a baby, she needed more toys as she started to learn new skills, so every few months I bought her something. Now she has to wait until her birthday or Christmas. I don't want her to grow up expecting something every time we go to the shop. I was also told you can't have nice furniture when you have kids. Bullshit! What happens when you take your kids to visit someone who doesn't have children? I want to teach L respect so that I can take her out and not have to apologise for her jumping on the lounge with shoes on or spilling food everywhere. They will also have to follow rules at school too and listen to someone who isn't their Mum or Dad. The earlier they learn respect for other people and things, the better. They can't always have their own way.

L is in some sort of routine that she set herself. She either has one or two naps, depending on when she wakes up in the morning and how she's travelling throughout the day. If she hasn't had the second nap by a certain time, then we skip it as then it's harder to get her to sleep at bedtime. Her first teatime is around 5 or 5:30 and then she eats tea with us again at around 6:30. She has 3 bottles of half formula and half milk - one in the morning a bit after breakfast, one in the afternoon and one before bed. I've tried dropping one but she's not ready yet. After tea, she then has play time until 7:30/8:00 and then she has a bath. The time depends on if she skipped the afternoon nap or how long she slept for. Then she has a bottle and goes to bed, or if I can see she's not quite ready, I let her play for a little bit until I see her tired signs. On the VERY RARE occasion, she may still be awake at 10pm - usually because something is bugging her, but most often she is asleep by 9.

Of course no two days are ever the same and we plan outings around nap times. If I know we'll be going for a long drive, I make it for around the time she should have a nap, knowing she will sleep in the car and won't be grumpy during whatever we're doing.

My point is, if this loose routine is not followed, everything snowballs. If her second naptime is too late, then her bedtime will be much later. Then she may wake up again in the middle of the night. Or she may keep on sleeping past teatime and well into the night, all ready to be up and play at 3am! This doesn't affect just one day, it could throw off the next few days or even a week. G never followed the routine when we were together, so I highly doubt he'll follow it now and this worries me. He'll do things his way and I'll get back a baby who is out of sorts and have to try and get back to normal, only for it to happen again next time. I've heard of this happening even with older children - a weekend spent with their Dad who has no rules, they get spoilt and are naughty and rude when they are returned to their Mum. After only 2 days! I don't want him buying toys for her every weekend, for them only to be left at his house. I think that's very unfair to a little child. Or for him to be seen as the fun parent and me as the mean one. I know there's really not much I can do about it and it really, really worries me. This is not the life I want for her! He's also already stated to me several times that he can't spend too much time with her when his son is around as he wants the attention. We never really felt like a family on the weekends when we were together - it was him and his son doing what they liked. If we were going out somewhere, he would make sure they were both ready and then play until I was ready and had L ready (which wasn't always quick and easy). I would have to give her a bottle before we left, make sure I had her nappy bag packed etc and get ready myself while keeping her entertained. A little help would have been nice! But mostly they would go out by themselves - "oh we're going to blah blah, you can come if you want". I know he only got to see his son on the weekend, but it was no longer just the two of them, he had a family. I should have been included in the decision making. There were times when they didn't even come home for tea, or G wouldn't if he was dropping his son off. It was nearly as if L and I didn't exist on those weekends, or only when it suited him.

So under these circumstances, I'm not punishing my daughter by not allowing her Dad to spend time alone with her. I'm not a cruel, nasty, heartless person. I am just looking out for her safety and wellbeing. She will always be my number one priority.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

To the little life growing in my belly,

Hi baby! I'm your Mummy. You are 18 weeks and 1 day old today and I've seen pictures of you 3 times already. The last time I saw you, you were flipping around and looked like you were singing. You also posed in your sleeping position exactly like your big sister does. You already look a lot like her. And guess what? I was told you are a boy! Mummy hasn't gone and bought you any blue things yet, just in case you decide to change your mind. I promise I won't be too upset if the next time I see you you're now a girl. These things happen and the people taking your pictures get it wrong.

I'm very sorry Mummy and Daddy aren't together anymore. He doesn't even know about you yet. I had a feeling you were in there and I let Daddy know of the possibility. I only found out for certain the day after we came to live with your Nanna. It was definitely a shock! But we know you've come into our lives for a reason and you're already very much loved and wanted. Daddy may not even believe you are his just like he didn't believe your sister was either. But we know the truth baby boy and that's all that really matters. He may have hurt Mummy but I will not let him hurt you or your big sister.

I hope you're OK in there despite all the stress that Mummy is going through. All the tests have said you are doing great, which eases my mind a little. I'm still very scared though. Your sister arrived earlier than expected and my fingers are crossed that you don't decide to do the same. That would freak Mummy out! She isn't walking yet, but I'm sure she will be by the time you meet her. You'll be very close in age and I hope you grow up being the best of friends.

I felt you flutter for the first time yesterday. You do it when your sister is laying on me having her bottle, it's like you know she's there and you want her to know you're there too.

I will see you again in 2 weeks little man, so keep growing and stay happy in there.

Love you so much already,

Saturday, 10 January 2015

What I forgot to say in this post, it also sucks when something is so broken that it cannot be fixed. I can't forgive him and I can't forget him. I can't even make him understand. He can get nasty and he can threaten and call me selfish, like he cannot be blamed in any way for what has happened. He will tell people his lies and make his posts on how cruel I am for not allowing brother and sister, father and daughter to spend time alone together, to gain sympathy from outsiders who aren't even a part of it. I'm not telling my story for sympathy or to get people on my side, but I hope it might help others in a similar situation to know that they're not alone.

If he turned around tomorrow and said he was sorry and he still loved me, there's no going back even if I wanted to. Maybe if it was only a week afterwards there might have been a chance, with a lot of counselling. But I've been through the upset stage where I've cried and cried over what's been lost and now I'm stuck in the angry stage. I've had time to think back over everything that he said and everything that he did, everything I was willing to give up and everything that is happening now and I'm angry that he could do this to us. I could probably handle it if it was just me, but it's not just me anymore, there's a little girl that doesn't deserve this and another life on the way that he didn't stick around to find out about.

