Once she left things quickly started getting hairy again. It was little things. He went back to playing video games all – the – damn – time. Working stupid long hours, and he started going to the gym too. Or at least, he got a membership… but the “gym” ultimately ends up being someone else’s bed!
We moved to our new place on Nov 31st. Sadly in early January we had to return to Alberta for his grandmother’s funeral. Our plan was to only be there a few days. By the time we got there, he decided he couldn’t miss that much work. So only hours after the funeral, he left to return home. He had convinced me, that because Little Lady #1’s birthday was just around the corner, the kids and I should stay and enjoy her birthday with Grandma & Grandpa. They were planning to come visit us in BC really soon anyways, so we could travel home with them. I thought this was a great idea and I took the bait, we stayed. A couple days after he had left, and before we had even celebrated her birthday… I got a phone call late at night. He was bawling. Through his sobs, he told me, he didn’t want the kids and I to come home.
Um… excuse me?
I just spent a month packing our stuff to move 10 hours away from everything and everyone! I gave him the opportunity to leave us behind, I had suggested the kids and I stay in Alberta and live apart until our oldest finished school in June (which he turned down), after we moved all of our worldly possessions to BC…. he was going to leave us in Alberta now? How could he do this? I was about 20ish weeks pregnant. I was sleeping on a pullout sofa bed in the living room of his parents tiny house, with my 2.5 and 5 year old daughters. I had 2 days worth of clothing for each of us and that was it. I bawled for days.
Everything I had was in our new home with him. All our clothes, our beds, my children’s toys. My escape fund was hidden in the house… yes after everything I had gone through, I had started stashing cash to escape if things ever got bad again. What good was it to me all the way over there?! He had EVERYTHING, except my kids. I was so grateful, that at least I had my kids. I tried so hard to smooth things over. To try and understand what had happened and what had changed for him. Why had he just left us here? I didn’t really get a lot of answers, but I was smart enough to do most of the communication through text. With all the things he had threatened me with before… this time, I would have a paper trail.
He ultimately told me that he didn’t want the kids. That he thought they were better off with me, and said, “they will thrive more in your care in Alberta, than they would with me here.” No matter what happened from here forward, at least he had left us here, that he didn’t want them or me there…. he couldn’t pin taking the kids from him on me. I continued to try and work things out with him. It was pretty stupid really. I should have just let everything we had there go.It was just possessions right? However I didn’t. My life was in that house! The kids and I stayed where we were for weeks. Finally I told him and his mom that I had a doctors appointment in February that I couldn’t miss. I needed to come home for that appointment, and I did. His mom drove the kids and I home to BC. His mom was utterly embarrassed and confused by what her son was doing to me and our kids. She was coming with us not only as a mode of transportation, but also to help me pack to move the kids and I back to Alberta. I should have just stayed in Alberta.
We got back to the home in BC, he was there and waiting for us. Almost immediately, we needed to have a conversation. I was ready to put my foot down and to tell him I was back to pack and leave. If you don’t know this already let me tell you an abuser has a way. They have a way of manipulating every situation to suit them. By the end of this conversation, he had apologized, he had sweet talked, he had gotten everything that he wanted mentally and physically, and the kids and I were not moving. He wanted us to stay. He wanted to work this out. Naive me. I still didn’t know what “this” even was. But I was staying. So his mom stayed a couple days. When she went homem my escape plan went with her. I was stuck.
My abuser sweet talked me into staying… then when the coast was clear, all the same shit started happening again. He was “working” late nights. He was going to the “gym” every night. He was getting called into “work” on his days off. He would make and break plans with our kids because he would get “called into work.” When he was home, he was playing video games with his sound eliminating headphones on. He didn’t interact with the kids. He would snap at them for the littlest things, and tell them to “grow up” or “act your age.” They were acting their age! They were 3 and 5. When they were sad, scared or hurt they would cry, like any young child does. They started feeling the tension in the house. They started seeing mommy worn out, sad and scared. Him and I fought often now. NEVER in front of the kids. We would fight over him never being home. We fought about where he was going and how come he never had days off work, and how he got called in to work on every single scheduled day off. We fought about money. When we moved I had to quit my job, and become a stay at home mom. He was spending all our money on video games. For real, I found his purchase history on his favourite game platform (STEAM.) In the same month I was asking him to take me to the food bank because the kids and I had run out of groceries, and he refused to take me, because “the food bank is for poor people, we aren’t poor.” I discovered he had spent $900 on video games. He spent our grocery money on f***ing games! He was perfectly ok with his pregnant wife and children going hungry. He was eating at work (he worked in a restaurant). I was making whatever I could for the kids with what I had left in my bare cupboards. Myself and my unborn baby were surviving off of whatever my little ladies didn’t eat from their plates. I was sustaining myself and a baby off of sandwich crusts, a few bites of this and a few bites of that. Not enough. He had the audacity to tell me I was exaggerating when I said we didn’t have enough food in the house for me to adequately feed myself and our children.
