Pregnancy, Controlling Relationships and Divorce

Pregnancy, Controlling Relationships and Divorce


“…But he’s a good dad.” If I had a pound for every time I had heard that I would be a millionaire!

Caron Kipping
Caron Kipping-Divorce Coach and IDVA

Is getting pregnant a good idea?

To start with, is having a baby together going to be joint decision? Do you feel ready to have a baby together or do you feel under pressure to get pregnant? Are you financially stable? Do you have a secure home environment to bring a baby home to? Do you have a good support network? What are your core reasons for wanting to have a baby together?

If the answers to the above are ‘no’ and you are hoping a baby will bring you closer together and repair the cracks that have already started to appear in your relationship then I am afraid you are likely to be on the road to disaster.

Babies are cute and cuddly, but they are also demanding, emotionally exhausting, financially draining and having a baby because all your friends are or to  ‘fill a gap’ is never a good idea. If your partner is already abusive, having a child together will give them a great excuse to continue that abuse , even if your relationship doesn’t last.

“All my friends were getting married and having children, so I just thought it was ‘my time’. What it did, was make things much worse. I should have been strong enough to accept that the relationship wasn’t right, instead of hoping a child would repair it.” –  Claire, Maidenhead.

Having a baby with someone who is abusing you won’t make them feel more secure or make you a ‘proper’ family unit. It will exacerbate the control that is already present.


Pregnancy and emotional abuse

Very often pregnancy actually becomes a pivotal time when the dynamics in the relationship change. Suddenly your partner is not your number one priority – your baby is. Whilst this can be a time of joy, excitement and expectation for many couples, for some this brings increased fear, anxiety and worry and instead of feeling more ‘together’ , you can feel more alone. Jealous and controlling partners try to keep you away from professionals, from friends and family, they criticise your choices around feeding and parenting and the control escalates, leaving you feeling more trapped than ever before and questioning your own abilities as a parent and destroying your confidence.

I have known many women who have been physically assaulted whilst holding their own baby, so don’t think that the baby will protect you. It can be incredibly stressful trying to protect not only yourself but a baby who is incredibly vulnerable.


“I thought having a baby together would make him feel more secure. Instead he became really jealous – he didn’t like me breastfeeding, he blamed me and shouted at me when the baby wouldn’t stop screaming (even though she had colic) and criticised everything I did, whilst pretending to be the perfect dad to everyone else. He never did anything for my daughter , he physically and emotionally hurt me , yet as soon as I left, he was trying to gain sympathy from everyone else about why he couldn’t see his child”– Karen, Slough


How emotional abuse affects your child

Your children pick up on anxiety and stress at home, even from a young age and even during pregnancy. This can lead to a range of emotional, developmental and behavioral problems later on, so consider how this relationship is affecting you and how it is affecting your child.  Miscarriage, premature birth, developmental delay, ADHD, can be just a few of the ways your child can be affected – not to mention the risk of physical harm and emotional impact of growing up in an abusive home.

The earlier you get out, the easier it is to recover, but you must do so with professional help to make sure you do this safely.


Divorcing when you have a child together

This can definitely be a challenge and it is important you get professional advice to protect yourself legally, to ensure you are safe and to protect yourself financially. Unfortunately, when you have a child together, you are always tied together, so it’s important you know how to manage your ex’s behavior, learn how to cope better and find some strategies that can help you co-parent. Getting the boundaries right from the outset and understanding how you want to move forwards is key to being able to forge a new life for yourself and your child after separation.


How I can Help

About 20 years ago I ended my marriage. After years of controlling /coercive behavior I started divorce proceedings. This was a really scary time and my mission is to ensure that nobody feels how I felt at that time. I gradually created techniques that helped me back on the road to recovery. I trained as an IDVA (a domestic abuse specialist) and spent the next 13 years supporting other women in abusive relationships.

I am now an accredited  Divorce Coach, and set up this business to help women in abusive or controlling relationships. I have trained other Divorce Coaches on domestic abuse, spoke at The Divorce Fair last year : and will be exhibiting at the Find Your Power event in March:

Call me if you are worried about how your relationship is affecting you or your child on: 07899991304 or go to my website: or speak to your midwife, your Health Visitor or your GP. There IS help for you – don’t struggle alone.



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