My husband and I seperated before my son was born - I left in October, my son was born in November. I had him come stay in the hospital with me because I was frankly terrified and needed someone there in his capacity, it didn't matter that the person with me constantly was the same one who beat me up. I knew he wouldn't hurt me in the hospital and I didn't need to be alone thinking about all the scary ways the birth went wrong.
After I had eyes clear enough to see my husband's belligerance with the hospital staff I noticed things I didn't see while I was with him (we were together very briefly, I only married him because I didn't want to be a single mom) : his destructive selfishness, his pride and his constant anger, his controlling manipulations, his twisted view of the world, and I took out a restraining order. Between the ex-parte order immediately granting the order and the final hearing, he sued for custody. So the final restraining order hearing only granted me custody of my son until his custody complaint was heard.
My son, at the time, wasn't even supposed to be born yet. He was two months premature, due in January. My husband wants joint custody - three hours a day until six months, then six hours a day, then every other day at a year. I know the court won't grant it - but how the hell can he think that will be possible? I'm breastfeeding my son, and I have a restraining order against him, so I can't (and don't even want to) tell him all the things I do to integrate myself into my son's routines in order to minimize the amount of time my son spends screaming. I'm mothering as carefully and as attentively as possible, and making sure my family at least know what the plan is, but my husband won't care. He'll do things his way - and the final time he hurt me, he said "If you act like a five year old I'll treat you like one" before throwing me bodily out the front door with enough force to bruise me. See why I don't want this man around a child? (I was refusing to talk to him about something bothering me. He not only frequently responded to me with violence, he also believed his violence was appropriate and justified, and never expressed remorse, not even when we were in public and I had makeup barely covering bruises on my face.)
So I've hired a lawyer and my mother took out a loan she can't afford to pay back to finance this crap, my family's all pitching in wonderfully, but I'm terrified. I have grounds to terminate my husband's parental rights - because his rights were terminated to two previous children by another woman - but my lawyer won't push for that, she says I have a better chance for supervised visitation.
But this man...he's scary manipulative. I took out criminal charges against him for a few of the times he beat me up and right after getting out of jail he's e-mailing my friends about how much he loves me. I forgot who I was while I was with him. I won't go into more detail, but I cannot imagine a life where I have to share my son with him.
SInce I left him I learned the freedom of being able to decide what to do with my day, what to do with my hair, who to talk to, what to wear (although my choices are now limited by my son's convenience, but that's normal), and most importantly, how to raise my son. I can't imagine having to live through visitations, explaining to my son why daddy isn't coming over for Christmas, leaving my son with someone who will...corrupt him, having my child grow up with such a strongly negative, angry, manipulative influence in his life...i don't want this for him, and I don't want this for me. My husband (N.C. law requires a year separation before a divorce) is the kind of jackass to carefully convince my son that I'm a horrible person in all sorts of atrocious but believable ways. My husband, without my knowledge, took personal journals from my posession while we were dating and photocopied them in case he needed to use them against me later. And now he's trying to. Manipulative.
The hearing is soon. My lawyer is confident. But I can see how the rest of my life could go alone with my son - making sure he's raised by people who love him and honestly want the best for him. I think about our life with my husband involved...and it's like running up against a brick wall, all the plans just stop, and it seems like my life just ends right there.