by Men's Rights Editor / in Fatherhood
Watching Your Children Grow Up Without You
As a father, you want your children to have the best life possible. You want them to have every opportunity, to have every chance at improvement, love, joy, and success that life has to offer.
You would hope that your children would be able to pursue those avenues with you watching and ready to guide them along their development. However, if you are a father without custodial rights, that may not be a possibility.
Going through the divorce experience can be intense, but when there are children involved, you want to do everything you can to protect them from the ugliness of the situation. This can sometimes mean making concessions on aspects of your case, in order to protect them from bad facts regarding you or your co-parent.
This is why you always should rely on the experience of your family law attorney. They can help guide you through the process and prevent you from doing anything to jeopardize your place in your child’s life.
Life without your children
No divorce process goes perfectly smoothly. In a family court system that includes gender stereotypes against men and their ability to offer the same amount of care and support as their female counterparts, it can be difficult to make an impression in court and show that you are able to give your child a stable and loving home.
That is why so many fathers are not granted the same level of custodial rights and are forced to watch from the sidelines as their children grow up without them.
If you are one of these fathers, you can live with the deep emptiness of being without your children, even while you are recovering from the divorce. This is an aspect that many do not necessarily consider. You no longer have the person you promised to love and cherish in your life, and as you are grieving for that, you are aching over the absence of your children, making the emotional distress so much worse.
While you may have not given birth to the children, they captured your heart nevertheless. You invested so much of yourself into them with no expectations. Even though you do not have custody, you still want to give them the world, and if you are like many, you will be forced to do so in the shadows.
Mental health issues
Your mental health can suffer greatly, causing many other aspects of your wellness to decline. Depression and anxiety can take over your daily life, due to the overwhelming hopelessness you feel over your custodial situation.
For many men, this is where they allow their mental health problems to escalate. For divorced men, suicide and suicidal tendencies are an ever-present battle that is silently fought. If you are a divorced man or divorced father facing these struggles, you need to be aware of the risks that you face and the help available to you.
Divorced men and women are at a higher risk of suicide than married men and women, according to a study from the University of California, Riverside. Divorced and separated persons were over twice as likely, in comparison to married persons to commit suicide, and the risk of suicide among divorced men was over twice as likely as that of married men. There was no statistical difference in married and divorced women.
Researchers theorize the causes behind the alarming numbers. Sociology professors at the University of California suggest that many stem from the separation between father and child, while research published in the International Journal of Comparative Sociology theorized that men and fathers who have experienced a divorce are more likely to isolate themselves, create an environment of low self-worth and poor mental health.
Both of these theories have men spiraling, which can occur when you do not seek the health care that you need. Many men dismiss the idea of seeking help for mental health issues related to depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies, but you need to rise above that inclination and seek the assistance of a mental health professional.
Even though you do not have custody of your children, you need to be ready to be the parent that they deserve, and that deserves with making yourself whole again. Be an active participant in your recovery and create a version of yourself that your children can be proud of.
Once you do that, you need to contact your family law attorney and petition for custody. You need to be active in your pursuit to be present in their lives. You need to show them that you have never given up on them and create a welcoming environment for anticipating their return. That means making sure that they have their own rooms, and they have their own space to call their own.
While the pursuit of custody may include bumps in the road, it is infinitely better to keep trying than to give up on your children and have that weighing on you for the rest of your life. You need them, and they need you.