Let me start by saying I love my children.
Like most mothers, I didn't know the extent of the powerful love that comes when you hold your child in your arms for the first time. During pregnancy (or adoption or however you become a mother) you start to love the idea, and you may start to love the child... but the moment you hold *your* child, the love is almost overwhelming.
When Butterfly was born, it was a horrible experience in terms of having any support. My ex-husband and his family wanted things to go smoothly... for them. For me to raise the baby so she doesn't wake them or annoy them with crying, don't do anything out of the ordinary because when you have to explain your choices, its annoying... you know as long as she & I fit in this "perfect" mold, then everything would be ok.
Only it wasn't... I wasn't perfect and they didn't think she was either. Within weeks I learned to start thinking that maybe I was strong enough to make decisions that might be different from what they wanted. Then I started acting on them. By the time she was a few months old there were serious fights (mostly verbal and emotional) about what should be my decisions because I was the only one who had to put the work in or deal with the consequences.
When I found my voice and fought back to do what I truly thought was best for my baby, it tore things apart. We continued to fight about who was right and who was wrong for months after he packed my bags and I left.
We agreed on a dissolution when she was 2 1/2, right after I met my husband, then I was married, Butterfly turned 3 and then my ex-husband decided to start using his time to see Butterfly. I could only fight to help her through the changes, not to fix it.
But then he blew up one night at the end of a visit, about wanting her more and drug her into it, and I found myself fighting to not have my daughter hate me for what he was telling her. I was fighting for my child to believe me that I wanted what was best for her, I felt that I was fighting for my daughter to still love me.
He took me back to court and for a year and a half I fought. I fought to make sure that he was going to have to be responsible when he had her. I fought that he would feed her real food and not junk, with the backing of the pediatrician. I fought that the counselor was right and Butterfly had stress-induced anxiety. I fought that she needed help coming out of her new shell, that homeschooling was best for her, that I was still trying to socialize her. I fought that nothing else was wrong with her, leading to me fighting to prove she did not have autism, just too much stress. I fought that the stress was not all my fault. I fought that me adding a baby sister and baby brother was equally as hard as him adding a baby brother to her life. I fought until there was nothing reasonable left to fight. Now with a final court order I hope there is no more to fight but to help her through the back and forth of a more typical arrangement.
During this time I fought through 2 pregnancies as well. My pregnancy with Ladybug led us to fighting through my husband getting a new job, that required travelling. I was really sick during her pregnancy and had to fight the urge to move in, un pack, and settle in to our new house because fighting to get through each day was more than enough. I fought to keep friends for myself and for Butterfly. I fought the hopelessness of the post traumatic stress from her pregnancy that just got worse when I found out I was pregnant again and then the court battle started.
All the appointments and phone calls and time I had to spend looking things up and typing things out and keeping records. All the time I spent trying to find more ways to pinch pennies so they we could afford to keep up with the appointments and therapies, as well as to get through court and keep the attorneys.
Everyday I had to fight the guilt, I felt like I was missing out on my children s lives.
So I started looking forward to this summer, summer of 2012. I was going to have my kids help me plant a garden and start doing projects around the house. We were going to start a much more fun Home school curriculum with science experiments and projects. We were going to have at least one field trip a week and hang out more with friends. We were going to NOT FIGHT...
Then in February, something happened. In March the court battle ended as I entered a fight to find out if I was going to be okay. In April I had surgery, and it seems the stress has gotten to me and my body couldn't handle it. So now I am fighting this summer. I am fighting in hopes that I will have the rest of my life to enjoy not fighting anymore. So I just had major surgery to remove the rest of the problem and now I am looking down a long road of recovery. One that includes me fighting myself and my own feelings because a major part of the recovery process includes doing something that is going to be a discussion point with my daughters and I with me being on the side against what I am doing.
Fighting for your children is right, fighting to have your children is right, fighting for better quality of life is good, and fighting for what you believe in is right... so for my family, my children, and myself, I will keep fighting this fight.