Real Life

The father of my newborn baby flew to Turkey and never returned

Michelle Egan, 30, will never forgive ex-boyfriend Chris for what he did. Here, she shares her story:

A perfect first date

The majestic lion shook out its mane and let out an almighty roar.
My disabled son Neo couldn't walk, talk or do anything for himself. But the smile on his face said it all: He was having the time of his life at the safari park.
"Thanks so much for this," I smiled, turning to Chris, who'd driven us here as a surprise for our first date.
When we'd first met through friends and I'd told him I was a single mum and carer to Neo, I'd expected him to be put off. But instead, he'd asked me out - and he'd even picked a day out my son could enjoy, too.
Chris and I chatted easily as we drove through the park pointing out the tigers and monkeys to Neo.
It was the best date I’d ever been on and afterwards Chris and I became a couple.
Three months later I discovered I was pregnant.
"That’s amazing," he said, hugging me. "I can’t wait to be a dad again."
When we’d first got together Chris had told me he had a daughter. But things were difficult with his ex-girlfriend so he wasn’t able to see her, which he found upsetting.
At the 20-week scan, we were thrilled to discover we were having a girl. We popped into town on the way home and bought lots of tiny pink baby clothes.
Chris couldn't wait to be a dad again
At 36 weeks pregnant, I was admitted for a caesarean because there wasn’t enough fluid around the baby.
I was really nervous. But while we waited, Chris pulled on a pair of latex gloves and a gown he’d found and started clowning around.
"Hello, I’m your doctor," he said. "I’m delivering your baby."
It really made me laugh and I relaxed a little.
He was by my side as our beautiful daughter Lilliana was born, weighing 2.5kg.
Chris held her first.
"I'll be the dad I never was," he choked.
Back home Chris doted on Lilliana. He changed nappies and helped with feeds.
While my caesarean wound healed, I decided to sleep on a large swivel chair in the lounge room. It meant I could feed and hold Lilliana without straining myself.
Chris and Lilliana
But after a week, I could tell Chris wasn’t happy.
"Why are you sleeping in here?" he grumbled.
He started going out for hours at a time, leaving me to cope with Neo and a newborn alone.
When I asked if he was okay, he’d snap at me.
When Lilliana was six weeks old, he suddenly said: "Let’s go and surprise my mum in Turkey."
She'd gone over there for a holiday.
"I've just had a baby!" I cried.
"I'll go alone then," he huffed.
I told him I needed him with me, but Chris was adamant.
He’d never been abroad before, so I packed his case, and gave him $350 I had saved up.
I felt like I had three children, not two.
"Love you," he said as I dropped him at the airport.
"Back soon."
Next day, I found a post-it note on the kettle, which read: 'You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, Chris x'.
When I found more love notes around the house, I had an overwhelming desire to speak to him.

I called, but his phone was switched off

Next day he texted: 'Miss my wifey and kids'.
Later, his mum Julie sent me a picture. I clicked on it and my stomach lurched.
Chris and another man were dancing very closely to a young woman on a nightclub podium.
"I see he’s having fun with the ladies," I replied.
"She's just one of the holiday reps," she replied. "She's like that with everyone."
I bet she is, I thought.
Still, I trusted Chris so I tried my hardest to forget about the photo.
The day he was due to arrive home I cleaned the house from top to bottom, and prepared his favourite dinner, steak and chips.
"Chris will be home soon," I told Neo, who smiled happily.
But then Julie texted: "Chris missed his flight. He said to tell you he’d get the next one."
I tried calling him to find out what was going on, but his phone went to voicemail so I left a message.
"Please call me," I said. "I’m worried."

Days passed without a word

Julie wasn't answering her phone either.
After two weeks I was so worried, I reported him missing.
The police went to speak to Julie, who was now home.
"He’s still in Turkey," an officer told me. "There’s nothing we can do."
I called Julie and finally she picked up. I begged her to tell me what was going on.
"I don’t know how to say this," she said. "But he’s with the holiday rep in the photo."
My whole body began to shake. Logging on to Facebook, I saw a picture of Chris and the woman wearing matching T-shirts with King and Queen on them.
"You selfish idiot!" I shouted at the screen.
For weeks I moped about, feeling sorry for myself, then anger set in.
Not only had he run off with another woman, but he hadn’t even had the guts to tell me.
And it wasn’t just me he’d abandoned - it was Neo and our daughter too.
One day, Neo saw I was upset and started to cry. It was time to forget Chris and put my kids first.
Me, Neo and Lilliana now

Day by day, I got stronger

Six months later, I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw a picture of Chris on his mum’s feed.
He was wearing a suit and standing next to a bride.
A lump formed in my throat.
Chris had married this other woman.
Then I read that she was pregnant too.
I still haven’t heard from him, not even to ask after his daughter.
I don’t regret having Lilliana for a second - she’s the only good thing to come out of my time with Chris. But I’d advise other women to wait until they really know the man they’re with before falling pregnant.
I thought I knew Chris, but I’ll never forgive him for the cowardly way he disappeared from our lives.
Chris' mum Julie said:
"Chris surprised me by coming out to Turkey. He met a holiday rep and didn’t come home. He was struggling with personal issues and I think he saw life over there as an escape. I’m shocked at what he’s done, but I know he misses his daughters terribly."

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