Tuesday, June 10, 2014

By Way of Explanation...

I feel that I'm at a point where I owe you guys an explanation for my prolonged absence. And so here it is:
Last year, I got pregnant unexpectedly, by someone I didn't know very well. I had been separated from my husband and I made a mistake. A big one.
During the course of my pregnancy, it became very clear that this man, despite all his claims that he would support my decision to keep our baby, did not want to be a father. There was the time he asked me to move in with him and then provided me with a list of things I would not be allowed to do in his home (including that I would be required to sleep on a mattress on the floor because his dog was not able to jump up onto a regular bed and he didn't want to inconvenience his dog). There was the time we took my older daughter to the fair and he was angry with me for a week afterwards because we spent all our time there doing what my 3 year old wanted to do and not what HE wanted to do. There were the first 3 or 4 times he mentioned how much he had wished I had an abortion. I felt disregarded and disrespected, and I knew it just wouldn't work. We broke up just shy of the 4th month of my pregnancy.
Still, he claimed he wanted to be involved, and I tried to let him be. A week after deciding that our relationship could not sustain the pressure of a pregnancy so early, I had an ultrasound appointment and learned we would have a daughter. I was thrilled to give my older daughter a new baby sister. He was considerably less so. We left the appointment and he began to argue with me. He was angry that I had ended the relationship. He regretted getting me pregnant. And then he said the words that would guide the decisions that brought me to the point I am today- just minutes after leaving an ultrasound appointment and finding out that he would be a dad to a beautiful baby girl in a few short months- he asked me for the last time if I would have an abortion.
I was appalled. And devastated. It's one thing to be 6 weeks into an unplanned pregnancy and have the man who put you in that position suggest an abortion. It was quite another to be 16 weeks and have him say it 5 minutes after finding out he would be having a daughter. To make matters worse, he knew very well that I had suffered through first infertility and then the devastating stillbirth of my first child with my husband. I just couldn't believe he could be so callous.
As the weeks went by, he apologized and I did my best to forgive him. I told him he could keep coming to my doctor's appointments. He told me he really loved our baby. After things settled down and I had some time to think about my new daughter and what I should name her, I told him that, because we were unmarried and I wanted her to share a last name with her sibling, I would give her my married last name. He flipped out. He threatened me. He went behind my back and contacted members of my family trying to convince them to talk me out of it because "kids always have their dad's last name". And then he told me he didn't believe she was his after all. That his sister had questioned it all along, and that his mom was sure I was a "gold digger", just trying to get at his money.

I had enough. I cut off all contact from that point. And then I told my husband everything- that I had gotten pregnant, that the guy kept pressuring me to have an abortion, that I didn't know what to do. He was there for me and it saved our relationship. We got back together. He told me he would be there for my new daughter as well. And her biological dad never attempted to make contact after that for my entire pregnancy.
My second daughter was born in December of 2013- healthy and happy with two parents who would love her unconditionally, and a big sister who was never so excited about anything in her entire life as the arrival of our new baby.
I sent a text to her biological dad shortly after her birth and told him that I had taken a paternity test and that she was my husband's baby. A mistake, in retrospect, but what I truly believed he wanted to hear at the time. Two weeks later, I received a summons to appear in court for another paternity test. He didn't want her, he never asked about her, and now he was going to drag my family into a courtroom.
Nothing has been the same since then. We have been in and out of court since then, and he's done everything in his power to make our lives unbearable. He's lied about everything.
He currently has 5 days a week visitation based on the premise that he mostly works weekends and would be home with her while I'm at work. She spends 2/3 of that time in daycare. The fact that she's being kept away from her sister to spend time with strangers in daycare is apparently irrelevant. As is the fact that he's quite maliciously left all my contact information out of the daycare center's records, and refuses to list me as so much as an emergency contact/pick up person. I found that little detail out not because I showed up in the middle of the day and tried to take her, but because I was calling on a daily basis to get information about her feedings and naps and diaper changes because he was refusing to give me this information and was eventually told I would need to speak to the director, because they were uncomfortable telling me anything, because I was essentially a stranger to them. In fact, the director confirmed this to me almost verbatim- "as far as I'm concerned he is the parent and you are a stranger".
I should probably mention, though it's probably obvious, that I did not have any say in choosing the daycare center. His mother and sister work there and so it was arbitrarily decided by him, and approved by a judge without so much as a word about what that would mean for my rights.
The situation continues to escalate on a nearly daily basis. What started as rude comments and a demanding attitude, has turned into him making an array false accusations in a courtroom, all while claiming that I lack credibility to deny them because I told him that baby wasn't his after her birth. It has escalated into screaming matches when I ask where my daughter is, and who will be caring for her at any given time.
It has escalated to the point that, after I asked him to pay a couple of medical bills for my daughter (after having $1200 worth of medical expenses since her birth), he got inches from my face and berated me for a full five minutes. And at that point, I had had enough. I went to the police station and filed for a temporary restraining order. I was sick and tired of being screamed at and disrespected for simply asking about my child, or expecting him to commit to an equal amount of responsiblility and not just the equal rights he keeps demanding (despite getting every single thing he's asked for, he continues to claim I'm keeping her away from him and being uncooperative).
And that's where we are at today. Or actually, just a little past it. Yesterday was the hearing for my restraining order. It had been 12 days since my temporary one had been granted and this was a hearing to ask that it be made permanent.
My request was not granted. Rather, I spent two hours being accused of lying. I got my very justifiable fear and discomfort put on display and mocked. I got asked if I was illiterate. And in the end, I left court with the promise that my filing for a restraining order for an incident that he claims never happened, would be used against me at our upcoming hearing to amend the visitation schedule and order child support.
He told me he will take her. He told me he will get custody. He told me he will get overnights with her and he doesn't care if she's breastfeeding and he doesn't care if it's not best for her. He doesn't care if it hurts my older daughter. All he cares about is making me pay for my mistake.
I'm terrified. This man is making my life hell, and at this point I feel like I'm not even able to report his scary behavior and outbursts of rage because I will get called a liar and it will be used against me. And that was sort of my jumping off point for why I felt it was time to really sit down and explain why I've been missing. Because I'm afraid, and I want it out there that I'm afraid of HIM.