Life After Losing Custody

Life After Losing Custody

mountain town distance

I was recently asked on my other page how I live.  How do I live without my child?  How do I go on after losing a custody battle?  The truth is, one day at a time.

One painful day at a time.

A day at a time.  I was never like that before.  I was a planner.  A worrier.  A total type A.

Becoming a parent wasn’t enough to change my approach to life.  I stayed in control and managed all the curve balls a baby can throw like the boss mom I was.  Am.  I still am.  I have to remind myself of that sometimes.  And it hurts.  There’s a little twinge in my heart each time I feel that bit of disconnect.  It hurts.  It will always hurt.

The hurt can be unbearable.  It can consume you to the point you question every decision of your life.  More than once even.  The fact remains though that this is your life.  This is what it has become for all the reasons that precede today.  There’s nothing worrying can help.  You tried as hard as you could.  You are a good parent, person, and more.  You do not deserve this result.  Be confident in these things and above all remember that there is no winner in dissolution of families.

Do not let your disappointment fester and alter your attitude toward what your life is now and especially not toward your child.  Children need to feel your constant love, even if they can’t see you often.  That’s what keeps me going.

Try to find the positive.  I still cry over the distance in time and geography, but rejoice that Facetime exists.  While trying to keep a 5 year old on a conversation or even in the iPad’s field of view is difficult I’ll admit, it is worlds greater than a 30 second phone call.

Long distance relationships are challenging, parenting is challenging, put them together and whoa!  Try doing kindergarten homework across a few states via video call.  Yikes.  I’d like to say no thanks, but this is my chance to spend with her and be a part of her life and support her education so there I am.  Giving a million directions “too close”, “down”, “up”, “no too close now back up”, “too far”, “okay just tell me the letters of the words in the directions.”  It takes an hour to do one worksheet.  Then the best part, she asks me how to write a letter.

Oh my.

How do you describe how to write?  Well, once again, thank the lord for the people who invented technology!  I use a drawing app to draw out the letter and text to her so she can see my example.  This has proven so easy and effective in giving her a visual aid to work off of on her own.  See my example below…


Parenting is challenging and requires a readiness for anything.  Finding ways to trouble shoot and think creatively to help my daughter from a distance helps me feel better that I can still help her.  It makes the distance seem less an impact even if just for that call.

The time between visits and between calls are the worst.  As I’ve said, it is hard.  I cry all the time still, and I’m not the cry at anything kind of girl.  Trying to focus on the positive takes major effort during these bouts with stinging tears and puffy eyes.  Wipe off your cheeks and make a plan.  Make a plan for the next visit.  If it isn’t planned yet, plan the trip.  If it is setup already, plan for your activities when you’re together.  Or what you need to do to prepare.  Do you need to buy tickets for something in advance?  Get them.  Do you need to make sure and pickup a favorite cereal or snack?  Add it to your grocery list.  Find some productive way to support the fact that you will be seeing them and are preparing.

mountain distance

If the time is too far off, then send a letter, package or postcard.  I keep so many postcards around the house and anytime I’m having a particularly hard time I send her one.  Think of it as an entry in a diary.  It is therapeutic for yourself and who doesn’t love getting mail anyway?  Once I made it interactive by coloring part of a picture and asked her to finish it and send it back…


I want the take away to be that there are ways to make whatever your situation is work better for you and your child.  It will not be perfect, it will not be what you want.  It is not what your child wants either, but this is life and it must go on.  Take it a day at a time.  You will all live through it, do the best you can to make it the best it can be.

I did not come to this point of being able to talk about all this on my own.  I did seek counseling as my EAP and health insurance provided.  Speaking to a professional is not shameful, please at least give it a try.  If you need to go through a few counselors before finding one that feels comfortable to you, that’s ok too.  In the meantime, please see my other post Helpful Books for Post Divorce for some helpful reads for you and the kids.

What ways do you find to cope with this atrocious distance?  This can be a rare category of people so please comment and communicate with us.

UPDATE–Life After Losing Custody 2019

Please see my other post Being A Non-Custodial Mother for more on this tough journey.

“Why Worry?  If you’ve done the best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.” Walt Disney

19 thoughts on “Life After Losing Custody

  1. Wow. Your rock solid.
    I’m sorry for your pain. I understand. It’s not fair or right.
    Thank you for inspiring.
    You are a good example to your daughter on how women need to be strong.

  2. Hey, I’m a mum like you with a 6year old living two states away! I didn’t think any other people like me existed!! Please get in touch? Thank you so much for writing this.

