I became a parent in October 2014 when my partner and I conceived our first son. In that moment on the phone to the nurse who gave me the news I realised that my life was no longer about me and my husband, but now focused on the growing life inside my body. Until this point my husband and me had been playing our lives at the ‘Go’ square on the Monopoly board of life. Although we had passed ‘Go’ numerous times and had some experiences of Chance, we were yet to really know what it felt like to play this Monopoly game of life together.
The game had changed as parenting meant that it was no longer all about us, but rather about our child and the entire family unit.
In winter 2014 I decided that I was going to split from my partner and move some three days drive away in remote Australia. I called my mum and told her and informed my work and it took all of one week to pack up the Toyota Hilux and get ready for the trip. I had had enough of what Canberra was offering me and I yearned for more. It was not my first time in the desert and that meant the move was less daunting than if I were travelling to a whole new place. On the drive with my partner accompanying me, I was glad to be able to share this final trip together and to be able to show him the wonder and diversity of our country. We spent about four days together before he left on a plane back to Canberra and I furiously wiped my eyes as they became clouded after our long farewell.
The thing that I was not accounting for when I made the decision to move to the desert was that I had changed significantly in the four years since living in this region. I had known all-encompassing love and learnt to live with someone and share our lives together. When Mr A left me at the airport that day I realised that having a partner isn’t for me rather it is about the other person. My partner had shown me the greatest act of love that anyone can hope for – he let me be.
Fast forward to October 2015 when our son was 3 months old and we were travelling to regional NSW some 5 hours away to visit my family. I was very sick, but we were not sure of the illness and thought it safer to be around my family full-time given my threats at harming my son and myself. It was a good move and I was soon diagnosed with postnatal psychosis, an illness that plagues approximately 1 in 1000 mothers in Australia. Parenting became for my husband not about having to drive 10 hours each weekend to see his family, but about keeping his son and wife safe and healthy. Like our son and I, my husband was ‘In Jail’ in the Monopoly game of life but was resourcefully finding ways to get us through this time using love. He was moving through the game as if it were for all of us, not just about his gain.
This post is to remind us that the game of parenting is not a one person deal. Even if you are separated, divorced, widowed or single, this opportunity is not yours alone. The love for your child and your child’s love for you drives the moves in this game and these two factors are endless in your choices and decisions that will move you forward, backward or staid on one place – but always together.