Dedication: Myself because I am consistently working to overcome the betrayal, the ostricization, the humiliation and the shock.
It started when I was a little over 7 months pregnant with my son. It was also around this time that I had begun to tell a few of my friends and family that I was expecting. Up until that point I had kept the pregnancy a secret in order to protect my son’s father. He had expressed heavily after I fell pregnant that he was not ready to be a father and since he was newly divorced and I wasn’t yet officially divorced it would be an embarrassment to not only him but his entire family if I told anyone I was pregnant. Since many of our friends and families knew each other I decided not to tell anyone. I believe I even half convinced myself I wasn’t. I still struggle coming to terms with my choice to cut off my emotions that way.
Even then though, I held out hope that my son’s dad and I would one day be a family. Even after he expressed his disdain for my daughter because she ”didn’t look sound or act like anyone in his family or any of the people he ever cared to know”. I was still convinced that if he got to know her he would come to love her as much as I do.
To be fair he didn’t outwardly treat my daughter badly. He never yelled at her or hit her.
So I focused on his vision for our future the house near Arlington park, the school the kids would go to, our wedding, the pets. We’d have it all, he said, and I believed him whole heartedly. But holding onto that dream allowed me to tolerate and even beg for mistreatment. After all, he had come from a 2 parent household and my parents had both left me, he was traveled, cultured, intelligent, charming and had a vibrant imagination. All things I admired and adored. I guess I truly believed he was better than me and that I should work hard to keep his affections. The affections that came so heavily the first several months. He complimented me, took me on romantic dates, and helped me with projects near to my heart. Even after he said we couldn’t be together, we were often, together. I felt I could change his heart about us because I NEEDED that dream of a family to be a reality.
Throughout my pregnancy he was inconsistent in his communication with me and I got used to not hearing from him for weeks or months at a time. But I waited, I pined, I begged and eventually he would come back.
When my grandmother texted me and told me she felt it was a good idea to let his parents know I was expecting their grandchild.
I hesitated but I was alone and scared so I reached out to my son’s grandfather and told him. At this time the grandfather held a prominent position in our religious organization, the one my son’s dad and I were raised in but not applying to our lives. My pregnancy though was a delicate reality because of that and I knew that.
I really didn’t think they would give the situation any attention or that they’d treat me like Jezebel but I was wrong. Both of his parents relished the thought of being grandparents for a while, over a decade as I came to find out later.
Thet wasted no time getting about the business of being grandparents. They asked if they could be at my doctor’s appointment the next day and took me to breakfast. I was nervous but they were really nice to me and my daughter.
They were in contact with me every single day. If I sneezed they had a tissue even if I was miles away. It was a little overwhelming at times but it was extremely flattering and since I had gone so long with next to nothing from my son’s father I felt this was the next best thing.
A couple weeks after we met for the first time they offered to baby sit my daughter while I worked. But I didn’t accept because I didn’t want to be a burden. In fact, I often rejected their offers at first because I really didn’t want to be a burden and I knew I could never pay them back. But weeks of them consistently being around, buying me groceries, getting what I needed for my son, giving me rides when my car broke down- gained my trust. Besides, my daughter who was 3 years old at the time had already began calling my son’s grandmother; her grandma.
So I let her stay with them while I worked.
After a while she insisted on keeping my daughter while I slept as well. So I let her. Previously, my sister or my daughter’s dad would keep her but I sometimes had to work around their schedule or they’d run late but the grandmother never seemed to have anything else to do. She said that she believed God inspired my grandmother to tell me to let them know and now that she knows she will always be there. She was always, always, always there. I didn’t need anyone else.
I counted myself blessed and undyingly grateful.
I bought her gifts when I could and cards detailing my deep appreciation for her. I thanked her for loving my daughter the way she had and expressed how much it meant to us that she had especially since she didn’t have to and my daughter’s paternal grandparents lived far away and showed little concern for her. I was just so grateful for that.
But anytime I would offer my deep thanks she would reiterate that she loved me and my daughter as her own and that my thanks was not needed because she was doing what any mother and grandmother would do.
