12 answers

Preparing to Co-parent with Birth Father

Hi. I need help with "words", in order to reconcile a difficult relationship and keep my baby's father in the picture. I am 6 mos. pregnant, from the man I continued to date long-distance when I moved to CO in August 2007. We kept dating b/c he said he'd be moving here in Summer 2008. We got pregnant in Nov. 2007 very unexpectedly while in Chicago for a weekend. This might have given him even more reason to move. Our relationship deteriorated rapidly as he hedged over the last 4 months, finally getting to the point of telling me 6 weeks ago that he won't be moving here. 3 weeks ago he made a baseless accusation of me cheating; he has not called for 3 weeks and only just emails demanding an apology (for...something I didn't do). He says he won't claim paternity until the test, and he won't even talk on the phone without an apology. And well, he has not been caring or affectionate for me and the baby since I've been pregnant. I have done nothing wrong to him; it basically feels like he's just using bizarre accusations to avoid saying "I don't want to take responsibility." Nonetheless, I am prepared to "apologize" b/c I am more concerned about allowing us to move forward so he can have a relationship with the child, than my feelings at this moment.

I am a professional, employed on-contract, so I will be unemployed while on maternity leave. So, I can't afford to wait months after the baby is born for a child support determination. I will be single-parenting 24/7 without reprieve, since I don't yet have a network of friends in the Denver area, and the only living relatives I have are sisters in IL. So, I need to focus my energy on caring for the baby lovingly and appropriately in a difficult situation. I have accepted and am grieving that the father and I are "over". But, I can't get a rational response from him about: Do you want to have a father role? If so, what are your requests, since we live in CO and D.C.? What portion of child support will you willingly submit? And so many other questions.

Do you have suggestions, so that I can conscionably know I've tried everything, before having to get contentious through a lawyer. Do you have experience from an unmarried custody and child support situation you've been through? I am a good person, and have finally come to know that I was with a bullying man. I am very confused about the right decision for our baby--I don't want to limit a father relationship, but I don't want our baby exposed to a bullying father. Thank you even for just "listening".

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

2 weeks to due date! There is a happy ending--and like everything, it came from focusing on myself and my own part of the situation.

Sadly, things deteriorated to the point of bizarre with the father. He contines to insist I cheated. I offered to give him private time to meet his baby, no strings attached but because I believe it's the right thing to do. He decided he doesn't want to meet the baby or even be informed it's been born. Who knows where things will lead. I intend to pursue child support, but not before I know how much I can handle him in our lives. If he doesn't care for the baby, I can't force him.

As for me and Baby, we're just going to focus on being 100% a family together. From our happiness and completeness together, we will attract good things onto ourselves. Are we are giving our attention to the amazing friends and family who have supported us this past year. No more letting the poopy-heads get us down! I feel much better being back to my upbeat, strong self.

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I am sorry that I do not have any advice for the relationship piece of this.......
However I would love to have a running and hiking buddy!!!! When are you due? I have an 9 month old now and I am ready to start enjoying the spring and summer months. Are you hiking now??

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I am very sorry that you have been put in this position. Being a single mother is not easy. I do not speak from direct experience, but from what I have seen in those close to me.

That aside, focusing on the relationship with him, the first thing I would suggest is NOT apologizing for something you didn't do. The reality is that the apology isn't what he really needs or wants. He wants no responsibility and he wants power of you because he feels as though you have it over him with the impending birth. Further, don't apologize when you did nothing wrong...ever. Finally, you might want to think down the road...recorded conversations, emails, etc. You never know what someone is capable of when they are already acting like he is. In the court of law, they will ask why you apologized for cheating, thus acknowledging that the baby isn't his or possibly isn't his, if you didn't have relations with another man. Think about that before you let the words float from your mouth or your fingertips. Hold steadfast to your honesty and don't relinquish it for a relationship that clearly will not be anything worth saving.

He will maintain a relationship with the child once he stops being a child himself...if he ever can.

Good luck. G..