Emotional abuse is real. It's also harder for others to be aware that it is happening. There are no bruised faces or battered bodies or cuts to show evidence. No one can see inside your brain or your heart where the damage is being done. Even you yourself may not want to even acknowledge it. I read the articles, I called the RESPECT support line and all the evidence was there and it was confirmed but a part of me didn't want to accept it. How could the man I thought I knew be someone who I didn't really know at all? What had I done wrong to make him "change"? Even now I still question myself - if only I had done this, said that, etc then maybe we'd still be together. I shouldn't have gone shopping that day with my Mum. I should have answered when he rang. I should have just agreed with whatever he suggested for L's birthday party even if it wasn't what I wanted. But it wouldn't have mattered, there would always be another thing for him to get me down about, another way I was hurting his feelings or something I wasn't doing right.

I can't blame myself though. It's not my fault.

The following is some information from a website, which is an excerpt from a book called "Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft:

An idyllic opening is part of almost every abusive relationship. There are many ways in which the glowing beginning of a relationship with an abusive man can serve to entrap the woman. She has a hard time letting go of her own dream; she thought she had found a wonderful man. She can't help wondering if she did something wrong or has some great personal deficit that ended the idyllic beginning, so she tries to find the key problem inside herself.

Does an abusive man deliberately plan to become abusive when beginning a relationship?

The differences between a woman falling in love and an abusive man falling in love are as follows:
She is looking for an equal partner to love and be loved by. 
He is dreaming of having a woman who meets all his needs, is beautiful at all times of the day and night, has no needs of her own. He desires a woman who will cater to him and never complain about anything he does or darken his day with frustrations or unhappiness about her own life. Although abuse of a woman is not his goal, control certainly is. He then finds himself abusing again to gain the control he feels he has the right to.

I learned to just say I was OK and had a good day and that L was good too, because anything else was just ignored or got a smart comment. If I said I was tired, apparently I was ALWAYS tired but that was part of being a Mum. So when I mentioned it should also be part of being a Dad, I got a lecture when he got home for making him feel like shit while he was at work. How was it acceptable for me to feel like shit all the time because of things he said to me, but I wasn't allowed to make a comment in case it offended him? If I mentioned L had done something new it was met with the reply "babies do that". I know this was his second child, but even if it was his tenth, he could have at least shown some interest in her new abilities. Instead he compared her to his son at that age or his baby niece who already had 5 teeth while L still had none. Insinuating she was behind, or slow because she wasn't crawling. He seemed to ignore the fact that L was chewing through steak or chicken, usually feeding herself, while his niece was eating purees. It bugged me when he'd tell me that his niece was doing this or that now, how he'd show enthusiasm for her but not his own daughter. I always felt like commenting "yeah, babies do that" but I held my tongue.

He speaks disrespectfully about his former partners.

Very early on he told me about his ex and how she treated him and their son. She sounded like a horrible person (and from what I now know personally, I still think she is). He painted himself as the victim of abuse and I naturally felt sorry for him. I said that I'd hate it if he ever spoke about me the way he speaks about her and he told me I was nothing like her, that I could never be like her because I have a caring soul. He told me this right up until he kicked me out.

He does favours you don't want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable.

For Christmas, he gave me an expensive necklace. His reasoning being he felt bad because my birthday present had been a breast pump (which is what I needed and actually asked for). The necklace was gorgeous, but he couldn't afford the mortgage repayments and this would have been enough to cover a month. It made my Mum feel sick. I explained to him that whilst it was beautiful and thoughtful, the money could have been put to better use and all he could say was "fine I'll sell it then".

He is self-centred.

I think this has already been explained.

Nothing is ever his fault.

And it still isn't. Everything I say goes right over his head and he turns it around to make me out to be the bad person. I had a message from him the other day asking to take L to a first birthday party. It would be nice for her to see her family and little cousins he said. I was insulted for L.
It would have also been nice if her Dad had shown interest in HER birthday party. It would have been nice if her family had bothered to RSVP to the party invitation. He replied that I didn't give him the opportunity to see her on her birthday. Being in a relationship with him wasn't opportunity enough?

He gets too serious too quickly about the relationship.

I did too. I should have thought it was quite strange for a man, but it was like a fairytale and I'd always wanted love at first sight and a man who really, really wanted me.

He abuses drugs or alcohol.

The drinking wasn't too bad, he never got drunk around me anyway. He'd go through stages of having a few drinks after work, to not having any. It was the smoking marijuana that bothered me. He was trying to quit when we got together as he wanted to start the relationship right. I didn't care if he had the odd one here or there. He had trouble sleeping without it. Then it got to the point where he'd be doing it at work as well. Then he stopped doing it at work but would constantly be having pipes when he got home. It got to the point where I couldn't even talk to him at all. A couple of weeks before kicking me out, he told me he'd not been having any at all. He thought it was the reason why L wouldn't drink her bottles for him. I believe he quit because he needed it out of his system knowing he was kicking me out and I'd make him have a drug test before spending time alone with L. A user like him just doesn't give it up altogether and I'm certain he's still smoking it.

He pressures you for sex.

With the way he was treating me, I didn't feel like having sex with him. Plus the fact that I was tired from being up in the early hours with L. Once she went to sleep I wanted to sleep myself so would go to bed regardless of the time. Of course G was not tired enough to go to bed with me at 7:30, so he stayed up. But when he did come to bed later he would wake me up wanting to cuddle. Cuddling is fine, but not when he starts humping my leg making groaning noises and then starts trying to rub my intimate place. Excuse me dude but I was sleeping! Sometimes I would just lay there and pretend to be asleep until he gave up. Other times I would roll away and push his hand away, still pretending to sleep, hoping he'd get the hint. A couple of times I let him have what he wanted but I didn't feel anything other than very, very sad. One of those times a baby was conceived.

We'd had this discussion with the counsellor. Sex does not equal love. For most women, there needs to be a build up to the occasion, or a feeling of connection. If your head isn't in the right place, then it's likely it won't happen. You shouldn't feel the need to just have sex because they want to or it would make them happy. I told him if he just wanted to get his dick wet then he should go and stick it in someone else. In the very end, it looks like that's what he did.

