‘Alesha’s pregnant and Josh is the father?’ My world stopped. ‘THIS ISN’T TRUE!’ I chose to believe him.’: Bonus mom shares journey through tumultuous relationship to peaceful co-parenting

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“I am married to my best friend’s (Alesha) ex-boyfriend, Josh. My husband dated Alesha for 3 1/2 years in high school. I have been with my husband for over twelve years (5 years dating, 7 years married). I am so blessed to have been given a bonus son to love as my very own. Alesha and Josh have an 11-year-old son together. I’m sure after reading that, your brain is really confused right now. Let me take a step back and start from the very beginning as I tell you my ‘version’ of OUR story.

I met Josh back in high school, freshman year. We had English class together. We instantly clicked. At first I had no idea he had a girlfriend who went to a different school. As a 15-year-old, I was already hooked on his ‘boyish’ charm. Luckily for me I went to the same school as Josh, Alesha did not. Back then social media was not as high tech as it is now. Needless to say, you could get away with way more things back then. Some how she found out about our flirty friendship and of course did not like it. Josh and I were never more than friends the first year we met. We had a strong attraction to each other, but never acted on those impulses.

As years went on, our friendship grew apart a little. We did not have much communication in our sophomore year of high school. Josh played hockey for our high school team. Lucky me, my dad was his hockey coach. Therefore I tagged along to many home and even away games. We started talking again when we ran into each other at an out of town game the end of our junior year. I felt so special being the coach’s daughter. I was at every away game and Alesha was not.

We finally had another class with each other at the end of our senior year. I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I remember saying to myself, ‘Finally, I get one more chance to try with this boy before we graduate.’ Of course he was still dating Alesha. If he said they were in a fight or they were broken up, I believed it. I mean, wouldn’t you? The boy you have been craving for so long finally wants to TALK TALK to you. We started texting a lot outside of school, getting in trouble for talking or messing around too much in class. We even snuck out of school during lunch and got lunch outside of school together.

Two teens spend time together on a pool floatie in a community pool
Courtesy of Alexis Mounsey and Alesha Stratton

I threw a party for my 18th birthday at my parent’s house while they were out of town. This is where and when Josh and I ‘hooked up’ for the first time. It was far from romantic considering there were roughly 30+ people downstairs or outside the door listening. It didn’t matter to me. I was just so happy he was there with me. A few weeks after our first hook up, we had our senior prom. I went with one of my best friend’s brothers.

Finally, we made it to graduation. Josh and I were still talking and in a good place. We met up before and after the ceremony for hugs, good lucks, and good jobs. After graduation, Alesha moved two and a half hours away from us. I was so happy. I knew it was only a short amount of time before their relationship was going to be done for good. I mean, I was here right in front of him every day. They finally ended their relationship; I was in pure joy. Sadly, I only had a month or so with him to myself before he left for college an hour away. I knew he was still going back and forth with us through out the whole summer, but I didn’t care. I just wanted him to choose me.

Young teen couple take a blurry selfie together while in the car
Courtesy of Alexis Mounsey and Alesha Stratton

A few weeks into Josh being away at school, he FINALLY asked me to be his girlfriend. You all already know what my answer was. Even though I had Alesha in the back of my mind coming at me in all different directions, telling me how they were still talking and seeing each other. I ignored her and chose to believe this boy I was so madly in love with. Every chance I got I was down there visiting him. Just remember we were young high school girls wanting the same man. We were ruthless, heartless, and so inconsiderate to each other’s feelings.

I remember when he was home for about a month over Christmas break, I loved that he was home and we could finally see each other every day again. My anxiety was at an all time high; even though Alesha had moved away, she still had family back here so she would come back for the holidays. He gave me the prettiest necklace and the most beautiful  promise ring. (I weirdly still wear this promise ring today.) Many years later, I found out the same day he gave me the promise ring, he met up with her that evening.

After Christmas break was over, he was finally back down at school. I was getting used to the long distance relationship life again. It was a normal evening. I was riding in the car when I got an unusual Facebook message from a girl Josh used to work with. It said, ‘Did you know Alesha is pregnant and Josh is the father?’ My entire world stopped; I couldn’t catch my breath. My heart was racing and I wanted to pass out. I couldn’t believe it. First off, I am not only finding out the most worst possible news ever, I am finding out MY BOYFRIEND GOT HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND PREGNANT from a random girl I did not really know. I remember instantly calling him, crying and screaming, saying, ‘TELL ME THIS ISN’T TRUE’ over and over again.

