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'I'll admit it: I'm divorced because I didn't put my marriage before my son.'

There’s good, solid advice for relationships after having a baby: remember to pay attention to each other, your partner should still be a priority, you both have needs and should look after one another.

Excellent advice, which I totally ignored. I didn’t put my marriage before my son, and it was a decision I consciously made. People love to blame their spouse for the breakdown of their marriage, but I’ve always known it was largely my fault.

WATCH: Classic mum phrases. Post continues below.

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Of course, there were other factors; but having a child highlighted the imbalance in my marriage and I noticed it, when my husband did not. As a mum, I felt my son needed more attention than anyone else. He deserved that.

My kid, Winston, who’s now almost 13, was a much-wanted IVF baby. My husband and I had been trying for two years, and when I finally conceived, I felt like it was a miracle.

My husband, whom I’d been with for my entire 20s, had two kids already. My obstetrician even sat me down to explain I shouldn’t expect my husband, who was 21 years older than me and who’d had his first child eighteen years prior, to behave the same as a young dad having his first kid, and embarking on the journey of fatherhood.

“You’re at different life stages,” he warned me.

You may not agree with that advice, but the man had been delivering babies for 40 years, and he’d seen everything. When he told me that, I didn’t flinch. I realised I didn’t care what my husband would or wouldn’t do. I knew that, even then, although I wasn’t conscious of it.

I never thought about the fact my husband didn’t talk to my bump – or even touch it. Of course, that was odd behaviour, but I just didn’t notice; I was so caught up in enjoying this longed-for pregnancy.

And actually, I don’t regret that, because Winston came hurtling into the world after an emergency C-section at 32 weeks, so I’m glad I got to concentrate on the pregnancy experience, rather than worry about what was going to happen in my marriage.

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The moment Winston was born, I became a completely different person. This kid was the best thing that had ever happened to me, and my greatest achievement. He was perfection, and my life was perfection because of him.

 

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#tbt A time when this kid could fit in my lap ❤️ (and also when thin eyebrows were cool) #feelingsentimental

A post shared by Nama Winston (@namawinston) on

And then, the person I’d been before to my husband and his side of the family – a dutiful wife, daughter-in-law and stepmother – disappeared.

Apart from my stepson – who adored his little bro – the rest of the family seemed to expect I’d continue my roles without any downtime, still at 110 per cent. Even worse, they felt comfortable letting me know I was disappointing them.

For example, I was told, by my husband, that his parents didn’t care for the chicken pasta dinner I’d prepared for them one night. The expectation was that I didn’t cook it again. Winston was eight weeks old at the time, and I said I felt they were lucky they got anything at all.

I guess in fairness you could say they tried to talk to me about it; but I thought their expectation and desire for me to be the same person, and give them the same sort of attention, was ridiculous.

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But I was wrong. It mattered to them that I had withdrawn myself, and it mattered to my husband. Of course it did. I had changed and he didn’t understand why. He didn’t understand what my problem was.

The thing is, if it still mattered to me, I would have tried harder. But it didn’t – I didn’t care about any family member for whom Winston was not the centre of the universe.


It was a vastly different attitude to the one I’d had BC – before child. For a decade, I’d taught my husband that he and his world was my everything. After Winston changed my life, I simply didn’t have the capacity to continue as before.

This is why I say my marriage ended because of me. I absolutely did not put my husband before my son. I was in love with someone much more significant.

Bottom line is, I changed – not my husband. I just didn’t want to concentrate on anyone else, anymore. I eventually left for this (and other complicated reasons), two-and-a-half years later.

To this day, after 10 years, Winston is still my number one guy; and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Feature image: Instagram/@namawinston

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