I cannot imagine how mothers separated from their children must feel. Total separation from my children would probably result in a period of complete devastation. How long would it take to come out of that? How long would it be until I would decide to continue living with only hope that one day soon, I would hold my child again?
Fortunately for me, my separation from my children lasted only a short time, and it was not long between visits. (Ha! I can say that now.) My ex did not run away with them or try to keep me from seeing our boys (except for one or two threats that he didn’t – couldn’t – back up with action). What I went through with the family court system was hard enough for me.
Keep in mind that although it is possible for you to lose custody of your children, it is not the norm. Usually, mothers retain custody. There’s a great cheat-sheet of things you should know before going to court that will help your cause here. I know it’s tough reading. I plan to break it down in the days ahead.
And if you do lose custody, “a study of cases brought to appeal showed reversals in the mothers’ favor when domestic violence was considered” (Daniel Saunders, PhD). So always appeal an initial horrible judgment, and find an attorney who is well-versed in domestic violence from the get go.
A woman named Catherine recently submitted her story to Break Your Silence. I followed the link to her blog and discovered two-years worth of writing about her experience with abuse and the following loss of visitation with her children.
It seems as if three of the four of them are now with her, but the youngest resides with his father, and daddy won’t allow visitation. Recently, she posted a video to her son “Bogey” who she hasn’t seen since her divorce from his father in 2006. Her son is now 12-years-old, and as she states in the video, he can now legally contact her if he wishes.
My heart dropped at the “if he wishes.” After six years with his father, six very impressionable years, God only knows what he believes about his mama.
Nevertheless, his mother is making some videos for her son. She tells him she loves him, misses him, and relays a story about the little dog on her lap. She does all of this without sounding panicked and without crying. I think that is very brave.
The great thing about a youtube video is that it will be there as long as she leaves it there. When her son decides to look for them (his sister probably told him about the videos during her visit), he’ll see his mama, strong and loving, waiting for him. Always there for him.
It is painful enough for you to endure separation from your child, but your child cannot readily express the pain they feel. They might not know why they are in pain! But remember, no matter what the abusive parent says about you, your child will want to know you.
A glimpse of you would be a welcome gift. Can you imagine their expression if they just happened across a video made for them by you?
I hope Catherine’s idea brings some comfort to those of you who the court system failed. Catherine’s blog is at Catherine Landers – Recreating Myself, and here is her latest video to “Bogey”: