Written by Laila Al-Hakim
From the very first moment I laid eyes on my little bundle of joy 13 months ago, I have been in love. Actually, from the moment my pregnancy was confirmed, I began thinking of all the ways I would express the love I have for my daughter. And although very hard at times, a part of properly loving my daughter is helping to maintain a positive and healthy co-parenting relationship with her dad.
Backstory: My relationship with my daughter’s father fizzled to hurt and pain by the time I was 4 months pregnant. We ended things and (whew chile!), for a period of time after our breakup, my life was the unreleased alternate video for Vivian Greene’s biggest and only hit, Emotional Rollercoaster. We were up and down. Hot and cold. On and off. Basically, toxic. I just couldn’t get over how something so beautiful could quickly fade into nothing. But it did. And that was the harsh reality of the situation.
For me, spirituality, the love of my family and friends, the womanly wisdom of my doula, books, and most importantly, the love I had for my growing baby, is what kept me grounded. All praise is due to The Most High.
Don’t get it twisted, I was a little bitter. Alright, maybe I was more than a little bitter. And after my daughter was born, things between her dad and I seemed to get even worse. We, as parents, couldn’t see eye to eye on much of anything. I was still harboring hurt and pain from our failed relationship while pregnant. And for a moment, everything that didn’t go right in my life, I put on him.
But as I began to feel more comfortable in myself as a new mom, things became less about what he did or didn’t do, and more about what was best for my daughter. Sure, there were times I actually did tell him to go away forever. But the fact is, my daughter didn’t ask to be here. It was us who brought her into this world. And I feel it is our responsibility as her parents to give her the best that we each have to give with as little drama as possible. Period.
As I began to feel more comfortable in myself as a new mom, my mindset moved from pain to power.
What I’ve come to understand is: the more I focus on my growth as a woman and mother, the less time I have for conversations and behaviors that intrude on my peace of mind. This understanding has been a game-changer for me in my dealings with my daughter’s father.
Yes, there are still times when he plucks the last nerve I have left for the day. But at the end of the day, all I can control is my behavior and my reaction to whatever the situation is. These days, I have decided to embark on the journey of choosing joy in all areas of my life.