Obviously your sex life is going to change during a relationship. We were at it like rabbits for the first few months. It was hot and passionate and sweet and gentle. We would hardly sleep. He would please me like nobody else ever had and now nobody else ever will. But the honeymoon period wears off and the baby comes along and the romance disappears. It doesn't mean you don't love each other though. You can show someone you love them without having sex. And you can show a woman how much more you love her by not pressuring her for it and understanding why she's not in the mood.

He treats you differently around other people.

In front of his family, he was the doting Dad and boyfriend. He would hug me, kiss me and be all lovey-dovey. He would listen to me and we'd laugh. Only my Mum and Dad knew what was going on because they were around more often. When he was lovey-dovey with me when we were alone, it felt more like an attack, like he had a right to kiss me or touch me, or watch me having a shower. His compliments were used to diffuse an argument after he'd said something nasty - "you're so beautiful when you smile" - or he'd ogle me and tell me how sexy I was. I wanted to be told I was a great Mum, that I was intelligent, a caring and kind person, a sweet girlfriend. I didn't want to be fondled while I was trying to make L a bottle, like he was distracting me from doing something I'm needed to do.

He appears to be attracted to vulnerability.

I obviously was extremely vulnerable when we met. He knew I'd just come out of a relationship and lost my job at the same time. He knew I was anxious about being 30 years old and not having a baby.

Then there were the mind games - the promise of marriage - which would get snatched away when he didn't get what he wanted, then dangled in front of me again when he wanted to butter me up for some reason.

If you feel like you are in an emotionally abusive relationship and need advice or confirmation, please call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or visit

Friday, 9 January 2015

I had another post nearly ready to go today and then this popped up in my newsfeed.

I don't like cleaning. I'll do it when I get around to it. My house is never filthy though. The bathroom may not sparkle, but so what? There may be a fine coating of dog hair along the skirting boards. A pile of papers, books, odds and ends building up on the dining table. My clothes may be scattered on the floor of the walk-in-robe and on top of the drawers instead of in them. Sometimes I look at everything and not know where to start, get a bit overwhelmed, then can't be bothered. This was even before having a baby.

When I met G, I was being made redundant. Although I didn't love my job, I was good at it. Great at it even. It's what I had done for 13 years and was sort of in a specialised area, so I couldn't get a job like that anywhere else except if I moved interstate. The thought of getting another job scared the shit out of me, having to start again from the bottom, meet new people, try to fit in. As I was pregnant, I didn't really want to start looking for work, get a job, only to have to take maternity leave after a few months. My plan was always to be a Stay At Home Mum and raise my kids.

Instead of finding another job, I used the time I had before I left work to look for a house to buy and get a loan. I was going to get a decent payout which would make a great deposit. Yes, I was basically lying to the bank about my employment but the mortgage would be paid by G even though it was just in my name. He promised he could afford it and everything would be OK. He said he would transfer money into my account every week like a wage. He wanted me to control his wallet, be in charge of paying the bills and help him save. He was hopeless with money.

Mum raised some concerns and said I could still get out of if if I wanted, take some time to find something cheaper. But then I wouldn't be able to get a loan as I wouldn't be working. I loved the house we had found - it was perfect for a family to grow up in and had room for my Dad to live with us and G's son would even have his own room, even though he only stayed with us every 2nd weekend. There was a big backyard for his trampoline and plenty of paved area to ride his bikes. I was quite upset that Mum was now telling me not to go through with it even though she was there with me when I put an offer on the house and at all my bank appointments. Why was she only bringing this up now, now that the offer had been accepted and the paperwork was signed? G saw I was upset and went to speak to my Mum - "Do not stress her out, she's carrying my child".

I told G I wouldn't make a good housewife. He didn't mind, he would do the cleaning as he actually enjoyed it. Dad and I did most of the cooking, unless G's son was there and only would eat what G made. As Dad couldn't contribute financially, he would do the vacuuming and wash the dishes. When L arrived, Dad told G that all he needed to do was go to work, make love to me and spend time with his daughter. What guy wouldn't be happy with that? G also told me that I wouldn't have to go to work until our kids were in school and even then, only if I wanted to.

I had most of L's stuff set up in the lounge room. Her blankets were on a chair next to the changetable for easy access. Her clothes were piled under the changetable. This is where she spent most of her time and she slept in our room. G would complain about the blankets - do they have to be there? Can't you put them away? It wasn't because he wanted to sit on that chair, or that they were untidy, it was because his son would stand on the chair while L was being changed and I kept telling him not to stand on her blankets. Regardless of the fact that he shouldn't be standing on furniture in the first place, especially with shoes on. Everything had to be where HE wanted, the furniture where HE wanted it to go. His pictures were on the walls and photos of his son were everywhere. It was like it wasn't even my house. With his bedroom and the back living area and big garden, there wasn't really a reason for his son to play in L's lounge area especially when she was feeding or trying to go to sleep, but all his toys managed to come down there, pushing L's play area out the way which was specifically set up so I could easily put her down without having to arrange it all first with one hand.

G's job depended on the weather. If it was raining, he couldn't work. If it was too hot, he couldn't work. There also wasn't much going over Christmas and well into the New Year. But he assured me and my family that there were other things he could do to make money. He was sub-contracting for a few different companies because he didn't enjoy working for the same people all the time. This also meant no holiday pay or any other benefits of having full time employment.

When L came home, I wanted him to be home with us to help me out and spend time bonding as a family. I knew this meant not making any money, but I still had savings to get us by and it was important to me for us to have the time together. I was only asking for a week or two, like other Dads take off when their baby comes home. Well he missed out on a lot of work and contacts and pretty soon it was the Christmas/New Year period. My savings were slowly decreasing, the money I was keeping aside to finally buy new furniture and make my house into my home. I didn't want to worry G but I was pretty scared to run out of money, I'd never been in a situation where I couldn't afford to pay bills or buy food or even something just cos I wanted it. I knew he didn't want me to use all my money and because I loved him I would still call it "our" money and I was using it for us. I was already stressed about being a new Mum and learning to cope with another child who was not mine and apparently had no say in anything to do with him (even though it affected me and my daughter - but that's another story).

