Co-Parents

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I think that these eight months pictures may be my favorite yet. I planned the outfits pretty last minute, by which I mean I picked them out right before we went to take the photos, but I love how all the soft, sparkly tones interplay with each other, and that somehow felt appropriate for January as well. However, I'm sure most of you are wondering about the title of this post more than you are appreciating my amazing family outfitting skills, and I can't blame you. 

Coming to this decision has been a long and hard one for both Michael and I, and we're still finding our footing. No one ever wants to have a baby and then not end up being with the person they created said baby with. At least I feel pretty sure that isn't anyone's dream. Things were totally fine throughout my pregnancy, but about three months after Coco was born, M was sucked into the dark pit of his depression again, and while I figured that since this time I knew what it was bringing him down I could help to fight it, there really is no helping to fight something that person can only fight themselves. I read all the articles and bought all the books and joined all the chat rooms and did my best to encourage therapy and exercise and me time and all that, but none of it helped. None of it helped at all. I poured absolutely every last drop of my emotional and physical energy into finding a way to love Michael out of his depression and trying to get him help and trying to make it better, and at the end of the day I was dead. I was dead from taking care of a baby with a partner who works a minimum of 12 hours a day, and I was dead from constantly pouring myself into someone else without them ever filling me back up. On top of all of this, Michael grew increasingly short, snippy, and quite frankly mean over time. Lack of sleep and stress and depression will do that, and let me tell you, having a new baby is stressful. I get it, but at the same time, we just couldn't live like that anymore. It is important to recognize the difference between depression and disfunction, and this was both.










::ME::
MARSHALLS SWEATER & BOOTS :: FOREVER 21 SKIRT :: MAC LIPSTICK IN O
::MICHAEL::
OLD NAVY TOP & PANTS :: DR MARTINS :: GIFTED SCARF
::COCO::
OLD NAVY DRESS,  LEGGINGS, & SHOES :: LITTLE POPPY CO BOW

I want to say that I'll spare you the long, gory details, the late night screaming matches, and the countless tears, but it just wasn't like that. Michael and I were both simply tired of trying to make something work that clearly wasn't. Tired of trying to be our best for a baby who deserves the most while being on edge with each other. One day I asked if he would do better if he had his own place, I guess I didn't expect him to think much of it, but the next day he had checked out an apartment and that was that. We struggled to draw a line at what to call ourselves, what we would be, all of the messy everything. Originally we had planned to try to exist without a label and just do what felt right, but after repeatedly asking him to stay and help me with Coco, and only being told no, I knew I couldn't stay together and not grow to completely resent him for leaving, so we are existing as friends and co-parents. 

The thing is, and I want to stress this before everyone starts in with the pity comments, that I actually feel ok. We both feel ok. Michael is seeing his therapist and has his own apartment. He spends his days off with Coco and I because that little girl is his entire life. He's looking for a new job and we are navigating this new version of our relationship really well. I haven't cried. This isn't to say that it isn't weird, and hard to spend so much time around someone you've decided you can't be with romantically, because trust me, it is, but we're making it work. Now that we've removed the relationship from the equation, it is actually surprising how well we've been getting on. The tension is gone. The short tempers are gone. We have been having a more open dialogue about everything, which is nice. And maybe we were just always meant to be really good friends. We still love each other, but it feels bitter sweet now, like the love of what once was, or what could have been, rather than what is.

I don't pretend to know all the answers or to have everything figured out. I'm a single mom now, and so so grateful to be able to live at home and have my mom to help me with Coco. I know there are many single parents without a support system to lean on, and I honestly don't know how they do it. I am so tired, but I am doing alright. I think we are all doing alright. So this is life for me now. Me, Coco, and M. Not as we were, but still together, united forever by this amazing, happy, silly, stubborn, giggly, little girl. As always, the hardest part for me is the death of all the dreams I had for our happy little family future. I am a big romantic, I imagine everything, blow it all up in my head to be perfect and larger than life, plan out my entire future to the tiniest detail...these are the things I will be mourning. It is not so much the loss of what we were, because that had long ceased working, but the loss of what I wanted us to be. We will always be a family, now it's just on different terms.


5 comments:

  1. I am so proud of you and we don't even know each other! Haha! I think it takes a certain kind of person to be able to see a darker reality for what it is (and not live in denial in fear of being alone, etc.) and see trouble coming and I think both you and Michael were able to see things were not working as they were. I am glad to hear Michael is working to better himself and that you've been able to work together as friends to be Coco's parents (and to both be in her life!). Good luck with everything and keep up the good work. Coco has such great parents and she is so lucky to have you as her mom and Michael as her dad. You guys rock!

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  2. It is great you are being open about this. I think we need more people being open about having a "non-traditional" family, because I know too many people who try too hard to stay together for the kids, when it really just hurts everyone in the end. It is also better to end things before they get bad, because having a good relationship with each other will may Coco's life better. I hear too many stories of parents hating each other too much, making their kids pretty much have to "pick sides" after a divorce.

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  3. I am so glad you were able to come to this decision and are doing ok. It will be so much better for Coco in the long run to have parents who aren't together but can get along than to have parents who are fighting all the time. My parents were divorced when I was young, eventually they learned to treat each other as friends and I feel lucky to not have to deal with tension between them. Also, I was married for two years from 23-25 and got divorced a year ago. The hardest part was finalizing that decision and telling my ex. But as soon as we separated, I started feeling better and better because I knew I had made the right decision. I started healing immediately, since all the hurt had already caused me to grieve the loss of what was once a better relationship. It sounds like you are experiencing the same sorts of feelings. I'm proud of you for being strong enough to make this decision, and I wish you both luck!

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  4. Thank you for sharing this Mariah. You are so amazing in your constant open dialogue about things that most people would just sweep under the rug. I'm so glad that the tension and short tempers are gone now that you and M have realized co-parents and friends is a better way to go for you. I'm so proud of both of you for realizing this, and I know Coco will grow up with two amazing parents no matter what, and she won't have memories of bitterness that could have been. I am sorry for the death of your dreams, I TOTALLY relate to that. My biggest fear is somehow having to go on without Nehemiah, and reconciling to that would be hard. You are so strong and amazing for sharing and living this.

    So much love <3
    xo
    Kristina

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