Some of you may read this and shudder to think that someone would consider separating from their partner while PAL or parenting after loss. Others will wonder why this hasn’t been talked about sooner. Surviving the loss of a child is hard on a partnership. Parenting is hard, too. Sometimes, this makes the perfect storm.
Life doesn’t have to be stormy most days. It does have ups and downs, but the majority of days should not be rollercoaster rides. One person in a partnership cannot do all of the work required to have a successful partnership. Both have to want it, work for it, and make it one of their priorities.
From my experience, here are my four reasons to consider leaving your relationship, even if you are PAL.
1. If you are being abused.
If you are being physically, mentally, or emotionally abused, get help for yourself by getting out. There are many national resources listed here that can help you. No baby deserves to be brought into a situation where her mother is a victim of domestic violence or abuse.
2. If you are worried about your baby’s safety.
If there are drugs, alcohol, or weapons around where your baby will be (or where you will be), you do not need to stay in this environment. All of these could harm you or your baby. Follow your instincts, and if your partner cannot or will not get help, remember that you are in control of your life.
3. If you’re not satisfied, period.
Maybe you and your partner have tried counseling, together and on your own. Maybe you want more out of life. Maybe it’s time to part ways, but you’re wondering if a rainbow baby will fix it all. Often, you’ll hear that a baby doesn’t fix a marriage. A rainbow baby won’t, either. What is important to you in a partnership? What isn’t? Are the big things for you going well? Are a lot of little things going wrong? Only you can answer these questions and judge whether or not you’re satisfied. No one person is perfect, and compromise is part of being together. But, don’t settle. Trust your gut to know the difference.
4. If you are in your relationship because you feel like you don’t deserve more from a partner.
If you’re with your partner because you feel like this is the best you can do, or that no one else will love you, or that you’re stuck since you’ve been together so long, you’re wrong. You are brave and courageous. If you think that you logically and rationally deserve more, maybe you’re right. It may be time to seek help from a counselor to dig deep on the root cause. Know your worth, PAL or not.
Mama, you’ve had the weight of the world on your shoulders with a loss, then TTC, then a PAL, and maybe now you’re parenting after loss like I am. Honor your feelings, whatever they may be. Get help if you need it, or ask someone to help you get help. Keep breathing. I know you realize all too well that life is fragile and precious, including yours. Your baby deserves the best. Just don’t forget you do, too.