Still G assured me he'd make money and everything would be OK, but never actually did anything about it. Here I was worried about the house and he was still able to spend money on his son, buying him toys for no reason on the weekend when he already had heaps of things to play with that he probably didn't remember he had. He could have tried to get one of the companies to put him on full time, regardless of how annoyed it would make him working with the same people all the time. He could have got a job as a truck driver, even if it meant spending some time away from us. He had a family to support now, not just him and his son. And no, he was not supporting my Dad too - I was responsible for that. Regardless of that fact, he kept bringing up that Dad needed to get a job or get Government benefits or something, like that was the big problem.

When I finally brought up the fact that the house would probably have to be sold, at first he told me he could afford it but couldn't reassure me how that was actually going to happen. Then he started to blame me for wanting him to stay home with us when L came home. Then he told me if I wanted this house so much I should get a job. I was devastated. How could he say that to me knowing my insecurities and anxieties? If I actually had a job to go back to, then perhaps I would have. But I didn't. I had already worked for 13 years to save money to buy this house and what had he contributed to it except a couple of months repayments and broken promises? His only other suggestion was to stay in the house until the bank kicked us out. The kick in the guts came when he told me if I sold the house then he would rent a place by himself. This was the talk of a single man who wanted less responsibility, not the talk of a family man trying to sort out where his family were going to live.

With that, ontop of everything else going on, I told him to get out. I couldn't stand to be around him anymore. I couldn't stand the thought of him being entitled to half the sale of the house if we kept living together for over a year. It took him months to get his stuff out. I needed it out to be able to get things fixed up and the real estate agent to assess it. It killed me to see him pack up his things and for my dream to be over. I would cry and tell him to stop packing, to just hold me and tell me we could do this. I could see he was sad, but not for the same reasons. He didn't give a damn that I'd lost lots of money. Mum and I tried to work out ways I could keep the house but it wasn't possible. Although I was angry and upset, I didn't want to lose G. We talked about breaking up but neither of us wanted to say the words. He thanked me for our beautiful daughter. I didn't know how we could move forward from this, but I wanted to try. He was worried about me kicking him out again and him having nowhere to go, no room for his kids when they came to stay. Having no furniture as he'd got rid of some stuff when he moved in with me. I thought he'd try harder to make sure that never happened. We went to counselling and he realised what he thought was one of the problems - he hadn't felt like the man of the house as my Dad was there. Irrespective of the fact he didn't exactly bother to act like the man of the house. He was clutching at straws, trying to blame something or someone else.

My Mum came up with an idea that she could help me build a house and if G was serious about wanting to be with me and proved it, then he could move in. Even though he didn't really like my Mum anymore, he agreed with it and I checked and double-checked with him that this is what he wanted. Rent would be so much cheaper and we'd be on our way to owning something again one day.

Then he had a falling out with my Dad over something really pathetic. That day, I really saw how angry and aggressive he could be and I was scared. This reaction from someone who told me it took a lot to make him angry and he wasn't a violent person. After everything that happened that lead me to kicking him out, my Dad had always been nothing but respectful towards him even after watching his daughter be upset by him day after day, night after night. And now G was telling me he'd lost all respect for my Dad and no longer would be able to live with him again. This broke my heart even more. I always tried to do right by everyone else, make sure they were happy regardless of my own happiness. Now I was being forced to choose between someone who cared about me and looked after me and someone who said he would but hadn't proven it. I knew I couldn't live with my Dad for the rest of my life and I had to make a choice. If I wanted my relationship to work, I had to let go of what I knew was safe and learn to trust someone who had already given me plenty of reasons not to.

I took the plunge and we found a house to rent. I kept telling him I needed to feel supported. That L and I now relied on him. That there would be some days I wouldn't get dressed or have a shower and not to make me feel bad about that. My priority was making sure L was healthy and happy. We moved in and I thought everything was going to be OK. Except for the fact that again, everything in the house was set up how he wanted, which I tried to ignore. I still didn't have a say on how the money was spent either. I cooked tea if there was something specific I felt like making, but most of the time I left the cooking up to him and I did the dishes. Even when he told me to leave them, I still did them. I didn't want him to be able to say I did nothing. Then he started to use the dishwasher, but I still did all the stuff that didn't go in there and made sure I emptied the dishwasher the next day. He also went to the effort of vacuuming and mopping the floors every week before his son came to stay, even though I thought it would be wiser to do it afterwards. The floor was never all that dirty - nothing that didn't just require a quick wipe, but would be covered in stickiness and grass after he'd been. It seemed like he was just making more work for himself.

It got to the point where he accused me of doing nothing while he did everything. Apparently I expected him to bust his balls at work and then do the same at home. Which was hardly the truth. I didn't demand he cooked, he wanted to. I would have been happy to have something easy like toast or weetbix. I didn't demand he cleaned, he wanted to as he liked to be on the move doing something. He still had time to play his guitar or video games and relax if he wished. I never stopped him doing that. My job - my most important job - was looking after L and I did that 24 hours a day. I went to bed as soon as she went to sleep, knowing I'd probably be up with her at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning and then we'd be up again not long after when G's alarm went off. My day consisted of nappy changes, feeding, playing, rocking to sleep and washing bottles. The TV was stuck on ABC2 and I hardly noticed. My only adult interaction - besides occasionally visiting my Dad - was with virtual strangers on Facebook (who I now consider virtual friends). I spent hours playing Candy Crush, not wanting to get too involved in anything that I couldn't stop in a hurry in case the baby needed me. I was no longer able to keep up with the Kardashians. While I was extremely lucky to be able to stay home and be with my daughter, I was also very lonely and didn't feel like myself anymore. I was a Mum and didn't get a day off. Yes, I did have help thanks to my Mum and Dad, but not from the person I needed it from the most.

