Divorce with an Infant — Help! (But, Please — Don’t Tell Anyone!)


As I wrote this post, I realize that I’m about to tell a group of strangers something I’m too embarrassed to tell my best friends: I am having serious marital problems. At a time in my life when I have never been happier being a mom, I’ve never been lonelier. There have been problems in our relationship for a long time. Long before our baby girl was born. I was stressed over being the breadwinner, making sure all the bills were paid, and doing absolutely everything around the house. I cooked. I cleaned. I did the laundry. I constantly asked my husband to help out and do more, but he never did. I was willing to just accept that and do the lions share when it was just the two of us because I could manage that. It was easier to just do it myself than fight about it. However, when I got pregnant, I made sure my husband knew that I could not continue doing everything. I told him on numerous occasions that I would need his help. He promised he would help more, he would work harder, and do more things around the house. However, by the time the baby was born, he wasn’t working at all. Even after I had a Caesarean, he did not help more around the house. I was the one taking care of the baby. I was doing her laundry, changing her diapers, and sanitizing her bottles. I was happy to do all these things for her because she was such a sweet blessing. Every time I looked at her I realized how much I loved her. My heart swelled every time I held her. As my love grew exponentially for my baby, my hostility towards my husband festered. I couldn’t help it – I nagged him about getting a job. I would beg him to do more around the house. But it never happened.

When my baby was 4 months old I asked my husband to leave. I hoped that his not being in our home would make him realize how much he loved his family. I hoped he would realize what he would miss if he didn’t shape up. But that didn’t happen either. To make things worse, somehow I was the bad guy. I think that is what hurt most. Even though I was working full time in a high stress job, paying all the bills, providing 100% for my child, all while breastfeeding and taking care of the home, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had been in the wrong. What had I done? Why was this happening to me? What would people think?

I hate to admit it, but I care what people think about me. For over a month I didn’t tell my closest friends what was going on. Most of them still don’t know. To say I suffered in silence would be an understatement. In my head I was screaming “I need HELP!” On the outside I was all smiles. I did not even miss a day of work. But I had to work, right? I had to be the rock. My daughter needs food, toys, and shelter. She needs health insurance to pay for her medical bills. She needs clothes as she constantly grows. I knew someone had to provide those things. To admit to my friends that something was wrong meant that something was wrong with me.

It hurts my heart to think that my husband might love himself more than he loves our daughter. Who wouldn’t want to work to provide for this sweet angel baby? I keep telling myself that the only thing I can do is make sure my daughter knows how much I love her. I would do anything for her. I just spoke with my attorney, and we are going to file for divorce this week because I know that is best for my daughter and I. But I also know that when my daughter grows up she will have lots of questions. Questions that I don’t have answers to.


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