I told his mom that we had no groceries, and she sent me money. I was so grateful. I remember I got hot dogs and buns so I could bbq for myself and the girls. We were eating outside at the patio table, and I tripped. I fell. I fell hard. I smashed my ribs into the corner of a chair arm, hit my forehead on something and I scraped my hand and knee trying to catch myself. I was very pregnant. Once I caught my breath, because it knocked the wind right out of me, I phoned him. No answer. I phoned again… no answer. I tried and tried…. then, his phone stopped ringing. It went straight to voicemail every time I tried now. I phoned the restaurant to try and get a hold of him. “I’m sorry. He left over an hour ago.” I texted his mom to try and get a hold of him… but she couldn’t either. His phone was off or dead. My baby was still moving, we finished dinner, I cleaned up, I put the kids to bed. He came home and I don’t know when. He lied, he said he was at the restaurant, his phone must have died. I told him he was lying. I told him I phoned the restaurant. He insisted, his staff were wrong, he was there. I was sick of his lying. I was sick of his attitude. I was sick of him mistreating me. Things got bad. Nightly now, he would yell at me after the kids were asleep. He would remind me what an awful mom I was. He reminded me that no one loves me. He told me I should just pack my shit and leave. And again… he would never let me take his kids away from him. He told me he had a lawyer and there’s no way I would get the kids, because I had no job. I had no money. I had no home. I had no family or friends here to help me. The verbal and emotional abuse aside, the abuse yet again came into the bedroom. This time, he would slap me, and choke me during sex. And not in a fun kind of way. I remember him even telling me that this was the only time he could take his frustrations out on me, if anyone asked, he’d just say that I liked it rough. This is when I finally clued in. I FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGED HIM AS MY ABUSER.
All this happened at night…. but during the day, he would suddenly forget what he had said to me the night before. I wasn’t allowed to be grumpy. I wasn’t allowed to let my feelings and depression show. He would invite friends over, usually to play games. He went so far as to invite his girlfriend over one evening. Yup… you read that right. “She’s a friend” but her demeanour told me otherwise. She had no interest in meeting his wife. She sat and played with my kids. She only interacted with them or him. I felt like a piece of furniture inconveniently placed in the room. She didn’t stay long. I could see she was uncomfortable. I would be uncomfortable too if I was “the other woman” meeting my boyfriend’s wife and kids. He said he simply thought she was someone I could make friends with. (Guess who he’s engaged to now.) Still, the tension was rising. The air always felt thick now. My kids would scold their daddy for being rude to mommy. Rude is the only word they knew to describe how daddy was treating me. He would blame me, saying I was turning my children into man haters. I NEVER, not even to this day have I ever spoken ill of their father to them, or in front of them. NEVER!