What I want to say is to the men. Please don't make your wives/girlfriends feel guilty for staying in their pyjamas all day or not doing the washing. They're still doing a job too, they're raising your children. Just like you're tired from your job, so are they. When they're sick, they still have to get up and attend to the children so make an effort too. Occasionally get up to the baby in the middle of the night, even if she's up too. Offer to take over in the evenings even just so she can read a book or have a bath. Show her you love her. Any don't kick her out.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

It sucks how you can never really know someone. You know only what they tell you and they only tell you what they want you to know. Then as you spend more time with them, you pick up on things and start to realise that things they've said don't quite add up, or their actions speak louder than their words.

It sucks when "I love you" just becomes three words with no meaning.


I first met G when I was still with D. We were at a party where I didn't know anyone except for the guys in D's band. None of their girlfriends were there and I wasn't aware that it was going to be outside basically in the middle of nowhere. D left me by myself most of the night. I had just quit smoking and was irritable.

I watched this good looking guy who was standing not far from me. He was with a little boy who I assumed was his son. He had a can of drink in one hand and he was a smoker. I desperately wanted to ask him for a cigarette, but I looked like shit and didn't want to embarrass myself. I watched him with his little boy and thought "he's a good Dad. A man who knows how to look after someone other than himself and who obviously likes kids".

A couple of months later, he was at another party I went to with D. When he first arrived, I caught snatches of a conversation and thought "wow, he's an arrogant arsehole!" (I wish now that I had stuck to that original impression). There was a little dog running around the property which I knew didn't belong to the owners of the place we were at. It was very similar to my dog. Imagine my surprise when I found out he belonged to G. Not the breed of dog I thought a guy like him would have. As the guys got up and had an impromptu jam, I stood where I had a good view of G. Not only could he play guitar better than D, he could sing too. And he was very attractive. My body started tingling. Things weren't going well with D but I definitely wasn't looking to cheat on him or get into another relationship. We were one of the last few to leave but G and I never said a word to each other.

I added him on Facebook but there wasn't any interaction between us. No hitting of the like button on posts or photos.
Until he found out D and I were over. Then I noticed he had liked a photo of my coffee machine I was selling. I wanted to know if he was interested in buying it and that lead to some flirting about him making the best cup of coffee and me saying I'd be the judge of that.

I had signed up to a dating site, just to see what type of guys were out there and which ones would be interested in me. I had posted about this on Facebook, not mentioning my username though. That night, I got a message on the dating site from G! My heart starting beating really fast. I didn't have a profile photo, so I assumed he didn't know it was me. I wrote back saying "this is freaky, but you sort of know me. You offered to make me the perfect cup of coffee!" I waited and waited for a reply but didn't get one. Oh well.

I received a reply when I woke up. Yes, he knew it was me. He had used info from Facebook like what I'd been cooking and what music I liked to find me. It had taken him a while. And he had really wanted to reply straight away but had to wait until his son was asleep.

This lead to the exchanging of numbers and long, late night texts getting to know each other. Even though he had to get up really early for work, he assured me that he could survive on very little sleep. (Funny how that changes when a baby comes along).
I was falling in love. This guy had taken the time to seek me out on a dating site, which showed interest, and he knew all the right things to say. I once joked that he must have a little book of lines that he referred to. He told me he was very honest and wouldn't keep anything from me. (All through the relationship he kept saying how honest he was and in my opinion, truly honest people don't keep going on about it).

It was around the same time that people were slowly beginning to leave my department due to the redundancies and every Friday night we were going out for drinks. Thinking that I was going to have a big night, I booked a hotel room for that coming Friday (before G had even contacted me). I decided to invite him to the drinks. Then I decided that I needed to meet up with him before that, I couldn't wait. I was so nervous and told him I'd probably just state at him and drool. He came over to my place and I made him dinner, then we went to my room to talk. When we kissed, it was the best kiss of my life.

We went out for drinks that Friday and he was going to stay with me in the hotel room. I had told the reception desk that he would be coming by for the second room key so he could go to the room and drop off his stuff before meeting me. When we got back there, I saw he had bought me beautiful flowers and had his acoustic guitar to serenade me. Yes, we did have sex that night. The intercourse wasn't as fantasic as the foreplay.

The next day, he drove me home. I was very happy and couldn't wait to see him again. My Dad warned me not to get involved with a man who had already been married (legally still was) and who had a child. This wasn't something I had originally wanted either, but you can't help who you fall in love with and he deserved a chance. G was worried that it was something that might have made me turn him down, but the fact that he wanted more kids kind of sealed the deal for me.

We spent as much time together as we could and had a lot of sex, which got better and better. He had an amazing body, sexy blue eyes and a butt smaller than mine. He loved to clean, could cook and so far was doing a great job of looking after me.

A few weeks later, I was pregnant.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

This may sound weird, but after all this time, I finally feel like a Mum. Because I'm allowed to BE a Mum. I don't have anyone looking over my shoulder while I change her nappy, like I'm going to do something wrong by not wiping her enough or doing it up too tight (once, I was even questioned about when she was last changed as there was a tiny bit of poop on her bottom, like it had been left over from last time, instead of being what it was - a little bit of fresh fart explosion). I can dress her in whatever I like without being questioned about not having seen that outfit before (does any Dad know exactly all the clothes their child has unless they have physically purchased them all themselves?) I can put her down for as many naps as I feel necessary, give her as many bottles as I like and when I like, feed her how I like (no, she didn't need to start solids at 6 months and no, I wasn't going to start with purees and no, the crusts do not need to be cut off because she doesn't have teeth!)

I may be a first time Mum but I'm not an idiot. I know how to read and do a search on Google. I know how to ask for advice on a forum. Also, I carried this child in my body for 9 months (well, 7 actually) and along with that came a little thing called "instinct" which I just had to learn to listen to. FYI a baby's bath towel does NOT need to be washed after EVERY use. Don't make me feel like it's child abuse.

From very early on in my pregnancy, I had discussed my feelings with G. Having already had a baby himself, I didn't want him to make me feel like he knew everything and I knew nothing. I didn't mind if he had an opinion on something, but essentially just let me do the mummy things and guide me in the right direction if I need. I had always said I didn't want a baby with someone who already had one as then the experience wouldn't be the same for both of us. I didn't want him to have the "been there, done that" attitude. I also didn't want any furniture that he and his ex used with their son. That was his old life, this was his new one.

