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Hi D,

I just read your post and haven't read any of the responses, which seem to be copious.

Let me preface my thoughts with a little history. I'm a single mom of two who separated from an abusive husband when my kids were a baby and a toddler. The divorce was devastating, destructive on every front imaginable for my kids and for me. Physically, emotionally, socially. I spent two years in full blown no holds barred battle with the father of my children out of fear of their safety first and foremost and then out of fear of safety combined with lack of judgement and moral character in general. I fought, reacted, asserted, advanced, withdrew, cried, screamed, threatened, attempted collaberation, invited, cried more and eventually decided that a therapist to learn more about why this guy pushed every button I had to engage with him only to my detriment and more importantly to my kids detriment every time.

The smartest thing I did was cry uncle and see a therapist and admitted that I felt that I couldn't find a solution. The key here is that I needed to learn more about what it was that I was afraid of about the involvement of their father and what I could do to not allow his piece in the puzzle to effect thier interaction or respect for me and the life we live as a family separate from their dad.

You may have the best of opportunity if the father isn't involved in your life. A commitment to therapy to see where your issues prevent you from having the influence and consistent direction with your child that leave you feeling like you have some control in your life may be the key. The dad may come and go. You provide consistency, love, safety, encouragement and joy. Count on it being the message that your child recieves if that's the message you send.

I know that this may sound ambiguous. Do your personal work. Consult with a good attorney about those things you don't understand or need a legal opinion about. If you don't have an attorney, ask friends who have had one with good results. If you know an attorney personally, ask him or her who she would use if in the same situation as you are.

More than anything, don't be timid. You are the best advocate for yourself and your babe. If you don't feel comfortable with what that means for you personally or how to go about it, cast away all shyness and ask for help from all the people in your life who you trust and respect.

I wish you luck and the willingness to believe in yourself!
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