2 moms found this helpful

HI P.,
The problem with apologizing when you didn't do anything wrong for the soul purpose of getting him to talk to you is that you are giving him control of you and your actions. You said yourself that you think his behavior is his way of not having to take responsibility. The only way to deal with a bully is to stand up to them. Submissive behavior will only encourage him to continue treating you this way. It doesn't sound like he is up for fatherhood or plans to be present in his child's life on anyone's terms but his. Doing what is best for your baby may mean that you have to commit to being the sole parent and have little or no contact with the father unless it is on YOUR terms because you are the one coming from a place of love.
Playing hardball with him will get you the best results.
I think you should email him and tell him that you have no intention to apologize for something you didn't do. Tell him that claiming maternity is his choice NOW but that he
will be taking financial responsibility as soon as paternity is proven which you intend to take care of ASAP. Holding out financially will only hurt him in the long run because the courts will make him pay every penny of back child support.
You have to make a decision to remain under his thumb or to take control of this situation and do what will be best for you and your baby by contacting a lawyer ASAP. Your Lawyer will have ways of letting him know that he is no longer in charge and cannot control you. He/she may even have him scared enough that he will decide to be cooperative in your efforts to do what is best for the baby.
Of course in order to accomplish this you have to decide to deal with him from here on out on a strictly non emotional level. If you need to cry or rant, call your sisters. As far as he is concerned, you no longer care for him, need him to be a father or care if you ever see him again. All you will need from him from here on out will be his support checks.
Once you stand up to him miracles may happen!
You sound like you are going to be a great mom and you baby is very lucky that God chose you for the job!

When is your baby due? Do you know what you are having?

1 mom found this helpful

Congratulations on the new chapter you are about to begin. Now, take control of this chapter! Honey, the very first thing you need to do is to TAKE CONTROL of your situation and your life. You have done everything you could do to repair the relationship. In the mean time, march down to the nearest county court house, file for full custody. By law, if necessary, they can garnish up to 50% of his wages. Do not let him make any other choices, you are the only one at this point that will be taking care of that baby. If you don't file for custody and child support the only one that will ultimately suffer will be your child.

1 mom found this helpful

I am glad that you are starting to network on Mamasource! It's a great way to get other parents feedback on virtually any topic. You need all the support you can get during your pregnancy and beyond. You sound excited and happy about your baby despite the difficulties with their father. Congrats!

I would suggest that you speak to a family law attorney or social worker that can advise you of your rights in CO and how an out-of-state birth father is involved. It seems like every state has different laws regarding parental rights, child support, custody, etc. You need to know your rights before you and the father can even start to work anything out regarding the baby.

I wish you a peaceful and healthy pregnancy and parenthood!

1 mom found this helpful

I know it will be difficult being a single mother, but I say count your losses and start your network now. Sounds like this man wouldn't be a good influence on the child anyway. There are many agencies that help single parents. I'm sure once you start networking that there can be positive roll models for your child. I wouldn't apologize at all. Do the test and prove to him the paternity and get child support but don't push for a relationship. If he was a good man he would step up anyway. Thats my 2 cents. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

You have done all you can. You can't force or pressure him. If he wants to be daddy that will be his decision and he will need to take an active roll in establishing that. That is on his shoulders. When the baby is born petition for paternity and fight to get child support. That is it. The rest is up to him.

1 mom found this helpful

Hugs!! Congrats secondly!
First you can get a paternity test while pregnant, find out from your OBGYN. The courts will input support once the baby is born, but not beforehand I don't think.
Get an attorney. I would to protect yourself and the baby.
You will get custody of course until the baby is a lot older, then you will have to figure out shared visitation down the road. He will have to pay support regardless if he is the father. Sounds like he is trying to weazel out of stepping up and he will soon find out that once DNA proves he is the father there is no where to hide.
Don't limit any relationship, Colorado is a very pro into both parents being a part of the children's lives. I know because I am a 24/7 single parent of two!! :)
His relationship with his baby is one thing, his paying support is another, one cannot effect the other, if you understand what I am saying. You can have wages garnished and all that, he has to pay, but even if he doesn't he still has rights to his child in visitation.
My ex moved out of state, which isn't fair, but I at some point am responsible for arranging visitation for the kids to get to him out of state, WHEN HE IS THE ONE THAT LEFT! So most states will encourage and enforce both parents being there for their kids no matter who did what.
If he doesn't want to, that is his loss. Most men don't respond to babies well and you never know later on he may regret his choices and change his tune. Whatever happens, just know you are wonderful for bringing this baby into the world, he can be a part of it or not, he has to pay financiall after the baby is born and you are not alone!!!
If you need a friend, an ear or hug, just email me!!!!

