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#1 of 7 Old 12-30-2010, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll try not to make this too long... i think I'm just looking for some validation that my feelings are normal...

 

Long story short:  I decided to become a single mother by choice and went through anonymous donor insemination 14 years ago.  Beautiful dd is now 13.  The night before the final insemination I had sex with an old boyfriend, Bill, and up until the paternity test this past summer, I didn't know who her dad was.  I never told her about him--she always thought the donor was her dad.  

 

Bill always thought he was her father but he was fine with us not finding out--he never really wanted kids.  He and I saw each other every few years and he always asked about her.  I told him that I would tell dd about him--and get the paternity test--when I thought dd was ready--maybe age 16 or 17. 

 

Truthfully, I thought he would make an awful father (immature, too much partying, selfish, etc.) and I didn't want him in her life.

 

Over the summer dd started asking questions about the donor and found that he had fathered two other kids through anonymous donor insemination (she found the donor sibling registry online) which would make them her half siblings.  She wanted to contact them and I had to come clean with her at that point (this involved months of soul-searching before I made this decision) and we got the paternity test done.

 

Bill is her father and was thrilled to get to know her.  He now says that he wishes we had found out right after she was born and that he had been in her life all along.  He is now living with and engaged to a woman with three teenage daughters.  The whole family has welcomed dd with open arms.  She's visited them at their house 4 times and they've been here a few times.  I really like all of them.  Bill is still immature in some ways and dd seems as drawn to his girlfriend and her kids as she is to him--maybe more so.  She loves the feeling of being part of a big, boisterous family--after having it be just the two of us for so long.

 

My emotions are all over the place...I feel guilt for keeping her from her father, though I think my reasons were pretty good, I feel happiness that these nice and nurturing people have embraced my daughter so warmly and willingly, I feel afraid that, if Bill should break up with this woman dd would be devastated, and I feel jealousy that dd is now part of a family that doesn't include me.  The jealousy part has been hardest for me to identify. 

 

When I dropped dd off on Christmas night (just for a few hours), their house was warm and cozy, with lots of laughter and merriment.  I quickly excused myself, saying I was going home to clean up the mess and relax...but there was definitely a part of me that was accutely aware that I was not invited to this little party...if they had invited me to stay I would have declined...and I honestly don't want to hang out with these people....but knowing that I'm not wanted there is hard to take.  It's just surreal that dd has this ready-made family that I'm not a part of. 

 

Just identifying the feeling of jealousy in the past several days has made me feel better.  Please tell me that this is normal...All single parents must deal with this when the ex has a new family, right? 

 

I felt like my situation was so unique that nobody could possibly understand...but a friend of mine recently pointed out that most single parents deal with these feelings.  My sister told me yesterday that she thinks I should talk to a therapist because I don't seem to be processing this well.  I feel the need to talk about it a lot--that's really not like me...I usually process problems on my own and can be quite reticent.  I think just knowing that my feelings are normal will help me tremendously...but I will consider seeing a therapist.

 

I would love to hear your experience in dealing with feelings of jealousy over your kids' "new" families...thanks for listening...sorry for rambling.  I hope I've made sense...

 

PS:  In the interest of brevity I've left out all the legal discussions that Bill and I have had--we're on the same page in that regard.  My sister is named in my will as guardian and that will stay the same--Bill understands this.  He will not pay child support and I don't expect him to....

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#2 of 7 Old 12-30-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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Well, this has been just a huge surprise. If an ex finds someone else and starts/gains a new family, that's pretty predictable. The jealousy can still be very intense, but- the possibility can be contemplated and prepared for. In your case, the situation just dropped in your lap, changing the shape of your family drastically in a short time. I'm not at all surprised it's throwing you for a bit of a loop.

 

As far as the jealousy, I think most mamas deal with it by focusing on the benefits in the situation for dc. You can't go wrong if you allow yourself to enjoy her happiness. And don't forget, there's more to family than biological association. It's exciting to discover this new family, but it takes time- years of dedicated time spent- to be a "real" family. That's you. It will always be you. And what real, loving families do is encourage each other to seek fulfillment and meaningful relationships. This is no different than not being invited to go to a movie with dd and her friends, or show up at a school dance. Her having those "off limits" activities and private relationships doesn't interfere with your role in dd's life, and this ready made family doesn't, either. Many mamas have found that out, to their relief- mother is truly irreplaceable.

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#3 of 7 Old 01-02-2011, 05:47 PM
 
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Nothing much to add but big hugs and I agree therapy for you is probably a very good idea, so that you can identify and work through these feelings, and have somewhere safe to voice them.  I think I'd feel EXACTLY the same way you do if that helps at all, lol.  I get jealous when SD (to whom I'm the only mother she's ever really known) gets on so well with SO's ex-wife, her half-siblings mom.  I guess I'm just a jealous and possessive person in that regard.  Not to mention I lack self-confidence in most aspects of my life, lol.

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#4 of 7 Old 01-02-2011, 10:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post

Well, this has been just a huge surprise. If an ex finds someone else and starts/gains a new family, that's pretty predictable. The jealousy can still be very intense, but- the possibility can be contemplated and prepared for. In your case, the situation just dropped in your lap, changing the shape of your family drastically in a short time. I'm not at all surprised it's throwing you for a bit of a loop.

 

As far as the jealousy, I think most mamas deal with it by focusing on the benefits in the situation for dc. You can't go wrong if you allow yourself to enjoy her happiness. And don't forget, there's more to family than biological association. It's exciting to discover this new family, but it takes time- years of dedicated time spent- to be a "real" family. That's you. It will always be you. And what real, loving families do is encourage each other to seek fulfillment and meaningful relationships. This is no different than not being invited to go to a movie with dd and her friends, or show up at a school dance. Her having those "off limits" activities and private relationships doesn't interfere with your role in dd's life, and this ready made family doesn't, either. Many mamas have found that out, to their relief- mother is truly irreplaceable.



