How to coparent with a new baby on the the way
June 24, 2020 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Any suggestions for how to achieve a good co-parenting relationship when you plan to separate from your partner while a new baby is on the way?

My partner and I have been together for almost 6 years, but the past few years have been rough on our relationship. We had our first child 1 1/2 years ago and I've found parenting to be a bit draining as it feels like I do so much of it alone. My partner loves our son and spends time with him but it feels like I take on 70% of our sons care falls to me, plus I work full-time. In addition, I do most of the domestic labor and we continously bump heads and he spends multiple nights away from home. The relationship has been a source of stress, pain and anxiety for me for the last several years, rather than a place of reprieve. Plus, I'm nervous about how our relationships problems may appear to our son as he grows old enough to notice.

After finding out we were expecting our second child something in me just broke. It became very clear that I couldn't do the same thing twice in a row. I want to separate, move out and work towards an amicable coparenting relationship. My first pregnancy was miserable, lonely, and conflict-ridden, I'd rather have a calm, peaceful pregnancy and focus on caring for our son even if it means that I have to do it alone.

Any suggestions for how to achieve a good co-parenting relationship? He's aware I want to move out and won't be blindsided if I choose to but he'd rather I have an abortion and feels I'm forcing a child on him. Now I just want a work to move past my hurt feelings so that we can create a warm, stable, loving coparenting environment for our kids even if we're apart if at all possible.
posted by CosmicSeeker42 to Human Relations (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Having no children I have no advice except to say, good for you and good luck. My friends who have left their partners have, to a woman, said "I got rid of an extra child, it was so much less work."
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 4:21 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]

I think you have a lot more issues to sort out than some future coparenting plan. ( I have three kids, they're grown and each have kids themselves so I'm speaking as someone old enough to be your mom.) Why should you have to move? You work full-time, have a toddler, and are pregnant; moving is too much, he should be the one to move. He obviously is not committed to equally coparenting the child you already have and doesn't seem to want another child. I imagine you must be completely stressed out at this point. If ever there was a time to see a therapist this is definitely it. And couple counseling, if he's willing. Be really sure you want another child now.

Sending virtual hugs your way.
posted by mareli at 4:55 PM on June 24 [19 favorites]

I'd see a lawyer first to get very clear on his legal/financial responsibilities and what you can expect, even if you aren't married. Also, to get guidance on custody. Sharing custody of a newborn is something I'd try very hard to avoid. Visitation is fine as long as he's not a chaotic force as you're trying to recover and bond, but having your newborn away from you can interfere with your bonding process, make breastfeeding very difficult, and can leave you at higher risk for PPD. Also, if you're working full time and have a toddler and a newborn, have a robust support system set up along with as much financial security as possible. To negotiate the rest of the co-parenting relationship, joint counseling could be very helpful.
posted by quince at 6:14 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]

he'd rather I have an abortion and feels I'm forcing a child on him

Yikes. Is he willing to work with a therapist (both solo and couples) to get past this feeling? Because if he's not very present for his toddler (whom he presumably doesn't feel this way about?), I worry about the impact of this level of resentment on a newborn.
posted by basalganglia at 4:02 AM on June 25 [2 favorites]

So.... he doesn't want to be a parent. Which is fine, except that he is a parent. You can probably force him to pay child support or talk him into a shared custody agreement. But you can't make him *want* to be a parent. It sounds like you're at the end of your rope getting him to do 30% while you're together. Will it get easier if you're broken up? It might be easier to just assume you are going to be 100% responsible for both children and not waste time and energy trying to turn him into a responsible parent. (I think this falls under "if you want something done right, do it yourself ") it may not be fair for you to have to do everything, but it might be easier for now and less stressful for you and the kids. And if you don't want to move, don't move. Kick him out. And reach out to your support system. If one of my friends called me saying that they were in your situation and needed help, I'd play with the toddler for a couple of hours while they went to an appointment or bring over a casserole or run to the store for them.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:27 AM on June 25 [2 favorites]

I have watched a few couples I know go through this, and I will say that, even with two people who are initially very amiable, reasonable people, who want to have an amiable separation and coparenting arrangement, it is very very common for things to, at least initially, be incredibly painful and raw.

This doesn't mean you can't get to an amiable arrangement eventually, but please do, as others have suggested, prepare yourself by talking to a lawyer, a therapist, and any other supportive people in your life, in order to prepare for the storm before the calm. I suspect that, unless your partner and you are in the top 000.1% emotionally mature people in the world, it will take a fair bit of time and hard work in order to get to where you want to be with it.

That said, I wish you strength in following your needs and wants here. You deserve to be happier than you are now. Do what you need to do, reach out to people and ask for help, and whenever things seem impossible remember that time passes, things change, and "this too shall pass".
posted by greenish at 9:19 AM on June 29

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