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't put any stock into his role as a daddy, it sounds like he's going to get out of it any way he can and the fact that he's accusing you, he's bringing up the paternity test shows that he's hoping that it's not his responsibility. I wouldn't count on him being there after the baby is born. He doesn't have a conscience b/c if he did, he wouldn't be putting you thru this difficult time during your pregnancy. He's a poor excuse of a man! Good luck sweetie, it's going to be a rough ride,

I'm a single mother of 2 children and I don't receive child support or help from the "father". He didn't acknowledge the children when they were born and they look just like him. We did the paternity test and it came back that he's the father (how I wished it was someone else) and he high-tailed it so fast. He switches jobs constantly so he's difficult to track, I don't even try anymore. I've come to the conclusion that I'm in this alone. The children are my reward and it's completely his loss!! Again Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Wow, This is a tough situation. Unfortunately, you can't make that man do what is right. All y ou can do is a paternity test when the baby is born, and actually I think you can even do it before with an amnio. Child support is tough, too. Some men are just not responsible and will let courts come after them. Sometimes it is easier not to deal with co parenting. Then you make the decisions and worry not over another persons ideas and baggage.

Here is my story...I became pregnant at age 19 with my oldest. I made the mistake of marrying the father only to leave him by the time my daughter was 4 months old. The father was not a responsible, ratbional man. He chose not to be a part of his child's life and paid child support ( a meager amount) only after courts ordered and wages were attached. He only visited with her when I made the arrangements and I was travelling with her to the state he lived. If I never brought her to him, she never would have seen him.

The good part of this was that he never was there to argue about how I raised the child. He wasn't there for me to fight with and she never saw the negative. I remarried and my husband is her dad. Although I DO still try to collect child support...it still is his responsibility.

I wish you the best. You are strong, I can tell. It will be OK. Look at the positive. Join a playgroup and new mom's support group. There is a group call MOPS...it is a Christian based program for moms. I found a lot of support there and made a lot of great friends.


1 mom found this helpful

I think an on again off again father is worse than a present daddy or none at all. Personally, my opinion, stability is THE MOST important thing in a child's life, if it even appears that DNA-dad won't be there he should be out of the picture completely. A man is either a DADDY or NOT, there is no in between. I believe any attempt at 'making it work' simply causes more stress in the child's environment, inevitably leading to erratic parenting and instability.

We all do the best we can with what we have though.

I'm 31, train for triathlon, running, biking, hiking, etc. When your up for it send me a message, maybe we can go play! Otherwise, there are lots of Moms groups in Denver...Mothers & More is one that includes both working and stay-home moms...and Moms of Denver (MODMoms.org) is new slightly less structured.

I am sorry that I do not have any advice for the relationship piece of this.......
However I would love to have a running and hiking buddy!!!! When are you due? I have an 9 month old now and I am ready to start enjoying the spring and summer months. Are you hiking now??

Hi P.,
My dad was/is a bully. Not a day goes by that I don't wish my Mom had cut her losses and kept him out of our lives. As a child, it's so hard to walk away from a parent (no matter how bad) and I think that's a protective function our mom should have done for us. My sibs and I have spent our adult lives trying to convince ourselves that it really isn't, as he says, our faults that he treats us so badly. It may be better to skip the paternity test so he has no basis for claiming partial custody of your child. From what you say it seems he won't be much help and a bullying person will just make your life and the life of your precious baby miserable. There are lots of moms groups you can plug into and I'm sure many women here on this board would be glad to be part of your support system. Having said that, you are definitely in a tough situation--you will probably be better able to parse out how to improve it once you write off your hopes of help from the baby's father. One day you will surely find a good man, who will love and support you and be a good father to your child. Best of luck.

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