A year ago today…
I’d been doing the Freedom Program, but was still in touch with S’s father from time to time. I got a name and number for him, of a lady who ran counselling sessions for perpetrators of domestic abuse. I told him if he would begin counselling sessions we could talk about setting up regular contact. This was against the advice of my health visitor, the people at the Freedom Program, and all of the friends who knew the details of what had been going on.
He dragged his heels for three weeks, saying things like “we’ll see” and “you make out like I hit you or something” whenever I asked if he’d called the lady about counselling yet.
Eventually, I decided three weeks was plenty long enough for him to make a decision. I emailed him to see if he was at work, put S in the sling, and walked down there (he works 3 blocks along the same road we live on). He came to the door, but positioned himself half in and half out of it, with one arm inside the door where I couldn’t see it. I later found out that was because he was recording our conversation. Which explains why he said the things he said.
I told him, if you’re not going to go to the counselling then please do not contact us any more.
He said “but you always contact me first.” I responded, “I won’t be contacting you in future because you don’t seem interested in S.”
He said “we both know for a fact that S is not in danger with me, she is perfectly safe with me.” I said “that’s not my opinion of the situation.”
He said “I’ll see you in court.” I said “ok great, I’ll bring Social Services with me.”
As I walked away, he shouted up the road at me, “You’re not financially stable, and you’re not emotionally stable enough to raise my child!”
I knew he was wrong; I knew I was a good mother and that S was doing well. But it still shook me up, and I still called my health visitor in tears. I’m not a big one for public arguments, and my stock response when shouted at by anyone is tears. My health visitor (remember how she’s a legend?) referred me to Home Start.
Then I came home, and thought “fuck you. I am a good mother, and I’m perfectly capable of looking after my child without your input, thank you very much.”
He went home, and played the recording to anyone that would sit still long enough. They all agreed that it clearly showed I was crazy, vindictive, nasty, mental, using his child as a weapon, and whatever else – even though he was the one recorded screaming at a mother and her child in the street.
That day, the day S was 4 months old, was the last time her father set eyes on her.
I don’t think she’s missed him.