The last few months have been especially difficult for Nicole Curtis. The Rehab Addict star, who shocked fans with a surprise birth announcement two summers ago, has been vigilant about keeping her eighteen-month-old son Harper away from the spotlight’s glare. But, late last year, details of the child’s life became public when baby Harper’s father was granted partial custody in a bitter court fight.
Since then, Nicole has been increasingly vocal about her life as a parent as well as the difficulty of balancing that life with the demands of both her day job–which, as devoteés know, often bleeds into the night–and of the court system. This week, Nicole offered her longest and most honest parenting update yet. It’s a tough read largely because it’s so honest, but it’s also an important one, as it gives voice to those who feel they’re being treated without compassion by a system that can sometimes overlook them.
You can read Nicole’s original Facebook update here. We’ve cut-and-pasted the update in full simply to get around the pesky character limit of the embed:
They keep telling me to be quiet. It’s only going to make your life worse. Yesterday, I had to leave my baby. Let me backup, yesterday, I had to put my sick baby in a car, then on a plane, then back in a car, then leave my baby. My nursing,not yet speaking-has no way to understand why they are being separated from their primary care person, baby. Not by choice, but by the stroke of a pen of a system that treats children as they would a car, a house, a checking account-possessions.
First and foremost, being separated from my child is nothing compared to the pain of miscarriage, infertility and the unspeakable that other parents go through. I know this. I own this. I stay focused on this fact.
When people ask me how I get through this (which right now is 10 days)-particularly, my fellow mommy and daddy friends with children the same age, I tell them I just have to focus on good things, good thoughts, good energy and accept that from others I interact with. (and thank you for constantly checking in on me-:))
My uber driver who was fun to chat with helping me forget that I wasn’t going on vacation. My fellow business traveler, Marty, that I ran into (again) in the airport & he said you look relaxed today & I smiled-not so much relaxed as in a daze. The gate agent that I watched help a woman (that wasn’t even on his flight) get wheelchair assistance even though he was busy boarding and closing out our flight. The flight attendants who called this baby wearing mama with boobs out on the plane supermom-not knowing that I don’t feel so super knowing that I can’t protect my own child right now. The people seated around me that didn’t mind my songs about Peppa the Pig and my little one’s squeals of delight sticking the color forms of her on and off the window (yea,they still make them and they save us on planes)
The porter who laughed as my sleepy babe happily pointed out his carseat as it came around on the luggage carousel. The woman at the rental car gate that said no worries when I didn’t come up in the system & just booked it & got us out of there.My oldest son, who said I’ll ride with you mom and jumped in the car with a new flying squirrel animal for his delighted sibling. The pharmacist who stopped what he was doing to come help this almost- in-tears mommy buy every holistic product they had in hopes it would help ease my little one’s sickness on his next 4 flghts without having the comfort of mommy and nursing. The waiter who joked with us at lunch-we needed that distraction as we had just left the babe. My girlfriend who came in on her day off to do my hair & her team that made me laugh all afternoon (not knowing all the while as they worked on me, my body was going into withdrawals for my babe & my breasts engorged) And my other friend who waited after a long day at work to eat because I was pumping. (Which to put this all in perspective for the people that don’t get breastfeeding-in order to assure that my babe will still be able to nurse when he comes home from the 10 days away from me-I will be pumping an average of 4 hours per day. )
If you see me over the next week -I thank you from the bottom of my heart for not judging why I don’t have a little one strapped to me-why I”m working 24/7 when I should be at home being mommy or why I might be having a glass of wine with my friends—I would given my choice be with my little one.
Until then–I’m attached to a pump or I’m self-expressing in a public restroom -that’s always delightful.
A few disclaimers before some choose to spit at me:
1. I am the biggest supporter of coparenting and practice it -but it takes two.
2. I believe parents should carry the burden of divorce, separation, etc NOT children
3. I believe our family court system needs an overhaul -and that there needs to be panels of pediatricians and child psychologists rather than people that have zero experience or understanding of children’s mental health making decisions
4. I believe that anyone who files in family court must agree and participate in family counseling and education
5. I 100% believe in the importance of both parents in children’s lives
6. I 100% believe that infants identify with one primary care person & until they are able to communicate should spend their time with that person and not be separated for extended periods of time–this is when children learn trust and security per mental health leaders of the world–not just me
7.I have never shut the other parent out, in fact, my house has and always will be open for them to come to-as it should be. My home is that of my children and they have every right to have their fathers there when they want
8. I practice babyled weaning.
9. I have yet to find a mental health expert or pediatrician that supports what is going on in family courts across our country.
10–had to add-because apparently —“didn’t you make these choices” Yes and no. I didn’t choose to bring my situation to family court–trust me on that
It probably won’t come as a shock to hear that the post resulted in an outpouring of support for Nicole from sympathetic fans, many of whom shared their own single parent horror stories and tales frustrating court system.
To balance that out, we thought we’d share a few of Nicole’s less-heralded social media updates–ones where she’s clearly being an incredible mom to her now-teenaged son Ethan. The two of them traveled to Europe for Christmas last year, which means that a) Ethan has memories of a gorgeous holiday abroad courtesy of his mom and b) Nicole raised Ethan so well that even as a teenager he was perfectly happy to spend valuable time off of school–including his birthday!–with only his mom for company 😉
Most enjoyable day-spent my morning running #madrid-like a proper run not my modified fast jog I've been cheating with lately. Found myself a quiet path in the botanical gardens -not quite sure if running was permitted-but they didn't kick me out 🙂 munchkin & I kicked around the royal palace -my head is a little overloaded with ideas now —off to #barcelona -then….. #detroit
(Photo credits: Nicole Curtis baby Harper update via Instagram)