Beautifully put.  Thank you from me too.  

 

To the original poster: Yes, I would also like to say it is normal.  I identify with so much of what you have written.  I find it very painful when my child spends time with other people.  It is easier when I know she is with kind and caring people, but I still morn the loss of not having her with me every day.


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#5 of 7 Old 01-03-2011, 08:45 PM
 
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:hug

 

your feelings sound totally normal, and i agree with the pp's who have said that her new ready made family can in no way replace what you have shared with her for her whole life. it is probably very exciting to her to have all these people that she sort of belongs to...but things wont always be smooth and easy as it seems to be now. the bloom will fade from the rose and there will be fall out and issues. right now everything is new and in the honeymoon phase, give it time and see what happens. in the mean while, fill your time away from her with things for you, that you have put off in being a single mom. take that time and enjoy it without guilt or sadness. it is good for you to have that time, it gives you a chance not only to process these new feelings that you are having but to think about all manner of things ahead in her growing up and away from you. she is at the jumping off place of young adulthood and will be separating from you more and more as the next few years go by. who knows it might help to have someone on the otherside that you know you can depend on to love her, accept her and most of all where  you know she is safe and looked out for. they do sound like good people for taking this news so well, a lot of families wouldnt. especially smoms, sometimes when a child comes into the picture so unexpectedly smoms arent as accepting as they could be or even wish they could be. there are a myriad of emotions to be dealt with as time goes by.

 

i am a firm believer in life unfolding as it will, and i guess this was the time for this to occur in your and your daughters lives... who can say what will come of it, joys and new experiences and all manner of emotions and life changes for you and your daughter to experience together. :hug

 

be gentle with yourself when you are feeling insecure or lonely for how things were, let yourself feel what you feel, then move on from that and find something to do that cheers you up and makes you feel good. and then think about the things you and your dd will have to talk about when you are together again.

 

as for therapy... i don't know that you sound as though you need therapy, you seem to be dealing with it calmly and openly and if you are talking about it more than you usually talk about issues that you are going through...that seems healthy to me. to talk with the people you are close to about the things that are affecting you and your life... better than stewing or pondering them yourself until you come to some answer, better in my mind to talk to people and hear what they have to say and think about those things in relation to your feelings and then see where that leads you in this new journey. i would more recommend therapy if you were suffering undue stress and sorrow or depression about the situation, the way you describe your feelings and the way you are coping sounds healthy and emotionally balanced to me

 

hang in there, who knows what your new future holds

 

vs

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#6 of 7 Old 01-06-2011, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much!  I can't tell you how much better I feel after reading your kind words.  I think I was so focused on how my daughter was going to handle all this that it never occurred to me that it was going to impact my life, too...and for months I kept denying that I was having a difficult time with all of this.  I think it was the jealously part that I was so surprised by. 

 

One thing I didn't mention in my original post is that, along with the feelings of guilt and jealousy, I am also quite embarrassed when I have to explain this to friends and family...that for 13 years I haven't known who the father of my child is...that I was so desperate for a child that I stupidly (but ultimately fortuitously) had unprotected sex with a man that I did not want to be a part of my child's life. The whole thing is embarrassing to admit.  I still have good friends who don't know...I'm slowly telling people and it is getting easier...

 

My dd and I belong to a group of other Single Mothers by Choice and we vacation together every summer.  It's such a big part of my identity...I'm proud to be an SMC.  Now I don't know what to call myself...Of course, I still am an SMC but with dd's father in the picture, this definitely changes things.  I have no idea when/how I'll tell my SMC friends...

 

I'm still considering seeing a therapist...I'll ask around for some referrals.  For now I'm feeling much better about all of this.  I've read and reread your replies all afternoon--and I really do feel better.

 

Thanks again : ) 

 

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#7 of 7 Old 01-08-2011, 08:55 PM
 
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it sounds as though you have begun to forgive yourself during all this finding out and talking with your dd and well, just living it. that is a good thing, i guess you were ready to at this time in your life and so was your dd. i am glad that you are finding it easier to tell people the honest truth the way you feel it. it shows self forgiveness and strength of character as i see it. like i said in my previous post you really do seem to be coping very well with everything you are going through and as well you seem to be helping your dd cope well with the changes in her life too. or at least you havent mentioned any conflict or negative effects on her part so far. that sort of tells me that you are able to deal with your own emotions and help her deal with hers as well, even if hers are mostly positive, that hasnt been easy for you, but it sounds like you have managed to not let that get in the way of her feeling free to express herself. i think any therapist would be impressed and surprised at how well you are coping and dealing with what comes along as it has.

 

either way, what ever you decide i do wish you well in what this new year holds for you,  :) i hope you hang out and keep us posted on your story as it unfolds. right now i am coping with having my children spend half of their time at their dad's but some things have occured where i havent been able to see them for months. he is rather using the law against me and the waiting to get into court, especially right before christmas.... anyhow, i can really relate to your feelings about having your dd away from you for her access with her father, and although mine is rather daily it is still the same sort of feelings that you describe you are feeling. even so far as to admit i knew i was having children with a person i couldnt trust, the wrong person and someone i knew i didnt really want to be the father of my children... and who was everything that i know him to be still, i allowed myself to make foolish decisions fora myriad of reasons,  and now my kids are paying the price as well as me :(  anyhow, i didnt mean to take over your thread/post, i am just curious how things will go and look to you for maybe some inspiration on how to cope or deal with it,

 

cheers, vs

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