All pictures from Kirstin H
I haven't known what it's like to be a parent in a relationship. Ever.
My now 8 month old daughter was conceived during a one night stand. Her father and I haven't spoken since May 2013, and he lives almost 900 miles away. He has never called to ask about her - or me while I was pregnant - despite knowing I was expecting.
I get not wanting to get involved until paternity is proven (sort of). We even submitted to a paternity test, and after he was proven 99.99% her father. I still haven't heard from him.
I'm not complaining - I actually prefer it this way, as I have been afforded (so far) all the decision making for my daughter from her day care (while I work 40 hours/week) to brand of diapers to having her baptized. We currently receive the child care subsidy, so instead of paying $225 per week for a step 4, nationally accredited program, I am paying a fraction of that. In order to maintain this however, I need to show that I am either currently involved in a child support case or one is not required by a court. So, I opened a child support case and checked off the PR&R (parental rights and responsibilities) box for custody as well. I figured it would be a no brainer - and then it would be on paper - legally that I have sole custody. I researched, wrote out a parenting plan - even though Maine doesn't require one, wrote her significant connections and daily schedule, and filed all the paperwork. I am not a lawyer, but I am one to prepare everything - as much as I could.
At our last court appearance, he was able to call in (since he lives so far away). He announced that he wanted to get a lawyer. My heart dropped. A lawyer? For what? He hasn't done anything! Literally! So, opting to not find out if he was bluffing I got a lawyer. I am blessed with an incredibly close-knit family, and my step-dad paid the $2,000 retainer fee - as I live paycheck to paycheck paying the bills (which includes a 2 bedroom apartment for us).
So now I am fund raising like crazy to give him back some of the money, but also in case we use all of the retainer fee we deposited. Though I hope that won't happen since I've done all of the work already. My goal was to raise $2,000. I've raised almost 20% through donations on my webpage alone, but we only have 29 days left.
Our next court date is . I don't know what is going to happen. But I am thankful that I don't have to do any of the talking. If her father won't talk to me - that's fine. He can talk to my lawyer. But I can't honestly say that I even know what he wants at this time.
I have amazing friends. And I am grateful for them every day. But most days I can't help but feel alone. Of my friends who have kids, no one has experienced anything like this. And those that have kids are either married or in serious relationships. But I am a great Mom. And I focus on that.
But I can't help but wonder - where are all the other single parents in my area? Do supports exist? I can't seem to find them anywhere. And I can't be the only single parent... So do I start a group? would there be interest?
And dating. I'd just about given up. I'm too tired or too broke to hire a babysitter to go out. But then I met Patrick on POF. I'd just about given up on that website. The only guys that were contacting me were just looking to get laid - and I'm 32 and want more than that out of life. And to set a better example for my daughter. We don't get to see each other a lot. We text more than anything. But we aren't official. Like - I don't even know what this is - if it is anything. But I do know that I like him. I know that I don't want to blow it - whatever "it" is. Of all the guys I've dated, he's a grown-up! If this doesn't work, I'm giving up on dating LOL.
Wow - in writing this - I'm just lost. Everything is up in the air. Except the love I have for my daughter. "One toe at a time" I always say. Use this story or not, it feels good to just write and get it all out. But maybe someone somewhere can take something from my experience.