My final straw... One night after he had his nightly go at me, I walked away. I was going to bed. But as I walked toward my room, I heard two little voices sitting in the dark. My girl’s had been staying up late at night, holding each other in their bed, waiting, listening, to see if daddy would yell at mommy again. To sit and listen to see if we would fight. Something inside me grew. A spark lit a fire that wasn’t there before. I was done and I started looking for a new place for me and the kids. Until now, I still had a good relationship with his parents. I suggested my husband find somewhere else to sleep, and most nights he did. My due date was nearing, and I still let his parents come and visit when they wanted. This next visit was a huge turning point…
His mom and dad were here for a visit, they were staying for about a week. During the week, my husband let his guard down and let his behaviour slip. He let his true colours show. He would get easily frustrated and mad at me over nothing. He was sleeping on the couch, when he wasn’t sleeping elsewhere. I’m going to assume he was at his girlfriends place most nights. He would yell at me, when he thought no one would hear him. He yelled at me that I am the reason he wants to kill himself. That was his reaction to me suggesting he move out, instead of me trying to find a different place that I could afford, big enough for me and 3 kids, and moving the kids again. He did this in front of his parents. They were starting to see what I was seeing. I asked him something I had been wondering ever since I fell and couldn’t get a hold of him. “Will you be here for me when I go into labor?” I made it clear, he was welcome in the room when I gave birth if he wanted, but I didn’t care if he was there. If he wasn’t with me, then he needed to be there to care for our girls while I was giving birth. I looked me dead in the eye, and said, “I won’t promise you that I will.” His mom was even in shock. She even asked him to confirm that what he was saying was that, when I went into labor, he won’t make an effort to be there for the birth nor to care for his children while I’m in hospital. He confirmed. That night, she gave me the option of coming back to Alberta with them in the morning. She would be my support system if her son refused to be. I wasn’t sure. At first I said no to leaving. The next morning as she was packing the van to leave… I told her to wait. I grabbed a big plastic tote, and started filling it with clothes for me and my kids. I grabbed my hospital bag and my unborn baby’s car seat. My children grabbed their favourite stuffies, their night light, I packed my tent and air mattresses, (his mom had a family reunion camping trip planned) we loaded the van, and the kids and I left. The night before, we told him what could happen. He told me he thought I should go. Yet when I went, he was mad. I left while he was at work. I sent him a text telling him, I changed my mind. I was with his parents, and if I went into labour while I was gone, I would let him know. He could try and make it for the birth if he wanted. I told him I was coming back, to live in this house, for him to find a place and move out.
The kids and I had a great visit with his parents in Alberta. We went to parks, and camping, and for ice cream…. we could breathe. I was overdue when we went camping, and I didn’t even care. I was comfortable, I had this weight lifted off my shoulders. We had a plan in the event I went into labour. We were within an hour of a hospital. We had 2 vehicles and grandpa would stay with my girls and grandma would go to the hospital with me. Happily we never had to execute the plan. I had a few contractions here and there, but we made it through our camping trip. So many people I didn’t know were rubbing my belly that weekend lol. We made it back to grandma and grandpa’s house, we packed up all our stuff, and on July 4th we made the 10 hour drive home. Yes it was a long drive, but I tend to labour long. I knew that if I went into labour we would keep going toward home if we were more than half way, and we would turn around if we hadn’t made it halfway yet. We made it home around dinner time on the 4th. Shortly after arriving we went to bed. Good thing…. cuz I woke up at 5 am on the 5th to contractions! They weren’t bad yet, I had a doctors appointment later that afternoon, so I decided I was going to enjoy my morning while I waited for contractions to intensify. I woke everyone up around 8. I insisted I wanted to go to Denny’s for breakfast with both of my girls. I had gone into labour in the wee hours of the morning and was starving. I had a good breakfast, then went grocery shopping and got my mall walk on. My mother in law / ex mother in law… whatever you want to call her at this point, asked if I was feeling ok, and if I’d like to go for a pedicure. Um… hells yeah i do. So we did. Then finally I went to my doctors appointment.
Ooooh, my doctor was mad. Lol. I had missed a lot of appointments because I was in Alberta. She was not happy I traveled that far, being so far along. She was not happy to hear we had driven back just the day before. But good news, I was having a baby! My waters had a slow leak, so they moved me straight from my appointment over to labor & delivery. I was contracting, I was dilating just not enough yet. We just had to wait. Aside from my labor being long as hell, it went pretty smoothly. I finally got the natural mostly unmediated birth I had always wanted, and always let my jackass husband talk me out of. 26.5 hours of labor, the best bedside nurse I could have asked for (multiple times she asked if I wanted her to kick my husband out, because she knew we weren’t together and without details she knew he was abusive.) a few funny moments, and finally 1 push later, my son was born! I was given laughing gas at the very end, because the nurses didn’t believe me I needed to push. They thought it was just the pain of my back labor. Like I had with my girls, I went from like 5cm to 10 and ready to push in like 20 minutes. All of a sudden my ex was like “Uhhhh!” (I was crowning) and I couldn’t stop my body from pushing. He was here. I did not find out the sex of my baby before birth, so I cried tears of joy when grandma announced its a boy. I whipped off his blanket to check for myself. I laughed with tears in my eyes and announced he had a penis! I wanted a boy so bad.