The first 5 weeks after L's early birth, she stayed in hospital. "Birth" is not really the right word to describe her entrance into the world. Birth makes me think of contractions and labour and pushing and crying and screaming. I only got the crying part. Before I could fully comprehend what was happening, I was being rushed into an operating room being told they were going to take my baby out and then was drugged into unconsciousness. I was alone, except for doctors and nurses. I didn't get to hear her first cry. I didn't even know if she was actually a she or a he. I didn't see her umbilical cord being cut. I didn't get a first cuddle until much, much later.

All this really effected me. It's not like I had a birth plan that didn't work out, but I'm a very emotional and sentimental person. If this was my second baby it might not have hit so hard. G had seen his first baby born, had been with the Mum during labour etc and I just felt robbed and hurt that she got this experience with him that I didn't.

To top it all off, I then underwent another surgery later on that day to fix internal bleeding. Looking back, it's scary to realise that we both came close to dying that day.

L was hooked up to machines and monitors which made it difficult for me to do anything with her. G was more confident. He was able to change her nappy while she was in the humidicrib and give her a quick top and tail. He learned how to switch the monitor from one foot to the other. He was able to lift her out and place her back in. I was scared. I didn't want to hurt her. I don't like to do something unless I am confident in what I'm doing and I know you get confidence by actually doing, but I also don't like people watching me doing something I'm not confident with. The midwives understood, my Mum and Dad understood but I don't think G did although he obviously didn't say anything at the time.

I didn't feel like I was bonding with her. I knew I loved that little girl but she didn't really feel like mine. Other Mums would spend hours and hours sitting with their little ones and I could only manage an hour or two. The first couple of days I couldn't really move so my bed was wheeled down to see her. Then I needed someone with me to take me in the wheelchair. I always waited til either G or my Mum could come with me. I had midwives hand expressing me for the first couple of days, until I was well enough to start using the machine. I was setting alarms for every 3 hours to pump but sometimes during the night I just wanted to sleep, so I did. I needed to recover so I could be there for my little girl. By day 5, I'd had enough of being in hospital. They wanted me to stay longer, but I just wanted my own bed and knew I would recover faster at home. This meant a 40 minute drive either way to see her and we always missed certain times like "cares" and having her bottles or a proper bath.

When we brought her home I was still paranoid about changing her nappy. I worried that she was going to poo everywhere overnight when I was the one up with her and I wouldn't be able to clean it up without making even more of a mess. I never felt like I was doing the nappy up properly, it just didn't look right to me. Every time she did poo, I had to get someone else to change her. Mum stayed over a lot and fed her overnight so I could sleep but I still got up and made her bottles and did her gavage feeds. Somewhere along the way, I gave up on expressing. I was taking the tablets but they weren't helping. We'd tried breastfeeding in the hospital, but it was awkward with her attached to the machines and I was uncomfortable with people watching me. L also didn't have the sucking reflex as she had been fed through her nose for so long. It took her a while to even be able to drink from a bottle properly.

I started to pre-make the formula bottles for the night feeds, clearly labelling what the bottles were. Some were formula+breast milk with added thickener, some were just formula+thickener and one had added vitamins (we had to record what she was having). Some were made up in bottles with dodgy teats so had to be poured into the proper bottle once they were sterilised. And some were just plain breast milk which were kept aside to be added to formula (and needed fortifier added if to be used on their own). G ignored all these labels, said he didn't need them, could make up a bottle on his own (this is why he often got it wrong, even after leaving instructions!) Every time I heated up a bottle he had to check if it was too hot or cold, like I couldn't be trusted and didn't know what I was doing. I also wasn't washing and sterilising the bottles correctly. Later on when she was older, he even supervised while I gave her a bath and had to double check the water temperature like I was going to give her a bath that was too hot. Usually it's the Mum double checking the Dad.

Like any Mum, I was exhausted. I just wanted to sleep, but ended up staying awake for hours and hours. I had a Facebook group to keep updated on, I had TV shows I wanted to watch, bottles to sterilise. I knew if I started getting a decent amount of sleep then I was just going to feel worse when I couldn't. Yes, being exhausted is part of being a Mum but it should also be part of being a Dad too. It's frustrating that while you're feeding, burping, rocking the baby to sleep, you can hear them in bed snoring their heads off and then they STILL sleep-in in the morning. Some think that looking after a baby is easy (and sometimes it is) but it's always easier when you've had sleep, a shower by yourself and been able to leave the house on your own for a few hours.

In the end I had to watch what I said in case it was used later on against me. I shouldn't have to feel like that around my partner. G had already brought up the fact that I didn't bond with L in the beginning, like I wasn't interested in her and he had to take over. So while I initially thought he was being supportive, it was really an "I did this so I could throw it back in your face at some stage" coupled with a "where was my thanks?" moment. When we went to visit his parents, he would be the doting Dad, changing her nappy and feeding her, while I stayed outside and kept to myself. They all knew what they were doing with babies and I just didn't feel needed. Any questions they asked about her were directed at G anyway. I once mentioned it was easier for me when she napped, especially in the morning so I could have a shower and get dressed. This was when he told me I was trying to get her to have too many naps, suggesting I only wanted her to nap so I didn't have to deal with her. Everything I said was taken out of context. Apparently, I also only wanted a baby so I could show off and pushed the pram cos I was showing off. Yeah, I don't understand that either.

When L was about 12 weeks old, we went to a birthday party at G's sister's. It was a stinking hot day and L had been very unsettled during the night. I was hoping we didn't have to stay too long. It was time for her bottle and G's son wanted to feed her. I said no. We were in a new environment for her, it was hot, noisy and people were everywhere. G said nastily "I'll take you home then". Excuse me? I was so upset that I sat in the front room crying. No one came to check if I was OK. G's Mum fed L and when I could hear that she was finished, I went and asked for my baby back. I wasn't rude, I even said please. But apparently I needed to apologise. I had been spoken to nastily, was upset and I was the one who should apologise? That wasn't going to happen.

