I don't want to be my son's father any more.

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  • I can't begin to understand what you are going through, but some of the feelings you have expressed I can recognise. I have learned a lot from some of the responses on here and I thank those contributors for their compassion and insight.

    Trying to be a "present" (as opposed to an "absent") father is not always what it is cracked up to be. Having had a childhood where my own father made his priority earning enough money to keep the family together (often juggling three crap jobs a day) I did not manage to develop a loving relationship with him. I let that blight most of my life and could not stand to be near him. I determined that if I had children I would not let that happen to me.

    When I became a father I stayed in a relationship that should never have happened for nearly thirty years, purely for the sake of keeping that promise I made to myself. Recently my youngest daughter, now twenty-five, informed me she cannot remember me ever being at home! Even the best intentions yield little reward at times. I don't know whether it is fair to conclude that we may have enjoyed a more productive relationship had I faced up to other challenges I was burying and put my own needs first. I'll never know, but it still hurts and feels like failure. Incidentally, your comments about public travel made me smile at the indelible memory I have of our Saturday trips into town, where she would scream, fight and cry without seeming to draw breath. Not only did I have to contend with the looks of other people who I knew were judging my failure to "control" my daughter, but on more than one occasion I had to account for the experience to the police who had been contacted by concerned onlookers. Sometimes the police traced me to home by being given my car number, the one that a little screaming, kicking, fighting toddler was being bundled into. Embarrassing, certainly, but I thank those people for being concerned and always asked the police to pass on my thanks.

    When my marriage ended and I moved out I moved in with my by now widowed father ... temporarily. As events in his own life took a turn my temporary became eight years. While, to begin with, I wondered if we would last a week together let alone any longer we worked out ways of occupying the same space and over time found time and an ability to talk. It took me until I was in my fifties to build a relationship with my father. I grew to understand his motives for the way he acted, to know his deep regrets for his choices and came to love him. He died a year ago and I still think about him every day and I miss him so much it hurts. I consider myself very fortunate to have had a second opportunity to build a father-son relationship. Not many people have that chance. The point is though that, whatever life throws our way, it is probably not too late until it really is too late. Please don't give up hope.

    I love some of the practical advice given already. In my life as a working musician I have had the privilege of working occasionally with people who live with conditions that make their lives (and the lives of people around them) very hard. I have worked with people who have been crippled and curled up in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy. One man I can think of had a little movement in one hand to operate the chair and a little movement in one foot. With the help of http://www.drakemusic.org he became a composer who composed music for films. Extraordinary things are achievable.

    I don't know what the future holds for Edgar. I hope it is one that is filled with light and promise. I am in awe of teachers who work with children with severe disability and who learn to recognise tiny, almost invisible, steps as the milestones they are.

    I can't think of a way that doesn't sound patronising to write this, but I wish you the strength and the courage to find your potential as a father and for Edgar to find and appreciate the love and support of a family who will come to know, understand and help him to realise his potential too. I don't believe any of this will be easy and it will be even harder without professional support, but there is support out there and a network of people who will want you, Edgar and his mother to succeed.

  • Hey Paddy, have you spent any time with any adults who have cerebral palsy? When I was on the SU at uni one of our officers was a 26 year old student calle Adam who had CP and communicated via an adapted keypad/joystick. Inside his head he was just the same as us all - intelligent, funny, smutty...
    Maybe meeting some more families will help you along?
    I learned how to feed Adam so he didn't choke in those couple of years, but he could still call me names on his keypad ;)

  • Hey Paddy, I don't post much here anymore but lurk around occasionally, just read this thread and glad it has turned out the way it has, as I echo what Stu said about the first couple of pages. I haven't really got anything to add of helpfulness just to add a post of support from a familiar face. You're a proper good bloke, and it takes a lot of guts to be that honest, and I hope the thread has been useful to the steps to getting stuff sorted xx

    All the folk that she forgot sing and dance and watch her rot! Homeless, hopeless, poor and ill, come and drink your fill. "No such thing as society?’ No such thing as Maggie....!

  • Like neyni I rarely post here anymore, however I saw this and felt I needed to. Firstly massive hugs and support for you, your situation doesn't sound easy, even without the learning challenges Edgar has.

