It wasn’t just her husband that left when this family broke apart…
Four years ago I was a typical Facebook Mum. Happily married (so I thought) with a bumbling joyful three-year-old boy and a 10-month-old daughter.
Then I fell pregnant with our third child and my world shattered.
My husband didn’t want a third baby. He wanted our life back. He wanted the baby phase to end and his wife to be back to the woman who used to meet him for lunch, and early morning swims, who used to talk about movies and plan holidays in locations that didn’t involve a kid’s club.
He wanted me, not another child.
And so he left.
They were dark desperate days. No one quite understands the anguish of having your world destroyed. It's difficult to move on and yet we did.
Four years on I survived.
My kids’ are thriving, happily settled in this new version of our life. It's tough at times as a single mother but you just get on with it. I have my children's love, and a life for myself.
But what I don’t have are my old friends – because it wasn’t just my husband who left me it was my mother’s group too.
It’s an odd system: how you are assigned a mother’s group in your area – all through the local baby health unit who link up new mothers with similar aged babies.
Our mother's group had shared interests – our babies, and similar lifestyles geographically. We were from different cultures and our histories were diverse but we were all new mothers, all married and all were planning baby number two.
There were tears and laughter, shared tales of stitches and pain relief. We grew close over bottles and breastfeeding, over tussles with tantruming toddlers and sleepless nights, over marital fights and our desires (or lack of) for sex.
We became friends, over three years, and through each of our second born children we met up weekly.
When I told them my husband left they were sympathetic and kind. I know that they tried and I know what happened next wasn’t malicious or nasty it was simply thoughtless.
Slowly, I noticed our lives becoming separate, the invitations to family BBQ’s dried up, the girls' nights out became something I noticed on Facebook afterwards, rather than being invited. The play dates were delayed, the coffees were taken at other tables.
It’s a strange mentality to lose an entire band of friends, but slowly one by one they dropped off.
I wasn’t actually that hurt, more puzzled.
I know that being a single mother, I no longer fitted their mold, our lives had separated and diverged. They were uncomfortable talking about their husbands to me, they felt awkward around me and obviously I wasn't actually having sex.
On weekends, I stood out as the singleton and it was probably just easier not to have me around.
It was sad, but not devastating, more that left-behind feeling when friendships pass.
I am not sure what they think of me now when they pass me at school or on the street. Sure they smile and say hello but they don’t often stop to chat or allow me to inquire after their kids. Our once close friendship is now a just a small part of a shared history.
I have new friends who don’t know this, new friends who accept me and my children for who we are and never question who we once were. New friends who don’t hesitate to include us and seem to want to share their lives with us.
I wish them well and hold no bitterness because I understand how difficult it must have been having something so tragic and confronting invade your happy suburbia, but I do wonder exactly why they were frightened of my reality and at times I long for that shared history to allow me in again, just for a moment, so we can reminisce over those long-over baby days.
Did you lose any friends when your life changed?
Want more? Try this: