A livid mum has taken to popular forum NetMums to share a co-parenting horror story involving … tiny baby earlobes. Ugh.
A difference of opinions
Admitting she simply needed to vent, the furious mother explained that – despite knowing she was vehemently opposed to getting her daughter’s ears pierced – her ex-partner had decided to get the nine-week-old baby’s ears done anyway.
This mum felt that when it came to ear piercing, agency and consent come into play. She believes that the procedure should not be considered until a child requests it.
“I expressed this to my ex a few weeks ago when he said she would look cute with her ears pierced. I said that I didn’t think piercings were for babies, and that she can have them pierced when she is old enough to ask me.”
This dad, however, had other ideas and a whole other (mis)understanding of what successful co-parenting looks like.
“My ex had our daughter overnight,” this mum explained on NetMums. When he brought their daughter back to her mum’s house he wheeled her pram in and promptly disappeared with a quickly-shouted “she’s grumpy, have fun.”
“Flaming hot and swollen”
This “grumpy” state was apparently not your stock-standard baby grumbles, this mum says, but more a sort of pain and trauma-related mood.
“She was full on screaming like I had never heard before!” the incensed mum posted. “I got her immediately and gave her a cuddle, when taking her hat off I realised what was bothering her! He had taken her to have her ears pierced god knows where! Her ears are still flaming hot and swollen right now! I can’t believe he would do that behind my back and run off before I could confront him!”
Apart from her ex very unfairly going against her wishes, and causing her baby pain, this mum says she’s worried that the piercings may have other health implications.
“He won’t tell me the place where he got them done and I’m scared to death that it wasn’t someone who was trained and my poor baby is going to get an infection from this. I have tried to take the earrings out, but it’s so sore to even touch. I asked him why he would do that against my wishes and his only response was ‘told you she would look cute’.”
Argh. This is obviously super-upsetting for this poor mum, not to mention her confused and miserable baby.
The stakes are high
Commenters on NetMums were sympathetic. They suggested heading straight to the family doctor and having the baby’s ears examined – and perhaps having the earrings removed. Some said this mum shouldn’t let her ex care for their baby overnight anymore at all. Others said he was guilty of child abuse.
It’s a fraught situation because this ex-couple are obviously in the early days of navigating parenting and co-parenting. There’s much more at stake here than baby ears, as it’s indicative that the care of this tiny child is already becoming combative – and that mutual respect seems to be lacking (which is VERY often the case when relationships break down.)
Here’s hoping that these obviously struggling parents put their baby first, get some help devising a parenting plan together – and seek assistance moderating any future disagreements. There’s lots more big decisions on the horizon, and finding a respectful way to negotiate them from the get-go will benefit everyone.
If you are finding yourself in the midst of co-parenting conflict like this couple, it’s a brilliant idea to enlist a support service to guide you through.
Relationships Australia provides advice, resources and counselling for families who are no longer living together, but are keen to collaborate on a parenting plan that minimises conflict and prioritises kids’ wellbeing.