Divorcing my ex-husband is far and away the best decision I ever made: for my children, for my mental health and for my future. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my new marriage. So it caught me entirely off-guard when I reacted poorly to news that his new wife was pregnant.
Through tears, I told my husband, “This is so stupid! Why do I even care?” My rational brain saw that it really didn’t affect me, but my emotional brain wasn’t convinced.
The next morning, after sleeping on it, I was much calmer – able to try to process what exactly transpired in my brain.
It occurs to me that there is one way he can still get to me – and that’s through our shared children. I often say that were it not for his involvement in their lives — and his impact on them — I would be entirely apathetic to his very existence. As they say, the opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy. I am in that space with him, minus our children.
But when someone has 50% of your children’s time; has a strong position of influence on those you love most in the world, apathy isn’t an option. Shared custody opens up an express lane directly into your heart.
And that’s why I failed to feel apathy at the news last night.
This new baby doesn’t have a lot of impact on me, per se. I don’t have much contact with my ex-husband and his wife and likely won’t have much contact with their child.
What gets me is that this baby will have a relationship with my children that is entirely external to me. They will have a sibling whom I don’t even know. They’re starting a life-long relationship that will most likely be very meaningful. There is a big piece of their lives that will exist totally separate from me and that is what hurts.
That is what’s frightening.
New Baby = Big Changes
Now I guess this separation happens naturally as any child grows up. They develop friendships, go on school trips, even head off to college forming bonds and engaging in activities we as parents know little about. But for it to happen at the tender age of eight feels – well, sad, and in a way, scary.
Regardless of my feelings, this train is rolling and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s happening.
What I can do is ask questions. Connect with my babies during this time of change. I can inquire how they feel about the baby. I can share in their excitement. This is what I’ll do.
I can support them loving this new part of their lives.
Even if I don’t.