The last few days have emotionally taken their toll.

I was trying to think of something more positive to say, in case it comes across that I am in some way not coping or not capable. But actually I refuse to be anything other than myself, I refuse to be anything other than honest. I’m not bowing down to what other people think of me.

But it’s bloody hard.

My sister text me last night (made me cry) and said she knew I’d be hurting over the things that have been said about me. She’s right. I feel a bit lost. Shocked, saddened, emotional, confused. Broken. I’ve been portrayed to be something I know that I am not. It’s been highlighted that his job and marital status take a higher standing than mine. I’m a single parent, so I must be a man hater.

Four years ago, my youngest daughter’s biological father went to court and said he no longer wanted access to her. And he walked away. That’s a fact, one which he has not disputed, so I can write that. I think. Currently worried about what I can and can’t do if I’m honest.

However, and here’s where it gets a bit murkier if you ask me, I am now being heavily criticised and vilified for ‘failing to promote him’ to her in the interim period.

So basically since January 2016 and last Summer (when I told her about her ‘real Dad’) I’ve not done enough to promote him to her. The onus apparently fell to me to promote contact, and I’ve not done that. I should’ve done more to promote contact. To a now five year old who’s rightly biggest worry most days is if she can eat hummus for breakfast.

To the man who went to court and said he wanted nothing to do with her.

Here’s where I get confused…

Is there a genuine suggestion here that even though HE went to court and said he no longer wanted access that I should have still been talking about and preparing her for the day he might come back? When HE said he didn’t want to see her.

I’m sorry…what?!

Can we stop and wonder for a second just how much damage could be caused to a child for promoting an adult who wasn’t, for all intents and purposes, ever going to be in their life? Through their own choice. Why would anyone do that? Unless I’m missing something here I genuinely don’t understand.

Which has actually got me wondering just what I’ve done wrong here.

What would you tell a three, four, five year old about the whole thing? Would you tell them anything? What is the emotional capacity of a toddler to understand any of this? I fail to be swayed by the argument she should’ve been being prepared for potential disappointment.

I’ve actually been accused of failing to discharge my own parental rights and responsibilities because he ‘isn’t a presence’ in my house.

OF COURSE HE’S NOT A PRESENCE IN MY HOUSE! He went to court and said “I fully intend to not see my child again”.

But I’ve been vilified and criticised for ‘taking steps to remove him from Jess’s life’.

HE REMOVED HIMSELF ACTUALLY. And yet when I pointed that out it’s been countered with ‘it does unfortunately seem clear that Sarah has taken steps to remove him from Jess’s life’.

I can’t even begin to explain how wrong that is. He had access, I fully complied with that access, and when he didn’t want it anymore I let it lie. But it seems I should have been pursuing it all this time. In Jess’s best interests.

I actually feel as though at any moment I’m going to wake up and this will all be a bad dream. This cannot be real surely?

He’s said I want to exercise control over Jess which is why I won’t allow access.

I think you’ll find, I’m the least controlling person on the planet actually. My kids actually have voices and opinions. Having been controlled and abused myself I find it abhorrent that anyone would treat another person that way and so I don’t.

Fundamentally, the law is flawed. There should be a passage of time, individualised for each case, whereby if you have been absent through choice then you shouldn’t be allowed to come back into a child’s life. The decision for contact should at some point, be placed at the feet of the child in question.

There should be, in the law, a clause that states that unjustifiable absence from either parent rescinds your rights to hold parental rights and responsibilities.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. So maybe it’s time to change.

But honestly, right now, I feel defeated.