Gavin and Lauren's story

My ex won't allow me to see my daughter

Gavin's story: My ex, Lauren, had stopped me seeing our baby daughter Grace who was 9 months at the time and I was told by a solicitor that I would need to try mediation.

I was pretty down as I hadn't seen Grace for about 6 weeks and I knew it was because she didn't trust me because of stuff that had happened in the past between us.

In the first mediation session Lauren said that she had stopped contact because she didn't think I was a capable father and would let Grace down. I was annoyed that she had such a low opinion of me but the mediator helped us explore why trust had broken down and to see things from each other's perspectives.

I was quite hopeful after the first session as we had agreed a possible way forward. However at the start of the second session Lauren said that she had changed her mind about that which I was very frustrated with. If this had happened outside mediation we would have had a big argument, but the mediator guided the conversation to allow us to talk about the situation without it ending in a shouting match. After that we managed to discuss other ways of moving forward. Eventually we agreed that we would meet at a play centre first of all and dates for when this would happen. I'm hoping that after a few weeks Lauren will see that I am a capable dad and we can agree to me spending time with Grace on my own which is what all this is about.

Lauren's story: When I received the letter from MyMediation inviting me to come to an initial assessment meeting my first reaction was anxiety.

I had stopped Gavin from seeing Grace because I didn't believe that he was putting Grace first and as she was a baby I was worried about his parenting skills. I had tried to talk to him about how to look after her but it seemed like he just ignored me.

Life had been less stressful for me since he hadn't been in our lives. I decided to come to the meeting however as it felt like the right thing to do. I was quite emotional but the mediator reassured me about the process and that I wouldn't have to agree to anything I didn't feel comfortable with.

In the first session I tried to explain to Gavin why I had stopped contact and that it was all about concern for Grace, nothing to do with what had gone on between me and him in the past. The mediator helped me get my points across and to try to explain to Gavin about what reassurances I would need to think about starting contact again. Gavin agreed to look into some parenting courses, and we decided that the best thing for Grace would be for Gavin to come to my house so he could learn how to look after her.

However before the second session I had changed my mind about Gavin coming to the house. The mediator helped us think about other ways for contact to happen and we did put a plan together with dates and times.

I still feel unsure about letting Gavin back into my life but I realise that he is her father and as long as he can prove to me that he can take care of her I have to try to trust him.

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