One Of Life’s Challenges

Hi. My name is Alicen. I am a single mother. I don't really know where to start, so I guess I'll start at the very beginning. Here's my life story.

------------------------------------------About three years ago, after a few years of marriage, I sat down with my husband and we talked about having a baby. We decided it was time. We both had good jobs and were financially stable. The pregnancy was stressful. I didn't have a lot of support from my husband. It got worse the closer to my due date we got. He fought with me over how I was giving birth, how soon there would be visitors, when I was going to start working again. I was stressed. The epidural almost wiped me out, but after being induced at 6am, I finally had him after midnight. For two months Gavin and I bonded while his father sat on the sidelines unless in the public eye. I tried to reel him in, we even "camped" in the living room, pulling in the mattresses from the beds and staying in there as a family. But Gavin's father, or "Wayne," was still distant.

--------------------------------------------One night he left his phone in the bed. After over a year of him being extremely touchy about me being anywhere near it, something just clicked. So I quietly took his phone to the bathroom and found an app called "Kik." I opened it to find out that he had "relationships" with multiple women and girls. So he was cheating. For how long? Well over a year, well before he decided we should have a baby. But that wasn't what got to me, no, what got to me was how he had tailored his persona, from his assumed age to the way he spoke to them, groomed them. The youngest I spoke with was 16, the oldest 36. He had been working one girl for over six months, trying to convince her to send nudes, but she was smarter than the rest and avoided anything too risqué. Others were much more trusting, filthy videos and pictures swapped from both sides. I sent everything except the nude pics/videos to my phone so I had proof. For me it was instantly over. The level of manipulation, the effort he put in to get what he wanted from these girls and women made me sick to my stomach, because in that moment I realized I'd fallen for it too and had no idea how many other girls he'd victimized.

---------------------------------------------For the next ten months I struggled to get away. We tried to get along at times, but I made it clear any romantic relationship was over, both by blatant verbal communication and physical. I wouldn't even sit on the same piece of furniture as him, though he complained it was unnecessary. When Gavin was finally weaned I got a job. I started saving up to leave, but Wayne didn't like that idea. He wanted me to stay. He said it was best for Gavin- but I disagreed. Home life became worse. Saving money up was taking too long so I convinced him to let me take out a loan on my car. I needed his signature too since it was in both of our names. After him promising and changing his mind a hundred times, he finally did it. I moved out before he could stop me, one day while he was at work.

----------------------------------------------He called me. He screamed at me over and over because I took the flat screen TV from the living room. A friend took the phone and told him it was ridiculous to be so upset about a TV when his concern should be for his son. He cursed at us, cutting my phone off just to turn it back on and to scream more. It was very rough the first few months. He kept demanding the TV and making excuses about why he couldn't pick up Gavin. Then suddenly he started taking him without argument. He claimed his sister was watching him on the Friday's I depended on him for a sitter because of work. After more than a month, I found out that a girl I had never met, "Janice," had been babysitting him. I had never heard of this girl. Wayne claimed she was only a friend. I didn't care, I just wanted to know my son was being watched by someone capable. He gave me her number and I contacted her, gleaning from her cold responses that I hadn't gotten the whole truth. I told her I didn't care what their relationship was, I just wanted to know my son was in good care. She was more forthcoming. We argued but came to an understanding.

--------------------------------------Everything went okay until three months ago when he got Gavin again and decided he wasn't going to give him back. For four days he jerked me back and forth while I called three different police stations and had another consultation with a lawyer, trying to figure out how to get my baby back. Then suddenly he calls the next day and arranges pick up without ever acknowledging what he did, but I didn't care because I got Gavin back. He was safe again.

------------------------------------------And...This is where I get stupid. After two months of him constantly promising that he wanted to work this out and see Gavin, and the stress of waiting for Gavin's daycare spot to officially open, I finally made an agreement with him. He promised to pay half of daycare if I would let him see Gavin. I broke, I said ok, I made him promise he would never keep him from me again, and I let him get Gavin Monday night, the 24th of August, just days ago. Gavin had a documented incident at daycare that day, which I informed Wayne about, but he seized the opportunity to report me to child services. They found no reason to keep him from me so Wayne cut my phone off again, has ignored any contact from me, and filed an order of protection that was granted because Gavin had bruises on his legs, bruises that were acquired from running around the country and creeks outside in AR, bruises acquired from being a little boy who loves to play and bruises easily like his mother, his mother who has permanent under eye circles and bruising because she has a minor blood disorder that was diagnosed when she was a toddler. A blood disorder I was going to have him tested for because of his father's accusations and lies. But now I can't. Because I don't have him. And all I can do is get a lawyer. All I can do is worry about my baby. And I just need help, I'm finally asking for help and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.


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Alicen Kootz 
Springfield, MO
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