It was never up to me to decide how long we took L out for. One day we arrived at G's parent's and she just screamed and screamed and screamed, as everyone took turns holding her, rubbing her back, feeling her belly and declaring it was tight, while I sat there looking on in anguish just wanting to take her home where she would be comfortable and I could settle her with Panadol and wind drops. We were there for over an hour before G suggested we should probably go. Funny enough, as soon as we put her in the car she was fine.

I now don't have to wait for someone else to decide whether she should go to the doctor or not. If I think there is something wrong, I make an appointment or take her to the hospital. I'd rather be safe than sorry. Watching my baby develop a severe rash all over her body that kept coming and going was scary. Not being allowed to get it checked out was unbelievable and really put things into perspective. His son had a rash a few months beforehand and his ex had taken him to the doctor and been given some sort of medication, but G was still not satisfied and wanted to take him for a second opinion. I was getting regular updates on his rash. But he did not seem to care about L's rash at all, which she had for 4 days before it went away and I realised what had likely caused it. No concern for an all over rash, but always made a big deal of tiny patches of dried skin which we'd already had confirmed as excema and had a cream for. And to publicly declare now how much he cares about her and will do anything for her makes me want to laugh and scream at the same time!

Oops, sorry this is another long post! My point is, G was acting like the Mum and the Dad, just as he had been doing for his son on his weekend visits. This is not just my opinion but was also confirmed by the counsellor and admitted by him, although he said he would change but never did. L didn't need him to be both and neither did I as I was there. Now I can just concentrate on her and not be fearful of him watching and judging me all the time. I've learned to read her and know when she's hungry or tired or in pain. I knew when she was ready to stop being wrapped to go to sleep. I was able to give her a lovely first birthday party, although not what I dreamed of, but it was all about her.

Of course, I still have days when I don't know what I'm doing or how on earth I'm going to do it all again so soon! I'm used to getting at least 10 hours sleep now! And some days I look at her and still can't believe I grew her inside me and she is mine, but I'm so incredibly lucky that she is :)

Monday, 5 January 2015

For as long as I can remember, I'd wanted to have a baby. I'd never had a proper serious relationship and at nearly 30, I felt my chances slowly slipping away. I had been working at my current job since I was 17, the hours not really conducive for having much of a social life, even though I didn't have much of one beforehand.

I was briefly pregnant at 16, but by the time I found out, it didn't matter anyway as it was ectopic.

I met D when I was 29. He didn't have much experience with either girls or relationships. He was shy, well spoken, had a sense of humour and was good looking in his own way. I was definitely attracted and, bolstered by alcohol, I made my move. If I had waited for him, we would never have happened.

I paid for an overseas holiday for us for his birthday. He ended up getting a stomach bug on the second day and we spent the rest of the holiday in our villa, with me doing my best to look after him.

Sex between us wasn't fantastic. He was never really interested and when we did do it, he would sweat profusely and run out of breath quickly and I would try to comfort him and say it was OK. He was trying to lose weight, but loved going to the bakery too much. He was trying to save money, but loved going to the bakery too much, or too many take away coffees, or too many parking fines because he could never get up early enough to get a proper park before catching the bus.

He knew how much I wanted a baby. I made no secret about that fact. It didn't exactly scare him off, but he was in no rush. He was in a band, which was very important to him and he loved computer games. So much, in fact, that I wouldn't hear from him for ages and at 8 o'clock would get a text asking if I wanted dinner cos he hadn't eaten yet... Even knowing that I ate dinner at 5:30.

When his sister fell pregnant, I was a bit hurt. I didn't think it was very fair. Just before my 30th birthday she had a 3D ultrasound and invited D along. I didn't think it was right that he would go to something so special like that, a moment he should be having for the first time to see HIS baby and not his sister's. If we were ever to have a baby together, it would ruin the experience for me. I told him so and how hurt I would be if I found out he went. Of course he didn't tell me, I found out by seeing pictures on Facebook. I can't tell you how devastated I was. I felt betrayed.

We stayed together, had my 30th birthday, had our 1 year anniversary but we were more like friends than lovers. I became stressed and started getting severe pain in my neck which kept me off work for some time. This was around Christmas. I managed to go to my brother's on Christmas Eve for our family dinner but I was in so much pain the whole time that I just wanted to cry. I couldn't take my pain medication because that just made me fall asleep and once I took it I needed to lay down. Obviously I was in no shape to spend Christmas Day having lunch with his family. I would have felt uncomfortable enough as it was without having the added neck pain. Or sitting there out of it on painkillers. I spent the day at home in bed.

Then it was New Years Eve. All I felt comfortable doing was laying down. I had spent so much time laying on the lounge watching tennis, that my Mum decided I needed a change of scenery... So I went to her house to lay on her lounge watching tennis (lol). I hardly heard from D, not even a text to ask how I was feeling. Although, my phone didn't have the best coverage at my Mum's. He was coming over to spend the night at my house and I told him I'd let him know when I was home again.

It wasn't until later that night, perhaps around 8 o'clock, that I decided I was ready to go home. D was already there, had poured himself quite a strong drink and was half the way through it. He wasn't much of a drinker, so I sort of already knew that this was going to end badly. I was hoping for a quiet night with my man but that was not to be. He took no notice of the pain I was in and instead of sitting next to me on the lounge, would sit virtually on top of me. He touched my neck in a not so gentle way. He was told to sit down with his drink as he was stumbling around everywhere holding it. He didn't listen to anything. He yelled at my dog. He yelled at my Dad when he told him to settle down and show some consideration. I told him to go to bed. He proceeded to headbutt my bedroom door, crying and carrying on. I screamed at him "what the fuck are you doing?!" I finally got him to lay down on the bed, but there was no chance I was sleeping in that bed next to him. Then he argued that he would sleep on the lounge instead of me. But no, I let him have the comfy bed which was closer to the toilet, because even though I was upset and in pain, I was still thoughtful. He was lucky I didn't just call him a taxi and send him home.

I didn't get much sleep. The next day when he finally woke up, I didn't even look at him or speak to him. Dad checked he was OK to drive and he left.

