Becoming a parent can feel like the best thing you have ever done, it can fill you with amazing moments of joy and fulfilment and it can strengthen the relationship you have with your partner.
Unfortunately, it’s not like that for everyone. When I had my first child I was diagnosed with Post-Natal Depression.
This was a symptom of how I felt, trapped in an abusive relationship with a baby who was clearly picking up on my anxiety and emotional stress. Like many women in abusive relationships, I thought having a baby would help my partner feel less jealous and more secure, of course, it didn’t – the cracks that were already there in our relationship simply widened until the situation became unbearable and I left when my daughter was 3 years old.
I totally believe in ‘gut instinct’ – that feeling that something isn’t quite right, the natural instinct that kicks in when you see the danger. Ignore this at your peril, you will more than likely come to regret it. I did. I was criticised for everything – breastfeeding meant I was ignoring him, I was criticised for giving her the wrong weaning foods (they weren’t), for him feeling trapped, nothing I could do was right.
If you feel like you are ‘walking on eggshells’ when your partner is around, nervous of their reaction to whatever you have done/not done and you are constantly focussed on trying to keep them happy, ignoring your own needs and even perhaps those of your children, it’s time to seek some professional advice.
Domestic abuse often starts or gets worse during pregnancy. If your partner is criticising your parenting, making you feel bad about yourself, perhaps even bullying you with threats to report you to social services or take you to court for custody of the children, this is abuse. If you have separated and your ex is refusing to pay child maintenance, turning up unannounced instead of keeping to the agreement about child contact or questioning the children about your new relationship, this is abuse. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/domestic-abuse-pregnant/
My life is fabulous now and my daughter is amazing and yes I did find love again! I now use my experience and the things I have learnt over the years with other women to help my clients find happiness again because life is just too short to be unhappy. For help to understand your relationship and to get some confidential, emotional support and practical help, go to www.caronkippingcoaching.com. There is no pressure for you to make decisions, just don’t suffer alone as I did.
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