As a mother of a young child, I feel it's important to stay up on the latest fashions. As such, I just blew the better part of this past year on the DivorceCoaster. Awesome ride. We decided to throw some sawdust on the vomit and stick it out. Whatever that means. Most of my other friends didn’t fare so well.
An old college friend recently revealed his tale of woe to me and 300 of his closest Facebook friends. It goes like this.
Got married. Started a successful business. Got pregnant. Shit hit fan. Divorce. Baby born. Ten months later, Daddy spends his FIRST overnight with baby. His Mini-Me is nary 1 year old and as far as I can tell, has never lived with Mommy and Daddy in the same house.
I know what you’re thinking. Bro must have done something super f-d up.
I’m not one to associate with riffraff as I grew up in Guilford, Connecticut, and that is just not done. I am confident enough in my friend’s stand-up-guyish-ness that he would not merely provide a safe environment for the little one, but would do it with the style and commitment worthy of an Olympic athlete.
So why has he been denied access to his son for 10 months? Looking through the photos on Facebook, it is clear he had a few hours of visitation here and there, but no true infant-parent bonding time. Reading this morning's post recounting the first 48 hours solo with his baby, I could hear the tears shorting out his laptop as he typed. Some commentary suggested that a nursing mom needs that 24/7 bonding time with baby, and shipping him off to Daddy would interrupt that bond.
I call bullshit on that one. God contracted Medela to design a line of expensive, yet effective breast pumps for a reason.
When my dude was born, I was no better equipped to care for him that he was for himself. I had never changed a diaper or fed a child. I was 37-years-old. I knew absolutely nothing except for what the interwebs told me.
Adding insult to injury, my little guy was sentenced to NICU for a couple of weeks. My husband was there at 4 a.m. until he had to catch the train for work. He held his tiny hand through all sorts of medical procedures.
I almost never went to see him. I was recovering from a C-section and now realize that I was suffering some pretty hard-core postpartum, but still. I’m not proud of it.
Today, you touch my cub and I’ll cut you. End of story. But looking back, I don’t see how I could have ever been considered a more fit parent than his dad.
So, when it comes to who gets what in the divorce, should the dad automatically get cut out of the infant years? Or, as my friend put it, is the "father's job in an infant's life simply to make money to pay child support, and otherwise he should just stay out of the way and wait until the child is old enough to play catch in the backyard?"