The words coming out of his mouth was not what I wanted to hear. He quietly said, ‘I am so sorry I do not know what to say, but know I don’t want to lose you.’ So what do you think I did? The very next morning, I took off to go see him down at school. I just needed to see him in person. I needed to hear him tell me he loved me and he still wanted to make it work with me despite having a baby with his ex. Ladies, I know what you are thinking: ‘How could she be thinking and wanting this boy still?’ As a thirty-year-old looking back now, I seriously couldn’t tell you.

Josh moved home after his first year of college and stayed home. He had a baby on the way and needed to find a job and get his life going in a different direction now. We were still together, trying to work through everything to make our relationship stronger. I felt like while Alesha was pregnant, our relationship was as good as it could be in the situation. She was still two and a half hours away. I would have to deal with her constantly texting him about random forced topics about the baby. I let it go and tried to ignore her.

Josh was doing the best he could in the situation. He went to many doctor’s appointments. Sometimes he couldn’t go to the short ones because of work and her being two and a half hours away. She would cause so much stress and drama when he wasn’t there or answering her about the baby every chance she wanted him to. At the end of the summer, In July, we moved out into our first apartment together. Alesha started threatening him, saying she was going to find another man to be the daddy to their son. This of course caused Josh to have so many mixed emotions towards her and myself. He did not want another man to play or be daddy to his son.

Riley was born late September. I hate to admit this now because he is one of the best things to have ever happened to me, BUT it was the worst day of my entire life back then. I had so many emotions, feelings, and reactions that day. I was numb. I was scared once Riley was born he was going to instantly fall back in love with Alesha and want that happy family. We were young; this was everyone’s first baby/grand baby. I had no idea what to expect once he was born.

Ex-couple smile for a photo while in the hospital after the girl just gave birth to their son
Courtesy of Alexis Mounsey and Alesha Stratton

Well, all of those feelings were not accurate. Later in the evening, he came back home to me. He shared his experience with me; we were up all night talking. I met Riley for the first time when he was two weeks old. She came in town for a wedding and dropped him off to us for a few hours. I remember she was so nervous and upset to be dropping Riley off to Josh. It was so nice to see Josh interact with Riley; I got to bond with him and spend special time with both of the boys. He would go visit his son every Sunday. He still had to work back home and she was still two and a half hours away. He told me when he would go there to spend time with him, Alesha would leave and have a mom day to herself. Of course I believed him, I didn’t want to not believe him. I was head over heels knowing we had made it this far.

After a few months into Riley being born, I was getting more and more suspicious of what their relationship actually was. It was starting to not feel like just a parenting relationship. Finally after reading the lyrics, ‘Are you going to kiss me or not, are we going to do this or what’ on her Facebook page I FREAKED. I ended up messaging her asking why she was posting this kind of stuff and what was really going on between her and Josh. She told me everything.

She told me they had been pretty much dating since Riley was born. When josh would go down to visit, he would hangout with all three of them like a family. Her parents would even watch Riley so they could go spend alone time together. He was telling her Josh and I were just roommates and we were no longer together. Which obviously was 100% NOT THE TRUTH. I ended up inviting her and Riley over to the apartment while Josh was at work. She happened to be in town when I reached out to her. We ended up talking for hours, exposing Josh and of all his lies and what he had been telling the both of us. I remember him walking in from work, opening up the door and looking right at the both of us. The look on his face literally looked like he s–t himself. He turned around and closed the door. We didn’t see or hear from him for two days.

This was when Alesha and I first became friends for a couple of months. She stayed with me at my apartment; Josh was out and living back with his mom. Alesha and I were inseparable for two months. We used each other to help us fight through the heartbreak Josh caused us again. At this time, I still had my guard up and I didn’t want to give up Josh. I wanted him back; I wanted to work on things with him. I was not going to just let everything we worked on go just like that. I ended up moving to a one-bedroom apartment once my lease was up. Alesha and I were still friendly. Josh and I moved to this one bedroom together, but I kept it hidden from Alesha. This obviously did not last long; she found out sooner rather than later. So, there went our friendship. We were back to hating each other. Alesha ended up moving back home with some friends.

I ended up getting pregnant with Josh’s baby in late October. We found out about this pregnancy close to Christmas. It was a complete shock as I was on birth control. I remember Josh looking at me once we read the pregnancy test and he asked, ‘What will Riley think of me?’ I was completely heartbroken. I couldn’t believe he would say those words to me. What about me, what about our baby? We were in complete shock and disbelief; Josh was now going to have two kids 22 months apart. Once the news sank in, we kept it to ourselves for the first three months. We were both so nervous to tell our families, but once we did surprisingly they all took it way better than we expected.

