You may remember a post about three months ago about my husband and I strongly disagreeing on whether or not our two month old daughter should be vaccinated. I broached the subject of divorce, and revealed that I’d taken her for her two month immunizations without telling my husband. I ended up deleting the post shortly thereafter after I received some fairly cruel messages from some members of the community.
I left out quite a few details in the original post, merely stating that my husband and I are polar opposite on the topic, and wondering if this was a divorceable issue. I wanted the community’s general take on it - was this such a big issue that it was worth splitting over?
The most important detail I left out was that divorcing over this wasn’t my idea, but his. On the way home from the hospital after giving birth, he told me that he would divorce me if I vaccinated her. The second most important detail was that he is extremely dependent on cannabis, and I’ve seen first-hand that the paranoia they say cannabis brings about is all too real. There is no conspiracy theory out there that he doesn’t fervently believe. (Example: I messaged him today with a video of me dropping a ball in front of our daughter and mentioned that I was explaining gravity to her. His reply? “If you buy into that.” GRAVITY. If you buy into GRAVITY.) Thirdly, this was an emotionally abusive relationship. I’d been quite controlled, to the point where he tracked me via GPS wherever I went, and if my phone were to die when I was out without him, he’d come find me. I had no friends in the city we lived in, and spent most days inside because of his questions whenever I did want to go anywhere. When I did go out, I had to be in touch at all times, usually needing to send photos to prove where I was (and that I wasn’t with anyone). And finally, the last pertinent point I didn’t mention was that I was the only income earner in the family. I’d been supporting us for three years at that point.
I had quite a few people tell me I’d be doing my child a disservice if I left, because single parent homes aren’t as healthy as dual parent homes, and have been shown to raise the risk of depression in teens. I also had people raise concerns that I’d be doing my child a disservice by leaving, because I would now be poor and raising her in sub-par conditions (unless I marry Chris Pratt...?! That comment was a bit out of the blue). I was further told I’d be doing my child a disservice by not trying to work things out with her father, as every child needs a relationship with their dad.
Well, I left two weeks ago, after telling my husband that I’d vaccinated our daughter. It was messy and sad and scary. I almost backed out of my decision a hundred times. I didn’t sleep for weeks, wondering if I could do it... if I should do it.
Two weeks in, I can say without a doubt in my mind that my daughter is happier. At five months old, all she knows is that now we leave the house and go on walks every day, I laugh and smile much more often, and she isn’t witness to fights all day, every day. I am certain she misses her father, and I’ve told him he can see her whenever he wants. I do agree that a child should have a relationship with both parents, and I hope she can have that. But... not at the expense of modelling an unhealthy relationship to her. Not at the expense of needlessly exposing her to diseases she needn’t be exposed to. And not at the expense of my own mental and emotional well-being.
I’m only two weeks in, and it is hard. Very, very hard. I tip my hat to all you single parents out there, and welcome any advice you can give me. I run my own business online (graphic design), and am lucky to be able to work at night while she sleeps. What with still trying to unpack, deal with my soon-to-be ex husband’s response to all this (he’s certain there’s someone else), trying to maintain my business, and most importantly, give my daughter a stable environment, I’m pretty tired these days. But life seems to be looking up.
Edit: I wrote this just as I am heading to bed. I’ll respond to comments in the morning - I know last time some people were a little upset I wasn’t responding to everyone in a timely manner. It was tricky with a wee one!