Thursday, 28 July 2016

Children of Divorce 💭

I just read a quote: "Children are not the souvenir of a relationship". It struck a cord in me because so many people now have multiple children with multiple baby daddies and I promise you, that will never win you any prizes.

I'm a complete traditionalist. I believe in the relationship, marriage and then have children lifestyle but I know that in this day and age, that is no longer the 'norm'. I don't believe in divorce because I think a child needs to have that balance of a mother and father (or of course same sex parents) because sometimes children need to be parented in different ways for different circumstance and honestly, sometimes one person just needs a break. Haha would you guess that this started out as a simple tweet and now I've had to make it into a blog post because I just felt so strongly about it.

I think a lot of young girls these days think it's 'cool' to have children younger honestly believe that having a child will make their relationship stronger. One thing I am totally clear on, is that bringing a child into an unstable and volatile environment will never make it happier in the long term. I'm not saying that they aren't good parents because I have a number of high school friends who are now parents to multiple children and their children seem happy and healthy. They seem to have it together. But that life would never be for me.

I want to have a stable environment. I want to be able to support my children with a steady 9 till 5 job (or longer) and have the solid marriage filled with love under my belt first.

I remember when my oldest sister first told me she was pregnant. She sat me down and said that she had something to show us on the computer. It turned out to be a ultrasound video of a baby and I was so shocked and upset that I ran to my room, crying.

Why was I upset?

Over the past few years, I have 100% opened up to the fact that different people have different ways of living and it turned out - surprise, surprise - that my way wasn't the only way. I had concentrated so much on the fact she wasn't married, she'd only been with her partner for what felt like a few months and she hadn't told me she was trying, that I hadn't grasped that my sister was going to be a mum! I was going to welcome this sweet little innocent baby into my life and she was going to make me a first time aunt. Once I got over myself, I went back downstairs and gave my sister he biggest hug I could muster up and started spamming her with question after question. When she told me she'd planned it and they had been trying, I was shocked because I'd conceived myself it must have been an accident. Why would a non-married couple want a baby together?!

The moment that my niece came into the world was the first time I felt true love; it was the first time I truly believed I would sacrifice anything to save and protect her. To this day, I'm not sure how many other people I could say that about.
Just to add, I never truly grasped how deeply in love my sister was until it was her wedding day, a year after their daughter was born they got engaged and the following year married. When her mother (my dad's first marriage) gave her unusual-for-a-mother speech she told the story of how my sister was when she came back from her first date with her now-husband. I remember crying because I'd never known how deep that initial connection was and I felt so guilty that I'd ever questioned. Here's to the two of you...

I'm going to get personal here. I come from a 'broken home'. I never heard of the term until I was just starting adulthood but I can see where it comes from. Both my mother and father love me with their entire being, that I have no doubt, but growing up I always felt I was missing something. Sure you get the double holidays, double presents and extra attention but at the same time, I knew what life was like before and I wanted it back.

My parents got divorced when I was 12 years old. In the space of a few weeks - literally - my whole life changed. I usually block out bad memories but till this day, I still remember when they told me and my little sister. They sat us down in the lounge and just said it. I don't quite remember what they said but I remember laughing because I truly felt they were joking. I hadn't seen it coming. My parents had always argued, they didn't sleep in the same bed, they barely 'hung out' casually together and they had complete opposite interests but in a way I'd always felt they'd balanced each other out: my mum drank, my dad didn't, so he drove and she enjoyed her nights out; my mum was emotional and my dad was strict so he was the harsher parent. What I hadn't realised was that that wasn't normal.

While I'll always wish my parents were together, I'm sure they are happier apart. I don't remember them fighting, I only remember my family being together under one roof but everyone in both families say that they are happier. They both now live with new partners. My mum's is a childhood friend who fits in with her family exactly. He drinks, smokes and enjoys a party just like her. He's a handyman and my mums the traditional housewife who needs a man to do everything for her. My dad met his girlfriend online, on a dating website, and they share the same passion for cycling. Hearing him talk about their shared trips and treks (they go on cycling holidays) would never have happened with my mum and she's also career orientated, currently completing a degree.

Divorce wasn't easy for me. Their divorce wasn't a mutual decision. Mum has always been open with us children and so we heard the good with the bad from both sides. As mum told her side of the story, dad told his (usually slightly more opinionated on his part). My little sister has always been a mummy's girl and while I wouldn't necessarily always take dad's side, given that no one else stood up for him, I always felt I had to take on that role.

In the time following the custody arrangement, originally my parents didn't speak. I, as a twelve year old, was left in the middle to conversations between the two and arrange visits and family gathering ect. I think that taught me to grow up a lot. But I also took my pain out at home. In school, I was the nerd who loved it, who wanted to be there and learn but at home I had pent up anger. Mum ended up seeking professional help in the form of a counsellor. I think I only had one or two sessions (I don't really remember because I thought they were pretty pointless) but her end decision was that I was being a completely normal teenager who was going through a major life adjustment.

I'm actually pretty emotional writing this. I have tears in my eyes as I type. All this from a quote...jees!

Anyway, the original point of this was that "Children are not the souvenir of a relationship".

I have heard that having a child is a bigger commitment than getting married. Marriage can end in divorce at any point whereas with a child, your stuck together forever, or at least for 18 years. Still, it's not the life for me, at least at the moment.

TV, books and celebrity have definitely opened me up to the idea that families come in all types. You don't have to be married first, you don't have to be the same sex (Grey's Anatomy). As long as there is love ready to smother the child, that's all that matters. But that's the most important thing to ask. Is my life stable enough to add a/another child to the mix or should I wait. Should I stop being selfish and give my child the best opportunity at life by having him/her/them later. Only you can answer that.

NB.
Please bare in mind, this was how I saw my life and I was young (younger) so I may have not seen things how they truly were and there were probably behind the scene things I never knew about. Take it at face value.