I was 20 when I got pregnant with my first child. My boyfriend and I at the time had been together for four years. I remember his mom wanting us to get married when we told her the news. It’s not something I had even thought about nor was it something I wanted to do at that moment in time. We were definitely going to try to make it work but the odds were stacked against us. I had a job but it’s not like I was making much. He was still going to school and working part-time. We both were still living with our parents. I was scared beyond belief as to how I was going to care for another human being. My daughter was born 12 days after my 21st birthday. It was a long 24 hours of labor. But I remember how that moment felt when I looked at her. My worries, my fears were there but they were put at ease.
My mom had agreed that I could stay at home while raising her and my boyfriend could visit at any time and we could try to make a go at this. He would come almost every day and leave at night as he had school and work. I started resenting him. I’d be up every night with a screaming baby while he was at home sleeping through the night. I understand now that he did what he could at that time. There were other issues as well but we were young, we were trying to figure out who we were and raise a child on top of all that. When my daughter was 10 months old we split up. It was not easy. We quickly established a schedule for when he would have her. He still wanted to be a part of her life. He would see her twice a week. Once during the weekday and once on the weekend. Both overnight. We also figured out “child support”. I put that in quotations because we never went to court. Neither one of us wanted to. Coming from a divorced family, my mom never talked bad about my father. EVER. Not only would I do the same but I wanted my daughter to know that even though her dad and I didn’t work out, we both loved her tremendously.
I met my now husband when my daughter was two and a half. I was super careful about having them meet. However, he lived right next door to my parents. The two of them bonded instantly. It was so adorable to see. My ex also was dating someone who he ended up marrying as well. In the beginning, with our new blended families, I’m not going to lie, it was work. I think that both my husband and his girlfriend were in awkward situations. Not because we made it awkward. But two things. One, my ex and I had this “co parenting” down (for the most part). We had our moments but we didn’t fight too much. Normally when you deal with your ex, it’s not pretty. That wasn’t us. That’s because we had a mutual interest which was our daughter. The other thing was during family parties or other gatherings we always invited the other to it. I remember my husband did not understand that in the beginning. He would say that’s just not something you do. I did not understand why he would say that. I get it now looking back on it. It’s overwhelming meeting new family. But now, I’m asking you to get to know someone who I used to date, had feelings with at one point in time and had a kid with. And go hang out with them at a party as if you might be bff’s. I totally get it! It took some getting used to on everyone’s end. It could have gone differently in so many ways.
My oldest is now fourteen and it has been a journey none the less. Her dad still takes my daughter twice a week (it’s now a lot of planning between my daughert’s schedule) My ex’s parents have taken my now eight year old multiple times throughout the summers on days to hang out. It sounds cliché but we do have a great blended family. We all get along. I talk with my daughter’s step mom now more than I have in the past. It’s been hard work through out the years but just like any relationship, it takes work. But it can be done. I wouldn’t change our lives for anything.