Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Journey through Breastfeeding and Visitation

Breastfeeding & Visitation
I can remember the strange guy walking up to me paper's in hand. I had known in the back of mind this day was coming.  I had hoped and prayed it wouldn't.  I even had my self almost convinced it wouldn't, but here it was.  He asked for me by last name, but it was my married name, I told him no it wasn't me.  Almost as if it would stop this moment.  Like it wasn't happening.  Then he asked with my maiden name.  “Yup that's me”, “you have official been served.”  And he got in his car and drove off.  I didn't even have to open the manila envelope I held in my hand, my world was crumbling around me and I couldn't move.  I sat down on the ground right there, and cried.  I have two older children by a different Father so this should be easy. I have been through it before.  What made this so different, some may ask.  This baby had been raised different than the other two.  This was my Attachment baby.
                            I started to go back to the very 1st moment, sitting right there on the ground.  It all started with an email.  And then a drive to meet him.  He was cute, really cute.  We were both nervous but really liked each other.  So I stayed the night.  And then the next day he said he loved me and I believed him.  He moved in not to long after.  We looked at houses to move into and talked about getting married.  We also talked about having a baby.  I wrapped the pregnancy test in a little box with a bow and he came home from base and opened it.  He wasn't as happy as I had pictured he would be.  But I pretended he was.  Well that didn't last long and he was gone.  I got the it's not my baby.  He saw me once or twice while I was pregnant and then he was born.  I called him and told him and he said he might try and make it up.  So I sent to two text messages w/ pis of the baby and he came up.  He teared up a little or maybe it my brain playing tricks on me.  He looked just like his daddy.  He told me he would come back and see him before we went home.  The baby ended up in NICU the next morning and he never showed back up.  So I brought my little man home and decided I would forget about the daddy.  I could do this on my own.  I had done it before. 
                       I breastfed exclusively, wore him in a sling, co-slept, and didn't let anyone watch my precious little man.  I had lost a baby 6months before getting pregnant with him and so I wasn't going to share him with anyone!  But I started to wonder once in awhile if his daddy ever thought about him.  So when he was 3months old I called him up.  He met me at a restaurant held him for a few moments and told me if I wanted to move out of state he wouldn't stop me.  His words “I have screwed up your life enough, I won't screw it up anymore”, hit me hard.  What Screw up my life?  You gave me the most amazing child ever.  And that was that.  He walked away.  That is until Child Support got started.  I got the it's not my child a lot.  When Keegan was finally 6months old we got a DNA test to prove to him he was his.  And he was. So I still wasn't worrying about visitation.  He would pop in when he felt like it and I let him.  I figured along as we weren't fighting everything would be ok.  Well then it happened.   We fought.  And then we didn't talk at all, for months no word.  And then I am sitting on the ground crying.  I called my mom and my dad, and a couple of friends.  I was grasping any emotion I could.  Anyone to tell me what I wanted to hear.  I wanted to hear this wasn't happening.  I wanted to hear he couldn't do this.  That wasn't happening.  Why wasn't that happening.  And then I started thinking, what about our breastfeeding relationship.  What about our co-sleeping relationship.  I have never left him with a sitter for more than an hour or two. He dosent' even know this man.  I don't want him to know this man.
                    So I can remember one of the 1st thing I did was email the creator of The Leaky B@@B.  One of my fav. Facebook pages.  I thought my fellow Leakies could help out.  I wanted to know how to stop it.  I wanted to know how I could get it so he didn't get to see him.  I didn't want to have to hand over my baby.  I still didn't want to share.  I wasn't ready to share. I also started on a frenzy calling attorney's that dealt with attachment parenting cases, especially breastfeeding cases.  To my surprise there wasn't one.  I don't live in a Huge town but it isn't small ether, and I couldn't find one damn attorney that would back me up the way I wanted them too.  So I found the one attorney that calmed me every time I talked to him.  Yup I said it HIM.  His wife was a fellow breastfeeding, co sleeping, baby wearing, cding mama. And he had this way about him that was so soothing.  And then the post showed up on The Leaky B@@B.  I was bitter/sweet when I started reading the comments.  I didn't hear most of what I wanted to.  I still didn't want to share.  But I did get some AMAZING links.  And advice.  I also spent the next couple days staring at this amazing little boy I had kept to myself.  I only wanted to do what was I felt was best for him.  I wanted to shield him from the big ugly mean world.  And this big mean daddy that had hurt his mommy.  He was an asshole in my book.  A looser.  I had Keegan's best interest in my mind.  Or so I thought at the time.
                                  I had a Focus on Children class I had to attend through the court system in a couple days, and my 1st thought was the paper says NO KIDS!  Well that doesn't apply to me, I am Exclusively Breastfeeding. I never leave my baby with anyone.  How am I suppose to go to this 3hr class and leave him.  So I did what any irrational person would do. I called the court house, and argued with the lady in charge of the class.  Of course I got the, honey the rules are the same for everyone, NO KIDS.  She did let me know it was my choice to show up to the class and if I chose not to I would be the one with the contempt of court charge.  So I got my sitter and pissed off at the world and especially this asshole for making me leave my son to go to this stupid class, and I headed out.  When I walked into the court room I thought what a joke.  This is such BS I have to be here. 
                             And the 1st speaker got up and started talking.  I of course was too pissed off to listen, until they brought in the family court judge.  OUR JUDGE.  And he went on to explain that it was in our children's best interest to settle out of court.  What?  What was this guy thinking.  I didn't want to settle I wanted to fight, I was looking for a fight.  He poked the momma bear and this momma bear was mad.  And then he started to tell us why.  And the effect it had on the children involved.  I have never cried so hard in front of people.  I was not going to let my little man go through this.  And then he said it loud and clear. It was almost like the walls shook, “If the case ends up in court NEATHER parent gets what they want.” “ We make sure of that.”  The best interest is now in the hands of a stranger.  A STRANGER.  Is that what I had thought Keegan's best interest was, a strangers choice.  This stranger didn't carry him all day in the sling.  This stranger did feed him at his breast till he feel asleep.  This stranger didn't wakeup 12 times a night making sure he was still breathing.  He didn't know what was best for him.  I did.  I was his mommy.  I was the protester.  We watched a video that featured children in it talking about schedules and visitation and some were crying.  Heart broken their parents were fighting every time they got picked up and dropped off.  They asked why couldn't they just get along for that moment.  I remember the most amazing thing saying I heard in that class was, “Kids know a rock when they got one.”  He explained it as there is almost always one parent that is the Splitting parent.  The parent that calls the other one names, wants to know what is going on at the other's house, and having the child be a message carrier.  When your child grows up it will turn to the rock when in crisis and in need.  It will know that rock is always gonna be there for him/her.  I had decided at that moment that I wanted to be that Rock.  