  3. I cannot accept losing my children. I feel sad,angry, bitter…all of the time… it has changed me durastically, and not for the better. I hate most things, people included. My family torn apart, so unjustly.. I don’t know how to let it go and move on. They were my life and now they are not.

  4. I’d like to say to those who say they are bitter, I do understand. I lost custody of my one and only son 8 months ago and am unable to have more. I did nothing wrong and my child wrongly accused my husband of abuse and even passed a polygraph proving it and we still lost and he lives over 900 miles away with his dad now. It killed my husband and I both. But, we did seek support and received loads from family and friends. And we did pick ourselves back up and started living again. I plan to move closer to my son next year and unfortunately, while his accusation was false, my son’s father won’t allow my husband to see him even though my son asks about him and says he misses him. But chin up, you are alive and so are your children and you are their mother. They’ll always remember that you were there for them, even through distance and that is a great feeling!

  5. I thought I was the only one! I am going to be in a sinilar situation soon. My daughter is a newborn, and she will live with her dad. It is my fault that our family is torn apart (I’m not a drug addict, criminal or crazy),, but even then, losing her is the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t know one could feel so much pain and not die. I have no idea how I will walk out of the door without her. She’s only been here for a month but for me it’s like she’s always been there. How can I build up a relationship with her while she is so young and I can only see her once every two weeks?? All I do is cry and deny this is happening. I’m 31 and I feel like I have ruined my life and the lives of everyone I love including her dad’s.. I hate myself, am angry at myself and I feel so much pain all I wanna do is go to sleep and not wake up. Missing everyday motherhood is just not an option to me. I have pleaded with God for a miracle and forgiveness. I have pleaded with God to take me if this what my life has come down to… How do you people survive?? I even thought that not seeing her at all would spare us both lots of pain, but that’s a horrible thought of a desperate woman. Anyone else thought this at some point? Please help.

    1. You are still your baby’s mother. Nothing can take that from you. I had those thoughts too, to let go of what little custody time I had because maybe it would be easier. I thought it would stop the pain. It won’t. Children need their mother regardless. Be there for what you can and cherish it. It will make you stronger than you can ever imagine, and a strong woman and mother is what a baby in these circumstances needs. Chin up, you are one tough mother! <3

  6. Oh my god. Out of country move. I just lost custody of my son yesterday. He’s flying back to California tomorrow. I am frantic. Just knowing that someone else has gone through this makes me feel a bit better. I’d love to talk to one of you guys. I’ll check back soon to see if anyone responds.

    1. Hi Keri. I am so sorry you and your son are going through this. The beginning is the toughest, but it truly is a hard road even down the line. Please email us at It is hard to find someone who understands the situation from a place of experience and we’d be happy to hear your story and share ours. You are not alone. You are still a mother. You love your son. Your son knows you love him, and he loves you.

      1. I just lost custody of my 8 yr old son 2 months ago and it’s almost as if he’s died . My lawyer who represented me did a terrible job and my ex husband hired a very good lawyer . I don’t do drugs , party , or abuse my kid and despite my efforts to do everything my lawyer said I feel totally at fault that I wasn’t a good enough mother . My life has turned upside down and still cry 4-5x a week even though I work long hours my “spells “ happen at anytime because I miss my son so damn bad . I’m forever grateful to come across this article because there’s others in my position and just trying to “cope and do life “ can be very trying at times . Any advice I greatly appreciate …

  7. Oh my god. Out of country move. I just lost custody of my son yesterday. He’s flying back to California tomorrow. I am frantic. Just knowing that soumeone else has gone through this makes me feel a bit better. I’d love to talk to one of you guys. I’ll check back soon to see if anyone responds.

  8. Its been 2 years now and it still hurts a lot….i miss my 7 year old son..everyday is like a fresh wound…the feeling that i m not der to tk care of him or cook for him or see him grow,kills me….i m not a bad mother…but i lost him for ever…i want him to know i luv him like crazy nd that i m not a bad mother…i just lost….

    I am afraid hel firget me,hate me….i dont know what to do….

    Please connect someone…do children forget us? Wil her forget me?

    1. Your children will not forget you. Losing custody does not remove your motherhood. Keep in touch all the ways you can.

  9. I lost custody of my child when he was 4. My attorney was horrible. Our female judge was biased towards men, regardless of the circumstances. It’s been 24 years and I still struggle with PTSD. I am on disability because of this. It never gets better or easier. One good thing that has happened…my son and I are closer than ever and he doesn’t have a good relationship with his dad. I don’t know how to deal with the pain.

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