    I wonder though, even with his visual impairment, if you could connect through music and sound? There are some amazing baby sensory ideas out there-some classes but loads you can do at home too. Communicate through touch, sound. You saw you don't know if he is aware of your pressence? Then create something he only associates with you-whether that be certain music, a certain touch etc. Then he will know. Also this will all assist with his development and maybe help you feel like you are helping him, rather than just 'babysitting' him which is how your post sounded to me. It may help to have a plan, structured activities. Its so hard when children with learning difficulties cry and there is nothing you can do. Its not you, its the condition. Holding him close allows him to know someone is there, and it will be helping, even if it isn't obvious. Much love Paddy.

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]May all beings have happiness and create the causes of happiness.
    May they all be free from suffering and from creating the causes of suffering.

  • yep, but sadly folks struggle, as Paddy is right now. I've gotta say there were times i just didnt want to be a mum anymore when eden was small, i still loved him, in a...this is my child no harm must come to it kind of way, i just didnt like being a mum very much as i was in a bad way and didnt feel like i had much to give, i went though it a bit later on with a different set of difficult circumstances, but with support and time i got my head round how to do it right for me and him and now we are great.

    Turned on, tuned in, loved up, trippin out, freaky on the outside, shiny in the middle.

  • hey, i cant say understand your feelings as im not a parent but my mum when she had my lil brother rejected him and felt as you do, and they couldnt bond because he was picking up on her feelings , she has been diagnosed with post natal depression and is having councilling and now they are so close. She waited until he was around your son's age to get help and tell me and my dad how she was actually feeling and she wished that she had done it all sooner (hes 2 in july). I think its deffo worth talking to your GP about it and getting some help, feeling like this doesn't make you a bad person and i really believe you dont want to feel like this and that you do want to be in your son's life cause you have seeked everyones help and have been honest, so well done :)

  • People resond to posts based on the information they have been given, and your original post didn't give much information about Edgar's disabilities (not saying you *should* have given the information, just that people can't respond as usefully without it) and the more information you give, the more parallels people are able to find between your situation and theirs, and the more practical help they are able to offer, and there are some amazing posts on this thread :)

  • Hi one and all. I've not been posting much for the last few years, but this really made me think.
    4 years ago we had a little girl called Chloe. We knew before she was born that she would be special needs, and the last 6 months before she was born were shit. I can't say more than that, other than the fact it was a shit time. Chloe has Mowatt Wilson syndrome, too lengthy to describe, but you can look it up on google I guess.
    I watched the lady I loved slowly getting more and more hurt every time we went to hospital, and to cut a long story short, I behaved very very badly. I don't regret much in this world, but I'm very sad every time I think how I was.
    Over the next year and a half, I lost my relationship, my house and the trust of most of my friends and family.
    We were told Chloe would never walk or talk and every time I looked after her I had the same sense of dread you described. I started drinking too much, lost my job and couldn't look after myself let alone a small girl.

    I was in the park with my best friend Russ one day, with his little boy who is the same age as Chloe, and Chloe herself. I turned round to Russ and called him every name under the sun and very almost punched him - purely from the sense of frustration and bitterness I felt, that his kid was "Normal" and Chloe wasn't. I started to cry, so did Russ, and then because that's how it works, I had upset the kids as well. We both picked our kids up and made sure they were ok, and Russ turned round, hugged me and just said "Sorry". We both smiled and nothing has ever been said since.

    The thing I'm trying to say (I think), is that I felt alone and "wronged" by the whole experience. I felt that I had to cope by myself and pushed everything else out. Looking back, I can happily say I was wrong. About as wrong as I ever have been about anything. I can say happily because Chloe *is* walking*, going to school, and being cool left, right and centre. Happily because I'm a massive part of that. I have friends, a job, a house and time to go to the park or the pub with Chloe. The best part of the week for me is the 3 days I get with her. I have my job organised so I do all the hours in a few days, and that's tough (I work in a pub and getting from pub time to Chloe time can be a pain). I still get to go to gigs and festivals and I can say no to a pint (sometimes).