I didn't want to be the splitter.  I wanted to be the bigger person.  I  wanted my son to be happy.  I didn't want to have to hand over a screaming child.  I learned that almost any parenting schedule will work for children whose parents are cooperating.  And so I went home and nursed my little man to sleep. When I woke up the next day I went to see my attorney. He wanted me to write down three things. One was the visitation I wanted to give him.  Two the most visitation I would give him, and three the least amount of visitation I would give him.  Well I had a hard time doing that.  I still didn't want to share, but I had some paperwork for my attorney.  I had printed off a couple articles that had been suggested to me through my question on The Leaky B@@B.  One was from                     LLLI, it was the breastfeeding relationship and visitation.  AMAZING article.  I loved it.  I could retype the whole article for you but I am sure you can read it yourself!!  One huge thing I took from it was they are only little for so long.  5Yrs is going to go by so quick.  Why is the other parent insitant on every other weekend?  Is it because that is the norm?  Well In my case it wasn't going to be.  Remember I wanted the best for Keegan.  I had to convince his dad to feel the same way I did.  Ha you mean the guy I hadn't talked to in months, the guy that broke my heart, the guy that took me to court instead of coming and talking to me!!  Yeah that guy. Well in that article it talks about the kind of parenting style the mother has done with the child under Visitation plans.  Read it, and then reread it again.  Make sure you memorize it.  And then just when you think you have it down.  READ it again.  Because it's just at that moment when you find something else you were missing.  So I highlighted all the points in this article I felt pertained to my situation and gave it to my attorney.  And then he brought up the question I had been waiting to hear.  I knew it was coming.  You know he is a year old now and the courts aren't huge believers in extended breastfeeding, so when do you plan on quitting so we have a time line we can work with.  Well I don't plan on quitting.  I am in this for the long haul.  I am going to let him self wean.  And I brought you a letter for that too.
  So I left the office that day feeling pretty good.   Keegan had to have surgery and per the court papers I had to let the dad know of the surgery and when it was and where it was.  Now did I want him to go, HELL NO.  I wanted to be the bigger person.  I really did.  But that didn't mean I wanted to face him.  That didn't mean I didn't want to rip his eyes out.  I hated him.  He was taking me to court!  For MY son.  MY son.  So I tried to send the email 5times and all 5times I hit cancel.  But I didn't want to screw up the case so on the 6th time I hit send.  And I got an answer very quick.  Thank you I'll be there.  NOT the words I wanted to read.  So the night before the surgery I of course didn't' sleep at all.  It wasn't because I was scared of the surgery.  Nope that didn't scare me at all. This would be the second time we went through this.  I was scared because I had to face him.  I won't lie I prayed all night he wouldn't show up  I thought in the back of my mind how bad it would for him if we had to go to court.  I wished his car would break down on the way.  And we got there.  No dad.  They called us back, No dad.  10Min's to surgery and I heard the nurse say I think they are right here.  I swear I almost puked on myself when I saw him walk into that room.  And when I was asked who he was I squeakily answered this is Bio-dad.  Not that he had another dad.  But I sure in the hell wasn't gonna give him the credit.  They took my little man back and this time I didn't cry.  I was too pissed off that he was there.  So we were sitting in the waiting room and I tried to not say anything at 1st but I couldn't my stupid mind had played tricks on me, I didn't hate this asshole that had broke my heart, I still loved him.  So after surgery we were headed out to the car and I said “If you would like to come and see him you can.”  He said “I would like to sit down with you and talk about the visitation if we can.  We don't have to go to mediation, if we figure it out together.”  And I said we will see.  So him and I sent a couple emails back and forth about not going to mediation.  He couldn't afford the 120.00 hr. and I only could because I didn't' have to pay for it.  So I talked to my attorney and he said do it.  It will let us know what he wants.  So I wrote up what I wanted, printed off the same paper work I gave the attorney. Highlighted everything he needed to read.  And grabbed the book Focus on Children.  It was time for me to convince him everything I felt.  I showed up to the library and we sat down.  I had asked him to write down what he wanted and asked him for it and he said he didn't have to write it down he wanted every other weekend.  Yeah NOT!  No way I am thinking to myself.  One thing I learned from the Focus on Children Class was that in the stater of Idaho, in most cases no judge will just hand a child over that does not know the other parent.  So I handed him my paper.  And it read as follows:
1hr a day for two weeks you must come to my house to see Keegan.  This is the fastest way to get a child to know someone.  And it is on the child's territory so the child feels safer.  He said no at 1st and then my tongue moved faster then it ever had. I was quoting the pages I had highlighted. I really didn't even know I had them memorized.  And he got it.  He understood that Keegan would only be little for a short time.  That soon he wouldn't be breastfeeding and needing mommy all day.  He understood that he needed short frequent visits. He understood that breastfeeding Keegan till he slef weaned, and the attachment parenting  I was doing was what was best for Keegan.   Then: for 6months you get Keegan-
Tues and Thurs from 5-7pm.  I will drop Keegan off at your house.  I chose this time because my older daughter has gymnastics and I would love to be able to watch her once in awhile.  And  that is one of Keegan's most behaved times of the day. Also if you drop the child off then it is less traumatic normally because the child dosent' have to stop what it is doing to leave.  That is when most parents have problems.  A child normally doesn't ever want to stop what it is doing.   And I had put every Sat. from 10-2.  I know this seems like a lot to some and not much to others.  The whole point of a phased in visitation schedule is so the child gets use to going with the other parent.  The other point of so many days was young children don't have the longterm memories us adults do.  After 3 or 4 days a very young child won't remember as well.  Then every six months the sat. hours went up.  10-4, then 10-6.  They stayed at 10-6 till he SLEF WEANS.  That was written in cap's through out  the parenting plan.  His dad didn't want every sat. as he has drill weekends and needed at least one weekend to himself.  So in the end we ended up with Tues and Thurs and every other Sat.  All it took was one email sent out.  And him and I were in agreement.  It started with one person being the bigger person.  One person saying “I'm sacred to death to talk to this person, but I have to think about the child involved not my feelings.”  It took the other person following the lead and saying yeah it is about the child.  You can't use the excuse well I don't know his number or how to get a hold of him.  If you got served your attorney can get his number, email address.  If you can't put your feelings aside for the sake and well being of your child then you can't say you want whats best for your child.  I say lets grow-up, lets take back our parental rights and leave the courts out of making the life changing decisions for our children.  Put your excuses away!!!  So Keegan went to his dads house for a couple Tuesday's, and Thursday's and he just cried and screamed when I dropped him off so his father and I decided for the time being he would come to my house to see Keegan.  I can say that sitting in the same room with Keegan's father kills me every time as I still love him, but we have a happy, healthy 18 month old son and his happiness is what matters to us. 

