I Don’t Have Custody Of My Children And What That Means

Due to a mental illness that left me confused and debilitated for over two years, I made the difficult but ultimately selfless decision to not have custody of my children.

What does that mean?

For the longest time I did not know.

Who am I if I am not first and foremost their mother?


Their father is their primary caregiver,

their legal and physical guardian

their number one,

their go-to guy.

And this can be and was a crushing arrangement.

But it was necessary.


This means I no longer get bath time or the nightly bedtime story.

This means I don’t get to pick out what they will wear for the day,

or be the first one to hear what new things they have to say.

I wasn’t there to witness the first time my daughter went

potty “like a big girl,”

or to see my son learn about Christ at church.

And I don’t get every holiday.


But when I think about the greatest parts of being a mother-

they are all still there.

I still get the tightest hugs and the “I love you,”

the laughter and the playing.

I still get the cookie baking and

the singing of songs;

the days at the park and the sleepovers.

I still get the trip to the mall to get my daughter’s ears pierced,

the school assemblies and the homework.

I get the excitement on their faces when they see me,

and the sweetest of goodbyes when they leave.

And when the temper tantrums come I

embrace that I still get those, too.


I don’t focus on what I do not get,

but simply love every second of what I do get.

And I’m so excited about what their future holds.


Motherhood is still unlike anything else.

Now, my time with them is sacred.

Now, what I do have with them is even more protected, even more cherished.

Now, they get to see the healthiest version of me.


I don’t have custody of my children.

What does that mean?

It means only as much as I allow it to mean.

And what it means is that every single moment is savored.

I get to define what being a mother to my children means.

And it means everything.


 Like this post? Check out similar content here: https://www.harnessmagazine.com/unlikely-motherhood-mistake-decision-reconciliation/

by Cynthia Hansen

I’m a photographer and mama who celebrates little moments.

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