Be civil and honest: Mum's photo of parenting after divorce goes viral

Photo:Madison Holley
Photo:Madison Holley 

When Canadian mum Madison Holley left hospital with her newborn baby Waylon, she did so with two men by her side: her former partner Tyler, with whom she shares a three-year-old boy, and her fiancé, Cody, Waylon's father.

When a photo of the sweet moment was shared to Facebook, it quickly went viral, with many labelling it "co-parenting done right."

"This photo was taken 24 hours after I gave birth to my second baby boy, Waylon," Ms Holley writes in her post, which was shared to Love What Matters. "The guy on the left is my ex, the 3-year-old holding his hand is my first child, Cade, we had together. The guy on the right holding my son's right hand is my fiancé, and the newborn baby boy is our child."
Just because a relationship doesn't work out between two people, she notes, doesn't mean the relationship with the child shouldn't.
"I would never take that away," Ms Holley continues. " My son Cade just happens to get some extra love."
Urging others in a similar position to "be civil and co-parent," Ms Holley adds, "If you made the child together it's both your job to raise the child."
Her words have since gone viral, shared over 50,000 times and garnering thousands of comments. The post has also prompted other families to share their photos of successful co-parenting following separation.

"The guy on the left is my fiancé' and the guy on the right is my child's father. We all get along soooo good!" writes Jessica Duit.

"I love this so much!" writes Jeanne Brys. "This is a picture of my ex-husband holding my newborn."

"The two guys in the back being goofy are my dad & my step dad walking down the aisle together," says Alexis Bleiler. "They are best buddies. This is second nature to me because this is how I was raised."

Ms Holley told Essential Baby that she never expected the photo to go so viral, "but I'm glad it did."
"I really strongly want to encourage co-parenting as much as I can," she said. "If more people could put their differences aside and work together for the sake of their children it would be a lot better. We are our children's safe place and role models, so working together with my ex and our new partners to all be part of raising my little boy is amazing.
"We all get to be there for him growing up and he just gets extra love!"
Ms Holley also acknowledged the key role her ex's new partner has played in making their dynamic work.
"She is amazing," Ms Holley said explaining that she helped the four of them sit down and discuss how to make co-parenting as smooth as possible. Now, the women even go horseriding together after forging a strong friendship."My fiancé Cody has been amazing too," she added. " He has great communication skills and has always helped pick up and drop off my son."
Ms Holley's advice to others navigating a similar situation is to remain civil and respect one another.
"Do not let the reason you broke up affect the child unless it's a safety issue obviously," she said. "When I broke up with Tyler I said our one promise to each other was that no matter what, we will both be there for Cade.'
But while Ms Holley's post highlights an ideal scenario, many others admitted that it's not always possible - or even safe - to remain close following the end of a relationship. And that's OK too.