Please Google,  Focus on Children Class it will pull up one of the books they handed out in the Focus on Children Class.  It is an amazing resource.  . 


Monday, January 31, 2011


Why did I finally decide to start a blog.  Well it all starts with my favorite page on Facebook,  The Leaky B@@B!!  I went to the page for help one day.  I really needed some advice.  And who do I go to when I need some advice or kind words of encouragement, my fellow Leakies!!  Well in the end I got my advice and a few months later Emailed The Leaky B@@B and told her how my situation went and she asked me to write a guest blog.  I put this off for a couple of weeks.  I was scared I had never written a blog before.  I didn't know what to say.  I had helped out a few fellow leakies on this situation and knew what to say to them.  But writing a blog. That was a whole other world!!
                  So I sat down one day at the computer to start writing and nothing came out.  What in the world.  I even emailed The Leaky B@@B and told her I had no idea what to write but that I would start on it soon.  Then it happened.  And once I started typing I couldn't stop.  It all just flowed out of me.  It was like a dam had opened and while I was typing I was crying!  It was the most exhilarating feeling I have ever had!  It was amazing.  I didn't think getting my feelings out there would be that wonderful.  I felt like someone had cut me open and the whole world could see inside me.  It was scary and amazing all at the same time.  I was like the roller coaster ride you are too scared to get on and while you are on it you are screaming to get off, and the moment you do, you get back in line to do it all again!! 

             So here I am, I am gonna tell my story to the world.  Well maybe not the world but to whom ever will listen!!  :-)