I never received a proper apology. I tried to explain my feelings about his actions but it was like he didn't really comprehend.
We stayed together for a few more weeks and in that time I was told my whole department was being made redundant. After 13 years, I was going to be out of a job. I had been hoping to use my long service leave as extra maternity leave one day. I texted D to tell him and his response was "you'll get another job". No support, no sympathy, no compassion. Basically just a pat on the back and a "there there dear".

All that lead me to see a psychologist and go back on antidepressants. D and I broke up. I packed up everything he ever gave me and left it on my front porch for him to collect. I watched him as he loaded it all into his car and I wasn't going to, but I went out there and gave him a hug and kiss goodbye.

The psychologist asked me to make up a vision board of what I wanted in my life. Considering I wanted a baby, she suggested pictures of ovaries and babies and everything to do with creating them. I purchased the cardboard and that's as far as I got, as I met G and fell pregnant straight away.
I loved you. I still love you. Even though you broke my heart and smashed my dreams into a billion pieces.

You came into my life like Prince Charming and swept me off my feet. It felt too good to be true, but I was happy - WE were happy up on Cloud 9, everything finally falling into place. You were The One, my Happy Ever After... We didn't take things slowly, in fact we went as fast as we could possibly go because it's what we both wanted and we didn't want to wait. You knew all my anxieties and insecurities and made promises that took them all away. You came into my life when I needed you the most.

We created a tiny miracle, you and I. I was thrilled and you said you were too, even though you didn't seem to show it in the way I needed you to. When she arrived, it was a difficult time and not what we expected but I felt so in love with you at that moment and the way you cared for us that I wanted to ask you to marry me, even though I really wanted you to ask me. But you were still legally married to someone else and that bothered me which you knew but didn't seem in a hurry to do anything about.

Everything changed when our miracle was finally allowed to come home. My feelings didn't seem to matter anymore. I was exhausted and scared just like any new mother would be. I was still recovering physically and emotionally with what happened for her to arrive into this world. I turned to my Facebook support group to cope with it. I had financial worries always on my mind, I got myself into a big debt for us and our family (and only because you promised you could afford it and everything would be OK). All I wanted was time for you, her and I to be together and work out our routine and bond and I missed out on that from the first day she was home.

My Mum and Dad helped out a lot. More than any grandparent should have to. Because they could see I needed it and understood. They reassured me that nothing I was doing was "wrong". Dad helped me to feed her, burp her and get her back to sleep at night... All things which you should have helped out with. You helped when you wanted, when it suited you and not when I actually needed you to.

We fell apart. I let you go, thinking you would fight for me, for US, like you always said you would. I felt like I was the only one fighting. Now looking back at that time, I shouldn't have bothered. Something sticks out that you said - "I can't commit". That should have been my warning sign, but I desperately wanted us to work out. I told you that you were my last chance, that I only wanted you and no one else ever again. I had to sell our house (which was really my house) all my 13 years of working stupid hours and sacrificing having a life so I could save enough money to own something more than a small unit, down the drain. I trusted you enough in just a few short weeks to put all that money into something for US. Crazy, I know.

We went to counselling to help us. You wanted to be back with your girls again and promised to do anything to have that again. Mum put her finances on the line to start building a house for us and you agreed to it. We found a nice rental and moved back in together. It was great for about a week or 2. I tried to compromise and put things that mattered to me aside. Did they really mean that much really? Well, yes to me they were still important but it was also important to me that we were together. I should have noticed things but I didn't. Things that I look back on now and it seems so obvious.

I spent all day at home with our daughter. I would occasionally go for a walk to see my Dad or he would come over with lunch. I had no social life apart from that. My priority was our daughter, not the washing or cleaning, which you said you were happy to do anyway. I had no say in what we had for dinner, what we watched on TV or what we did on the weekend. If you asked me and I made a suggestion it was just ignored and we had what you wanted or did what you wanted. But still I stayed.
I tried to talk to you about our daughter's first birthday but soon gave up as I either didn't get a response or all my ideas were shut down because it wasn't what you wanted. I couldn't get excited about something I should have been excited about. I watched as other Mums in my support group designed invitations and planned parties well in advance and here I was with 2 weeks to go and nothing organised except for the cake, which I tried to tell you about but you were too stoned to even care.

Then, one night you want to talk. Well not exactly talk to me, just accuse me of things and tell me your feelings about everything I'm doing wrong. How I don't care. And I was so ready to leave that night, Mum came around to get me and you told her "she's leaving" without any emotion. But again, I stayed and you thanked me and we talked and I thought everything was sorted for the time being. The next day I walked in the heat to drop you off your shorts. We went and got our hair done - you surprised me by getting yours cut and you reminded me of the guy I first fell in love with and I fell in love with you all over again.

The next day, we were over. You threatened to pack up my stuff because I had been out shopping with my Mum and didn't answer your call. And when you called in the afternoon I didn't answer again because I was asleep. So I went back and packed up our stuff, because conveniently your son had just been dropped off and I wasn't going to hang around the whole weekend waiting for an explanation after I had just been threatened. I've now been waiting nearly 3 months and I still don't have an explanation. All I can see is that you never really loved me or cared about me as you moved onto someone else within a few weeks. I spent the first week rearranging our daughter's birthday and setting her up so she was comfortable again in her surroundings, while you had drinks with mates, got your tattoo covered and whatever other single man things you did now that you had all that free time. I even made it easier for you by agreeing that you could buy some of my furniture, even though you've still kept heaps of things that weren't included in that deal.

Even after 3 months, through the anger and the tears, the nasty texts, the comments from your family and friends - I still love you. I'm not like you, who can just move on with my life with someone else so quickly like nothing ever happened. I have a constant reminder of you, looking at me every day, needing me for everything. I have to be strong for her. She is my number one priority and always has been, not just when I feel like it. It's not just something I say so I can look like I'm a responsible, caring parent. I will do, and have always done, everything for her.

Now we await mediation to determine how her time is spent going back and forth between us. Not the life I dreamed of for our darling daughter and I thought this time you'd want to do it right but I guess it's the norm for you and how you want to "raise" your children without their mothers around.

So, this is how I became a single Mum of a 1 year old.... With another due in June.