My pregnancy went fine; it was a normal, healthy pregnancy. Josh was there and present for everything. We moved back into a two-bedroom apartment. Alesha was seeing another man and leaving my man alone. Riley ended up getting admitted into the hospital at the end of my pregnancy. This was a very trying time to all of our co-parenting relationships, but also the surprising start to Alesha and I’s friendship. After my daughter Delaney was born, Riley had to go to a children’s hospital for a major surgery. Tensions were high all around still. They just could not talk without screaming at one another. It was ugly for a few months, until Alesha secretly told me she was pregnant with her new boyfriend’s, now husband’s, baby. It was like our past friendship feelings were coming back. We had a new bond with each other. We both had/were having a new baby.

Two mom and co-parents take a cute selfie together, both dressed up for a girls' night out
Courtesy of Alexis Mounsey and Alesha Stratton

Once Alesha found out she was having a girl, our hateful relationship turned into a friendship in a blink of an eye. She wanted to talk to me every second about all the girl things. I gave her all my old girly baby stuff. We realized we communicated so much better with each other rather than her and Josh. So, I took a leap of faith and started asking her to do things with me, Riley, and my daughter. We went to fall festivals, pictures with Santa – all the holiday things together. I did not want my daughter being the ‘dad’s side of the family’ sister to her brother. I wanted them to have a close relationship. I took all the advantages of us getting along and rekindling our friendship. We spent a lot of time together with the kids. The time and effort we put into our friendship slowly expanded our relationship into a co-parenting best friendship.

Biological mom and bonus mom take a selfie at the pool with their shared son
Courtesy of Alexis Mounsey and Alesha Stratton

I always thought Josh chose me because I got pregnant with his baby and Alesha was dating someone else. I thought he wasn’t going to continue to want to live the back and forth life knowing he was going to be a dad of two. Later on throughout the years, I found out Josh told Alesha he was done with her and happy with me before Riley’s first birthday. This was BEFORE I got pregnant with my first daughter. Josh is not the ‘boy’ he once was. This ‘boy’ turned into the most amazing MAN I could have ever dreamed of. He is the best dad and the best husband. He works his butt off to provide for us. If it wasn’t for his unconditional love towards giving us the best life, I wouldn’t be able to live the life I live today.

Married couple take an intimate selfie together on Halloween while in Halloween costumes
Courtesy of Alexis Mounsey and Alesha Stratton

Now today, Alesha and I have been living our best lives being not only co-parents but best friends. Between the two of us we have 7 kids who look at each other like they are all siblings (Riley, Delaney, Alayna, Kenzie, Naomi, Emery, and Elliott). We spend most days together. We run the mom/kid life. Some people do not agree with the way we co-parent considering Alesha and I make most of the decisions when it comes to Riley. Riley now spends 50/50 time at each house, and this is because of US. No courts, no lawyers, no anyone telling us how we should live our life with OUR SON.

Riley tells people he has two moms and two dads. The words ‘step’ and ‘half’ are not in our families’ vocabularies. We have worked very hard to get to where we are today and we are so proud of ourselves. We have a lot to offer and share with anyone who is in need of some help. Maybe our story would have gone a little differently if we had help back in the day. But lucky for us, it was just us who had to figure it out and it has made us the strong, kick-ass moms we are today.

Two moms take a family photo in the hospital together with their combined seven children
Courtesy of Alexis Mounsey and Alesha Stratton
Bonus mom takes a photo with her bonus son at her birthday party while she holds a pink mug that says "Best Bonus Mom"
Courtesy of Alexis Mounsey and Alesha Stratton

Please, if you think there is no way you could co-parent in a healthy manner because of your past experiences, just remember we once had an ugly story too. A story I didn’t think would ever end the way it has. By putting the kids first and taking a step down from our high horses, we are now letting our kids live the best life they can live. There is no fighting, there is no drama, there is nothing but love and respect from both ends. Just remember, co-parenting is not for the weak-hearted. Stand your ground, but also bite your tongue when needed. Try to think of their point of view and not only your own. Compromise and PICK YOUR BATTLES. Not everything has to be a battle; it is okay to surrender.”

Courtesy of Alexis Mounsey and Alesha Stratton
Two moms and co-parents take a selfie together while spending some quality family time with one another
Courtesy of Alexis Mounsey and Alesha Stratton

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Alexis Mounsey of Fort Wayne, IN. You can follow their journey on InstagramTikTok, and their podcast, “I’m Best Friends With My Husband’s Ex,” available on all streaming services. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

You can read Alesha’s story here.

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