A couple days later, I got to take my son home with me. We were the talk of the nurses station (which was right outside my room) “yeah… 1 push!” “26 hours of labour… 6 seconds of pushing!”
When we got home… my damn ex was still there. He hadn’t found a place to live yet, honestly he wasn’t trying and I was getting fed up. I lived like this for far too long. I just had a baby and I did not have the energy to fight. I gave him more time to find a place and get out. I took the kids to visit a family friend for a week. The week turned into 3. My ex phoned me and told me there was a gas leak in our place, he was waiting on the landlord to get it fixed. Keep the kids and stay at this friend’s place if we can.
Finally I got to go home. He had been partying, it was a mess. Soon after the kids and I left again back to Alberta for a visit. His mom was in it for the long haul. She loved being with us because of her grandbabies. She also felt responsible to help because of her son. When we came back from this visit, he still hadn’t found a place, so his dad came back to BC with us this time. He got online and on the phone. He found a new place for his son within 3 days. By now it was September. I told me ex he has until September 31st to come pick up all of his stuff otherwise he could pick it up from the driveway. He had a home to move it to. He refused. saying he needed longer. I was done I told him we have been separated since the 3rd week of January, with no effort on his part to resolve anything. I was starting October 1st free of him. Guess what he did. HE PICKED UP HIS DAMN STUFF FROM MY DRIVEWAY! Because I grew some damn balls and stuck to my guns…. finally! I hauled a sectional sofa, a king size bed, and all his belongings outside. I’m in charge now.
That was the day I started getting my life back.
Since then, I found my feet, I found my voice. I advocated for my children and myself. I decided to stay in BC, because to this day I believe in putting my kids first. No matter how much my ex doesn’t deserve my help. No matter how much he doesn’t deserve these 3 amazing children… my children deserve to know and have a relationship with their dad. If ever comes a day, that he chooses to step out of their lives, I want to know in my heart, I did everything right. I put my kids first. I made every attempt to facilitate a good relationship with their dad. I have done that. It’s not always easy. There were weeks that he bailed on every visit. There are still times that him and I disagree. But it never affects his ability to see his children. I was the single mom of 3 gig for 3 years. In those 3 years, I proudly provided for my children. I give credit where credit is due. Their father does pay child support. We settled on a balance that helps me, and doesn’t drown him. He has only ever been late paying support once. I am so grateful that he is on top of that. I have never needed financial assistance, I have never needed to ask family for money. I am so proud of myself for that. I am prouder yet, that I’ve been able to continue being a stay at home mom through all of this. I earn an income from home selling makeup & skincare products. I’m not trying to promote my company here, but I do want to say that the confidence I found in myself, the friends that I’ve made, and the support system I have built through my company is noteworthy. I finally felt like I was me again. I had a purpose and a name aside from “Mommy.”
For 3 years I focused on me and my kids. I dated for fun, but not too seriously. I wasn’t looking for a fast and easy relationship. I wanted to focus on me. I wanted to love myself. Value myself. I wanted to be a woman worthy of being my children’s hero. And I have worked every single day to be that woman. This past summer I reconnected with an old friend, and we hit it off immediately. He is now an amazing step dad to my 3 even more amazing tiny humans.
I may have been abused. I may have been broken. But I took the time I needed to put myself back together. I am whole now. My pieces may fit back together a little differently now. And a little more light shines through my cracks than before. But the extra light helps me see and weed out the bullshit. I am no longer a victim. I am a survivor of domestic abuse & domestic violence.
…. and so are my kids.
This is my why… this is why I do everything I do. This is why I push to move our lives forward. This is me, recollecting the hardest part of my life. This is me remembering every detail of my abusive relationship, of all the chances I had to escape, the ones I didn’t take. This is me diving deep into those days to share my story with others. This is me remembering and writing about all the hurt and the fear I felt then. But I am not those things now.
Because I’m not the hurt and the fear any longer…. I am stronger, I am wiser, and I am free.