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

36 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.

    1. I feel the same exact way. It’s been 7 years since my ex got away with moving 850 miles away from me and all members of the children’s family. They are young too. Now 14 and 10. No end in sight. I’m missing their childhood. It has changed me. I’m trying so hard to move on, but I am consumed with regret, anger, loneliness and despair. And I can’t snap out of it.

  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

      1. Life may be very difficult , painful, hurtful, unhappy but I am thinking…. how my son will think that one day will get the chance to see me again and hug me….! I knew mom who can’t handle that her two little daughter was take away from her as she failed be not drunk during care. She kill her self of pain be apart from girls. She was beautiful, yang with her own carrier and her girls loves her anyway! She could go to rehab and still have the chance to see her girls. You all noncustodial moms, What chance you gave to your kid ? Because all kid want to see their mom one day , soon or later, right ?!!! Kids neeeeeed us mom ! That’s what make me survive and not kill my self ! Please keep that in mind , and look at the parents who lost kids forever, it is very very devastating for those parents which I can’t imagine and praying for all kids to be healthy and safe !

        1. Violence and suicide is never the answer. This can be a devastating topic to live through, but if you need help there is always the suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255. Remember that you are still the mama and nothing can take that fact away. Wishing everyone safety and peace no matter what your family structure is.

          1. Thank you but I am not thinking of suicied or violence at all. I don’t do violent person I am victim of domestic violence, survilvor. I am trying to tell the other suffering moms to not do anything like that as I saw many answers of their helpless under your stories.

  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 [email protected]. 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 …

    2. I’m in Minnesota and my son is in California with his dad. I’m still trying to work through the pain. Planning the next trip completely helps.

  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.

    1. Kimberly,
      The same thing happened to me. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s been 7 years since my ex moved my children 850 miles away. The family courts in my state (CT) are horribly broken. Did your case have a Guardian ad Litem involved? It went from bad to worse after that. I lost everything, my house, my car, my retirement savings, and I am still $50,000 in debt. Criminals in court get more rights than parents do when you walk into court. My children are now 14 and 10 and I’m missing their whole childhood. I’m lucky if I see them once a year. I do believe I have PTSD. I think it’s a bit worse for men in custody disputes. They just see men as an ATM card for the children and as a guy you’re not supposed to feel this way. I’ve become active in the community with other parents who got no justice in court, we are not alone. I wish you the best.

  10. It’s no greater pain than a mother loosing her child (ren). Your life changes in a blink of an eye having our children taken away. All I can say is I’m not living just existing.

  11. I lost custody of my son the day after my birthday this year and after 8 months it hasn’t gotten any easier. My grandmother and I have a strained relationship especially after all of this and I gave her custody of my 4 year old son. So it’s been 4 months (almost 5) I haven’t seen him. This is the longest I’ve been forced to not visit get pics or even a phone call. I feel like I’m going insane. I got therapy last week but I feel my mental stability is falling apart faster than I can pick it up. I’m now homeless jobless but I’m not on hard drugs I don’t drink or have any history of crime. I’m only 22 and I feel a million years old with out much distress I’m in everyday. I’m so alone.

    1. I am sorry for your loss. You are grieving much right now. You are doing amazing to stay away from harmful activities. The timetable for each of us is different, but it is a long one. Being a noncustodial parent is hard. It feels lonely, and though it’s a small group that belong to it, you’re not alone. Wishing you some comfort during this time.

  12. My daughter dropped a bombshell recently. She will turn 14 soon and wants to now live with her dad.She tells me she loves me. My heart shattered into a million pieces, but I forced a smile and said I would support her decision. She does not realise there will be so many lifestyle changes she will need to make for this and lose time with her siblings. Unfortunately this information is being drip fed to her top change her place of residence and schools and now she thinks its her own idea. I am so heartbroken.

    1. Oh my that is a true debacle to be part of. So sorry she has become subject to this inauthentic change of mind. As tough as it is, it sounds like taking the high road and supporting her is the right move. Hoping for the best for everyone involved. Also, let your emotions run their course when you can, I recall many days sobbing my head off and it helped afterward.

  13. The divorce isn’t even filed yet, but my ex has all three of my children.. the youngest being 3 months old. His lawyer and him are steamrolling me knowing I can’t afford to defend myself. He has aired our dirty laundry to anyone that will listen and my entire family and what I thought were close friends, have abandoned me. So, I’m sleeping in a 5 year olds bedroom of my only friend left while my ex plays up the “single father of the year” card all over social media. I cry constantly. I’m not there to fix my 4 year olds hair for her first year of school in the mornings. I’m not there to hold my baby when he is teething and cant sleep. I’m not there to have nerf gun wars with my 9 year old. My ex is only allowing me to visit the kids at the house so he can make sure I don’t bash him in front of the kids. So even when I visit, I’m watched on cameras and I’m so scared of stepping out of line and losing the little bit of visitation I’m allowed. I hate that he’s blinded by the pain I caused him that he would use the kids to hurt me back. He has to know how this effects the kids, right? I’m so alone and sad, I don’t know how I’m going to survive. I’m not living, just simply existing.

    1. My heart goes out to you and all your little ones! I know the pain you’re in and would not wish it upon anyone. I hope you find joy in the time with your kids and that the arrangements take a more fair turn for you soon.

  14. I have been looking for something and anything related to this article for over a year. I lost custody of my 11 yr old son due to being a victim of violence. My son however is the true victim. Life after divorce from also an abusive marriage, hadn’t ever been better and I was happy. That was until I let this monster into our lives. He molested my baby boy and I did not know it or even see any signs of it. I lost custody of him because of it and many hurtful and untrue accusations made by my ex husband. My son is now brainwashed and hates me and is so cruel. He lives 17 hours away from me, hardly answers the phone and won’t video chat me too. He told me I was replaced by his new stepmother and doesn’t want to see me or let me visit. The pain, anger, grief, guilt, anxiety and depression is unbearable and debilitating. I most days just want to drift into sleep and not wake up. Being a mother was everything for me and gave me purpose in life for the first time. I feel so lost, unloved, hurt, and dead inside. I don’t know how to cope and it’s not getting easier. I’ve tried counseling, medication ….etc. Nothing helps. Please help me…

    1. My deepest sympathies to your situation for both you and your child. I understand where you’re coming from as a noncustodial mother. The pain is unique and indescribable and others rarely understand the turmoil wrought in this lifestyle. I am merely a mother in a similar circumstance, and can only offer sympathy and understanding. I have plenty article about this topic on this blog and more coming. I encourage you to remain steadfast in your role as their mother and find some peace where you can. My email is open if needed.

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