    I'll never stop wanting Chloe to be "normal", but look at it this way. UKH is about the abnormal. People that don't want to be constricted by the norm. Chloe is just alternative.

    I get on as well as can be expected with my ex, and she's a great mother - one of the best. Maybe we should have split up before, but until we get the equipment sorted, time travel is only for dreamers. I have the back up from my friends and family and EVERYONE who knows me, knows how very, very boring I can be about nappies and push-chairs. I don't think I would have it any other way now.

    I'm not saying you should do what I did - I'm just saying I was in a very similar place, and I'm happy with how I am now, and so is Chloe. Just some thing to think about.

    "There's only one way of life, and that's your gnomes, your gnome's that's you gnoooooooo-oh-oh-omes! HUP!"

  • Hey

    I must admit I've not read all the posts, but 1) I admire you for being honest, i think it takes a lot of guts to be honest with yourself to start with - let alone a 'board full of people'
    2) it sounds a difficult situation for all involved
    3) as others have said - a woman may have been supported alot more than a man..... (......just saying...) and I dont think this is necessarily right - but some times the way it is..

    The only thing I have to contribute is - have you spoken to your Gp as there is a new(ish) service called improving access to psychological services? ( IAPT - and yes wait lists / NHS etc) but they 'may' be helpful - if you think it is something you may benefit from - with the transition of becoming a dad, having a child with disabilities, and the impact this has upon your life, thoughts about your self / your future etc
    and coming up with ways in which you can manage this, cope with the transition of being a parent and practical coping stategies of being a parent of a disabled child - support networks etc

    (I think you need to be 'scoring' in the 'depression / anxiety disorder' remit - but they should offer a range of therapies from CBT, IPT, DIT, EMDR and counselling and if you dont 'meet their criteria - sign post you elsewhere - as there are alot of sport networks for parents out there, - so if its something you are interested and think is something that may help you - if you want help - it may be worth a conversation)

    the other thing I think someone mentioned a bout CP = is meeting adults with it - to give you an understanding of their lives / achievements and not just the negatives.

    Best wished for you and thank you for posting

  • Hi one and all. I've not been posting much for the last few years, but this really made me think.
    4 years ago we had a little girl called Chloe. We knew before she was born that she would be special needs, and the last 6 months before she was born were shit. I can't say more than that, other than the fact it was a shit time. Chloe has Mowatt Wilson syndrome, too lengthy to describe, but you can look it up on google I guess.

    just read this (sorry prob didnt read a lot of posts in this thread) as you say = hindsight is a wonderful thing, but we can only deal with what we are given with the 'tools' we have at the time -

    by the sounds of it - you didnt know how to deal with it - so delt with it the 'best you could' at the time (not justifying your behaviour - I'm srue if you were my / a partner of a female friend of mine I'd have been slagging you off to the moon and back! ;P) I can say this as I am not emotionally involved, and I am guessing you have had your own difficulties which have meant you went 'strong' (sorry (had a few strong bows) cant think of the right word) enough emotionally to deal with this,

    and women are usually 'left' (often whether they want to or not - society desnt usually accept mums who leave their kids - so it often isn't seen as a 'choice) carrying the 'baby' - as its better than being totally abandoned by everyone you know if you were to 'walk' out..

    I know its easy for me to sit her - not knowing you or your ex to sound as if I am justifying your behaviour - and I'm not - and I may get 'shot down for it' but I think it is sometimes so easy to blame people when they really dont have the emotional stability to deal with this sort of situation themselves - or had a nurturing enough childhood to give them good role modeling, (making huge assumptions here!) and we all expect to have 'perfect' babys and it all to work out, and some times this just doesnt happen......

    I just think your child was lucky to have a mum who sounds as if she has done a wonderful job, when you wernt able to - and was resourceful and who still allows you to have some part to play in your daughters life - as I guess some mums wouldnt have allowed this

    (sorry if I am distracting from the origional posters topic:o)

  • Oh my goodness - I haven't read every reply, but from the ones I have I am shocked at the lack of understanding or at least acknowledgement that you have a right to feel how you do.

    Your honesty suggests to me that you don't want to feel the way that you do. Men can get post-natal depression, much the same as they can get ante-natal depression and regular depression. There is no shame in it and it is an aspect of mental health that would really benefit from being more open and accepted.