But our relationship wasn’t perfect. I began to learn she had a negative impression of my family. Apparently, there were times she felt that my grandmother and uncle had purposely disrespected her and her family. I also had confided in her some of my childhood trauma and difficult family dynamics which she later used as ammunition when ever I wanted my son to spend time with my family.
She even accused my grandmother who is a pediatric nurse for a living of punching my 7 month old son in the head during Bible study.
So we had frequent spats about parenting styles and her weird or even cruel accusations of my family and me. But she had done that with everyone and she was so helpful to me. So I always over looked whatever she would say or do. I mean, who else would help me so much?
Both of my son’s father’s parents were very religious so as such they were adamant that their son should marry me. Even though he had said he wasn’t ready to be remarried just before our son was born he decided to move in with me. Of course I was thrilled. I just knew he’d come to love our family and he would stay.
His parents helped him move in with me against their religious beliefs because they believed we should be a family as much as I did.
Eventually I gave birth to our son and for the most part everything was fine. In fact, it was blissful. But looking back on it I realize we were too neglectful of handling our lives. I wasn’t working much and he wasn’t working at all so all of the bills went past due. About 9 months into our living together we lost everything. The car was repossessed, the electric went off, and after maintaining my apartment for over 3 years I lost my place to live. Of course like clock work he was gone. It was like losing everything was synonymous with breaking up. Or as he made clear we were “never together”.
I felt guilty for not being more responsible, guilty for not being able to keep him comfortable and happy, guilty for failing my children, just guilty & shameful. But I hid parents were there for me and the kids.
They let the kids spend more time at their house, my daughter who by now knew them as blood relatives got her own room at their house, while I moved in with a close friend.
A few years passed in which time I moved in to take care of my son’s great grandfather in exchange for room and board, sustained and lost my place of residence, housed many family members who needed shelter, my son’s father and I reunited and separated again, I even had a mental health emergency for which I received immediate intervention and action plans for, sustained gainful employment ect.
It was in the spring of 2019 when out of the blue my son’s father professed his love for me and we got married. Kind of. See, although we placed our hands over our hearts and swore, signed documents, had a ceremony and dinner we were never actually officially married. The day he and I went to the court house to turn in the affidavit he acted as if he had lost it. He said it was right there and that he simply couldn’t find it.
I had shrugged it off like I had done everything else thinking “it’s just a piece of paper” & he really loves me. I let everything slide. Including the fact that he was getting his hair done by his ex while I sat home waiting for him, the fact that our son was sleeping in bed with his parents where they told us when we could spend time with him, talk to him and see him. They even took him out of town without us even knowing, even calling the police on me for taking my son for a walk. I even over looked how poorly my daughter was being treated. I will never be able to forgive myself for that.
What started out as the grandmother treating my daughter as her own child became toxic and abusive. There were red flags in the very beginning with her that I ignored but they only became worse and more consistent. When my daughter was 3 years old the grandmother accused my daughter of working witchcraft to stir discord between myself and my son’s dad due to an incident where my 3 year old daughter turned away from him while he was taking to her. Over the years she had accused my daughter of being physically and sexually abusive to my son. And no matter how vigilante I was she’d always complain that I wasn’t vigilant enough even approaching me in the middle of bible study where I sat holding both of my sleeping children in my lap stating that I shouldn’t hold her because she was “probably pretending to be asleep so she could fondle my son while I wasn’t looking”. I should note that my son never have even a scratch on him. We got into frequent disagreements over the years due to her excessive paranoia and bizzare accusations.
Both the grandmother and the grandfather after having taken my daughter under their wings, telling her they were her family had now told her she was not allowed around them. After taking her to bible study twice a week stating that it meant her life and that even murderers and rapists could be reformed being in God’s house were telling her she was too bad to even go with them. I should add that none of those accusations were ever founded. I would talk to others about what they had noticed about my daughters’ behavior, watched my children at play and talked to my son and he never said anything that remotely signified he was being abused by ANYone. Once my son’s father even got into an argument with his mother because he saw with his own 2 eyes who she accused my daughter of throwing a ball that she and him had seen OUR SON himself throw. So after taking my daughter everywhere for years they had taken my son they just stopped interacting with & barely acknowledging her presence. When I was at work for my 12 hour shift at the hospital they wouldn’t even fix her anything to eat leaving her (7 at the time) to have fend for herself. She was made to stay away from her brother and remain in her room unless she was eating or using the bathroom. They went from bed time stories, checking on her and saying goodnight every night to locking them selves in the room with my son on the other side of the house and leaving her completely alone. One time in particular I had come home to find she had thrown up all over the floor because she said she was afraid and though she was there alone. They went from being loving and affectionate towards her (even during the heinous accusations) to discarding her like trash.
But I stayed there and let my daughter go through that! All I did was sleep and work. I just wanted the family I never had and I allowed that to overshadow my child’s suffering.
I would digress, after all the grandmother had accused everyone of ill intent. Including her own children. She made sure I isolated my son from her 4 children stating they had no reason to be keeping him by themselves not even to sit with them at congregation bible studies. Since she was so extremely present and consistently available for not only my son but my daughter as well, when she insisted that my family did not need to spend time with my son either I allowed her that control. Causing disagreements between she and my family and me being estranged from them, needing to rely on her even more.
My son’s father would reason that he had never been molested as a child the way I had which made me feel like maybe she would be better at protecting my children then my family or I would.
I relied on them and wanted to make them pleased with me so when she told me my father in law who was my son’s grandfather lost his position in the religious organization that he’d held for over 30 years due to my family spreading false information (I found out later that wasn’t true) I was mortified and cling to them even more all but disowning my family entirely and accepting whatever treatment was dealt, partially because I felt my blood made me guilty and to blame.
Soon though, everything came to a head. I had been scripting, which is writing in my journal as if they’d already happened in order to manifest them, repeating affirmations for honesty, truth and justice and peace and one day everything just popped.
I found out my husband was cheating and his mother’s true feelings for me poured out. She said she had sat and watched me for years as I abused my son stating to Child Protective Services that she had watched me spray chemicals in his eyes, said I let my daughter abuse my son, that I was unstable and dangerous. She called up everyone I had ever known and told them that I was a witch who worked up a spell to have her husband who recently passed on, killed in a car crash.
But through that I have allowed my son to spend time with her. Even though I’m afraid she may abduct him and never return, worried that she will instill fear in him that I am dangerous considering she would write a scriptures on a piece of paper and tell him he must wear it while he is with me. I still allow him to go because he loves her and I wouldn’t want to hurt him due to adult issues that aren’t his fault. To also keep consistency and peace.
I should add that this letter is not meant to give the impression that I am some kind of saint because I am not by a long shot.
But I love my son. I loved his father so much so in fact that the pain and disillusionment of the in and outs of us being a family took a huge toll on me. Has caused me to lose my footing and struggle longer than I am proud to admit to get back in my feet.
In the year after I walked away from all of that I have had to stay with friends. And my recent employment was too much for any assistance with housing and too little for me to afford separate housing. Unfortunately, I do not have a mother I can rely on, I do not have siblings I can live with, I do not have grandparents or cousins who can help me out or give me a spare bedroom to sleep in while I sort things out. I have one friend.
So I don’t know how these situations go. I don’t know what will happen. But I have a plan and I and I’m working to execute it.
Lately, I have been focusing my time and energy on an entrepreneurial endeavor but I am willing to put that on hold and obtaining full time employment and a place and whatever else I need to do in order to prove to the court that I am fit to mother my children.
Please note that throughout all these years in times of depression or financial loss I have never bowed out of my responsibility of being a mother. I have been hard working and present. I have never requested child support from my son’s father. In fact, over the last year even after I left I have continued to pay his phone bill though I could have used that money to help with bills. No he has never consistently offered to help. Over the last 5 years he has been content to let his mother raise our son.
I mentioned that because my son’s father has recently admitted to me that he will be attempting to gain full custody of our son weaponizing my depression saying that a judge would see I’m an unfit mother.
I only beseech the court to examine the history and consider everything I have written. As I am willing to do whatever the court deem necessary for that not to happen.
Of course, I am willing to share custody but I don’t believe it’s in my son’s best interest to be taken away from me, only allowed to visit. I am willing to do what’s necessary for the court to believe that as well.
Thank you for reading this notice.