We all know how problems can escalate when people don't communicate. A huge advantage of mediation is that when people who previously felt unable to communicate, or unable to communicate about a particular issue, are together at the same time, in the same room, with either one or two independent mediators, the obstructions to communication can vanish.
A little 2 year old girl loves animals, particularly cows. She loves her dad too, and what she really likes best is Saturday mornings, when her dad takes her to the farm to look at the cows. She had to wait nearly her whole life before her dad took her to look at the cows, because her mum and dad would not communicate.
Her Mum and Dad were boyfriend and girlfriend and lived with their respective families. The girlfriend became pregnant and really wanted her mother and boyfriend to attend a pre-natal scan. Her boyfriend was thrilled, but his mother insisted on attending the scan too. She didn't really know her boyfriend’s mother and didn't feel comfortable with this. He said that it wasn't fair for her own mother to attend, if his mother couldn't. She felt let down that, as she saw it, he was taking his mother's side, and there was a row. In the end, neither the boyfriend nor his mother attended the scan. The girlfriend felt so excluded and unloved by her boyfriend, that she ended the relationship.
When the girlfriend was admitted to hospital to have the little girl,
she let her ex-partner know by sending him a text message. A few days
later, when he was in town, one of her relatives shouted across the
street to him:
"Can't even be bothered to go and see your kid can you?"
The little girl’s father had found out from the relative that his little girl had been born two days before.
"I got straight on the bus to the hospital; I couldn't wait to see her, I was so excited!" he told us.
When he arrived at the hospital he was told that he could not see his ex or the baby. He was desperate, but did not know what to do. Eventually, months later, a friend suggested he asked a solicitor to help him get to see the baby; it was his solicitor who recommended mediation.
In mediation, we helped the little girl’s parents to communicate.
He was able to tell her that he had not received the text message and that the first that he had known of their daughter’s birth, was her relative shouting at him in the street. He said that not knowing about her birth and finding out about it like this had made him feel unloved and excluded by his ex-partner.
Learning that he had not received the text message, and that when he found out about the birth, he had attempted to see her and their daughter in hospital, helped her to realise that her ex partner was committed to their daughter.
She said that she wanted the little girl’s father to play an active part in her life. The following day, for the first time, the father met his daughter, with his ex partner, at a local park.
Over the next six months new contact venues were added and, as the little girl got to know her Dad, they were able to wander off together, out of Mum’s sight, for longer periods.
As for today, the little girl looks forward to going to see the cows with her dad, and her Mum gets to read a magazine and put her feet up for a while.
“I would like to thank both you and Lucy for such a positive experience, despite the outcome not being as I had hoped. You were both so very kind and I have already recommended your service to a family. One thing I lacked before I cam was the understanding/knowledge that I would be treated fairly in this process. It was so positive and the experience very “gentle” and thoughtful.”