By Amy MacDonald
Navigating co-parenting was a journey, of both personal growth and self-reflection. Growing up without a mum made me realise how important it was for my daughter to have both parents in her life. I wanted that more than anything. My daughter’s father and I have almost always worked well together as parents and co-parenting with him has mostly been relatively easy. Yes, we have had many ups and downs along the way, but the one thing I can say is no matter what, we always both wanted what was best for our daughter and our love for our daughter was and still is stronger than either of our egos. He really is such an amazing father, and for that I am eternally grateful.
The times I have found it most difficult was when a situation presented itself that opened my own childhood wounds. Growing up I had an emotionally and physically abusive step-mother, and when she separated from my dad every other partner he had left. This reinforced a feeling of abandonment and not being good enough, which I carried long into my adult life. When my daughter’s dad met his wife, I was terrified she would be abusive, so I was horrible to her to begin with. In some weird way it was my way of trying to protect my daughter from the life I had lived. I was also terrified at times she would love her more than me. What I realised eventually was I needed to heal because I was getting in the way of my daughter experiencing the love she deserved from all whom came into her life.
When I dealt with my own childhood pain and began to heal and forgive all who had hurt me, the most incredible thing happened. I was free from my past, I was free to create a new world view based on the truth of the current situation, no longer distorted by my own childhood experiences. I no longer tried to control the relationships my daughter had, and I no longer felt that I owned her. My daughter was also free. Free to love, free to care about and free to express her thoughts and feelings about her relationships with her dad and her step mum. And that was and is truly magical. My daughter’s step mum has been an amazing guide and support for her. She has also taught me that not all stepmothers are the same. I see the love she has for my daughter; I see how much she cares about her and my daughter is so blessed to have two mums; I am also eternally grateful for my daughter’s “other mum”.
From left to right: me, my daughter & her boyfriend,
my daughter’s step mum and her father