    There is a HUGE difference between feeling like you might want to be mean to your son when you are at the end of your tether and actually being mean to him. It is a big gap to cross and many people at some point sometimes feel like they wish they could push their child away that bit harder in order to stop them biting - heck some people even hit their kids as some form of punishment (I am not suggesting in any way that I think this is a good idea, I do not, i'm just trying to put it into perspective.).

    I'd suggest speaking to your wife, and also to your gp to get a referral to a counsellor. A lot of the things that you describe are very common feelings for a parent. I definitely wouldn't not see your son, that will only make bonding and the times you do spend with him more difficult.

    A lot of men (though not all) do find the 'baby' stages the hardest (until they are teenagers) so maybe that will be the same for you.

    Good luck and I really hope things settle a bit for you soon.

  • I just think your child was lucky to have a mum who sounds as if she has done a wonderful job, when you wernt able to - and was resourceful and who still allows you to have some part to play in your daughters life - as I guess some mums wouldnt have allowed this

    I'm very lucky. I did fight to get back to a better way of living, and that's helped everyone in the situation.

    "There's only one way of life, and that's your gnomes, your gnome's that's you gnoooooooo-oh-oh-omes! HUP!"

  • How quick some are to judge!

    I haven't read the whole thread but I have read a good deal of it and I will say this

    I would rather have Perthite as a friend and confidant than some of the posters in this thread.

    HOW DARE ANYONE call someone over a plea for help and understanding and especially those of you who are parents. What sort of education are you giving to your children let alone others around you?
    How many of you judges have ever been in a position where you really needed help and didn't know where to turn and how many of you have the courage to really say what you feel or think?

    So many of you are just so shallow and selfish. Just the sort of folk that led me to leave the kind of life that I do -------- the wish, NO the absolute need to get away from the self centred, selfish, animalistic, hypocritical nature of some folk.

    Go watch the origonal film Planet of the Apes ------- theres a message in there!

    Perthatite - I can offer no words of wisdom or help except that to say: KNow that you are not alone and if there is ever anything I can do to help then I am right beside you.
    I would never be so presumptuous as to say I know what you are feeling or going through. I don't. Nobody ever could. But I do know what it is like to feel lost, alone, weird, frustrated and the many other emotions that you must be feeling.

  • I'm very lucky. I did fight to get back to a better way of living, and that's helped everyone in the situation.

    Gnome, man, those of us who know and love you are so damned proud of how you've worked so hard to make everything right. And your Chloe is so beautiful. I'm chuffed you posted for Paddy, it's hard when you have a child who is different to find people to relate to.

    Paddy, I don't know if fathers can suffer a postnatal depression but what you have described sounds like how I felt - I had nasty PND with Daisy, who is now 15 months old. It lasted til she was nearly 1. The only times I struggle now, are when I have had her on my own for so long and need a few minutes to breathe, or like this week when I spent 3 days viewing houses and couldn't put her down for her nap etc, I got exhausted and she was frustrated so I started feeling the old feelings again. And things aren't all perfect here; I'm about to move out because Tigerdaddy & I are not together anymore. The world is a complex place sometimes.

    Kaya, my eldest (5) has serious encopresis & has had it since she turned 2. It's a curable disability but can take many years. Her dad and I have to watch her like she's a 1 year old; she soils badly, is incontinent. She also shows some signs of behavioural issues.There have been many times when I have sat there and cried hard because I have felt I cannot cope and wished her away and so on - and she lives with her dad fulltime, so I don't even have her every day. He's a very respected man, in my eyes and those of others. The reality is, she's a bright girl who's artwork is very advanced, who loves us and we love her. There's just difficulties which we have to work hard to overcome.

    You can do this; you just need some support & I'd suggest getting in touch with the local childrens centres because they will have all the information you need. You also would be well off to see your doctor. And I think you still have my number, I've always got minutes and can call you back.

    As Sammy said, you are the different dad he needs - so don't give up. xxx

  • for those of you who're interested. Given the way edgar behaves and interracts with people, I'm assuming he's autistic in some way. Unless someone tells me otherwise.