Dan Gaut: Baby Ana’s mother says ‘two truths’ at play in custody case

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A new mother at the centre of an international custody case that has gripped Australia has finally given her side of the story.

Liv Pavlov says “two truths” exist about the complex situation she and Sydney man Dan Gaut find themselves in, after their cross-border parenting dilemma caught the attention of Australia.

Mr Gaut has spoken of his mad dash to America after claiming his ex-partner informed him she was planning to put baby Ana up for adoption unless he could be there for the birth.

Speaking from Austin, Texas, Ms Pavlov has expanded on why she left the country while pregnant with Mr Gaut’s child, and said she hopes the “great daddy” can be a big part of Ana’s life.

“What I want with Dan is I want to find a good place together and I want to be in a healthy, beautiful co-parenting relationship with him and have asked for that … since the day she was born,” she said.

“We believe that having two parents in her life is the best thing ever.

“And we hoped that that would look like a fantasy fairytale, happily ever after, mommy and daddy get married and have their baby.”

Mr Gaut spent about five weeks with his newborn daughter in Texas before returning home to Sydney this week.

On Monday, he posted to Instagram to reveal his anguish at being leaving America alone.

“Liv has changed her mind and wants to keep Ana in the States and be her primary caregiver,” he wrote.

The parents are set for mediation talks in coming days as they attempt to iron out a custody agreement.

Ms Pavlov, a psychologist and sex and intimacy coach, told news.com.au she had previously agreed to allow Ana to live with her father, before experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions.

She said the pair met while on a shamanic retreat in California last year where they shared a spiritual connection.

“I met Ana’s soul, I met the soul of a baby,” Ms Pavlov said.

“And we weren’t talking, there were no words. But when that happened, Dan broke down in tears. For some reason, he was just moved to huge amount of tears.”

The two later agreed to have a child together and Ms Pavlov followed Mr Gaut to Australia.

But after falling pregnant, she said, the two “weren’t connecting” and she decided to move home in July after only a month in the country.

She and Mr Gaut conceived baby Anata – meaning “forever” – having spent just 10 days together in person, while living together in a Sydney sharehouse.

“The reality is, we didn’t really know each other,” she said.

“And I came home, just really feeling that I wasn’t supposed to be in Australia.

“I was like, ‘what am I doing here?’.”

Today, Mr Gaut said he was “at a loss” after his previous plans to bring Ana home to Australia did not come to fruition.

“I am just coming to terms with [the fact that] if I want to have a meaningful role in my daughter’s life, I’ll probably have to move to a place I don’t necessarily want to be in and surrender my dreams of having Ana grow up in beautiful Australia with her cousins,” he said.

Ms Pavlov said she understands Mr Gaut’s position but added there was a “paradox” at play between their two experiences.

“Two truths can exist together that seem very different,” she said.

“His experience of feeling threatened and … negativity of this is real.

“That’s real for him, you know, and … I can understand why he feels afraid.

“I want him in her life. He wants to be in her life.

“And I think he and I are both afraid that the other one will do something to prevent that.”

Carpenter Mr Gaut said Ms Pavlov had left Australia to be with her “support network” before informing him she would not be returning.

He said Ms Pavlov had reconnected with an ex-partner and began sending him links to potential adoptive parents for their unborn baby.

“And I was like, ‘No, this is, stop, don’t promise her to anyone’,” He told A Current Affair.

She said that was a “misunderstanding”, and that her main concern was of being a single parent and Ana growing up in a difficult environment.

Ms Pavlov later agreed to let the tradie take Ana back to Australia but things changed when she fell “instantly in love” with the baby.

“I’m like, ‘No, I’m not a bad mom, I’m a great mom. And I want to be in her life’.”

The spiritual woman said that she did not leave Australia to be with her ex, but that they naturally gravitated towards each other when she came back home.

Ms Pavlov said Mr Gaut had known about her connection to the former partner, Juan, when they first met at the retreat and that had been “very challenging” for the Australian.

She had no desire to “speak down” about Mr Gaunt, saying she had avoided media coverage of their situation.

“In fact, what I want to say is that he is truly one of the most loving present attentive fathers I’ve ever witnessed,” Ms Pavlov said.

“And to me, that’s why this beautiful child chose him to be her daddy. He is a great daddy.”