My son turned 21 recently and I found myself reflecting on life since his birth and how much I had changed.
I find it difficult to believe that twenty-one years ago, on a day filled with anticipation and excitement, I welcomed one of the most precious gifts into my life (I have two children). After an arduous 36-hour labour, my son made his grand entrance into the world, leaving everyone awestruck. This is because he was born en caul, (the amniotic membrane was intact) a rare occurrence that in medieval times symbolised good luck and greatness.
I remember vividly the overwhelming emotions that flooded my heart as I held him in my arms for the first time. I felt an indescribable connection—a love so profound that it filled every corner of my being. At that very moment, I knew this bundle of joy would forever transform me and it has. One of the greatest achievements of my life has been becoming a mother.
And so, it was totally devastating when just months after his eighth birthday, I discovered my husband (his father) was having an affair and he left me and our children to be with this other woman. Such a cliché!
It was equally overwhelming in the opposite direction of the joy I felt at the birth of my son.
I was unprepared for the level of devastation, sadness, and despair I felt when my family started to fall apart. And thank heavens for my children, as they were the GLUE that kept me together. I put their needs above my own heartbreak to salvage my life.
As my son’s 21st birthday approached, it dawned on me. I had been a mother co-parenting with my divorced spouse for longer than I had been a married parent.
WOW… for almost 13 years I have been the main parent, the one that shows up every day. I have created safety, a loving home, memories and stability. I have risen above the parapet despite the many rocks life has thrown at me.
And so on reflection, perhaps as the mother who gave birth to a baby en caul, I am also destined for greatness and I am also lucky. I realise with all the healing I have done and the passing of time, that I am no longer the abandoned woman. I am no longer devastated, depressed, sad or despairing. Divorce liberated me. I am empowered by discovering parts of myself I didn’t know existed all those years ago.
Motherhood has changed me for the better. Divorce has changed me for the better as well.
My Top Tips For Navigating Change:
1: Acceptance: Embrace Change With An Open Mind
No one expects to get divorced. However, if we choose to see divorce from an empowered perspective it can support our growth and ability to move forward with our lives. So what if your divorce wasn’t happening to you and you could shift from “Why me?” to “What if this is happening for me?”
Take the time to journal on the following questions:
- What if this is happening for me to grow, and what am I here to learn?
- What if this is happening because I unconsciously chose a partner who doesn’t treat me well?
- What if this is happening because I too am unhappy in the marriage and I didn’t have the courage to leave?
- What if this is happening so I can learn to reconnect with myself, discover what I need, learn to speak up and have a voice?
- What if this is happening so I can learn to set healthier boundaries and honour myself?
- What’s another way you can look at your divorce so it can work for you?
2: Cultivating Mindfulness: Finding Joy in the Present Moment
Think about how mindfulness can help you bring yourself into the present moment, with non-judgemental acceptance and curiosity. This skill is vitally critical when going through a separation or divorce because our level of uncertainty increases dramatically. Most of us dislike the unknown because it creates fear.
The more we are in the present moment, the less likely we are to project our worries or fears onto other people or future events. Being in the present moment, we can also celebrate small victories as we move forward.
Use this simple mindfulness practice 5-4-3-2-1 during your day to become more aware of your body and breathing, and depending on how much time you have, it could take two minutes or 5 minutes.
3: Reclaiming Your Power: Setting Goals and Creating a New Path
There are stages in the separation and divorce process, and one thing I suggest is setting yourself some weekly goals or intentions. The reason I start with a weekly goal is life can seem very overwhelming at this stage, so start with small goals that might sound like this:-
- This week, I will get out of bed and shower
- This week, I will put myself first and honour my needs.
- This week, I will contact a friend for support.
- This week, I will leave the wine in the fridge and eat healthy food.
- This week, I will acknowledge how difficult it is and validate myself and my feelings.
Set yourself monthly and six monthly goals. If you want my digital Future Self Divorce Journal to support this, click here.
4: Build a Support Network: Surround yourself with Empowered Women
I have written about having the right people in your divorce corner and why it’s imperative (read the full blog post here). It’s difficult to do it alone, and the first thing my clients say is how much they value the support of the women in my group coaching programs.(Find out more here).
If you are feeling shy and can’t share your story in front of someone else, reach out and find the right coach or therapist who can help you heal. Pain is inherent but suffering is optional. The longer we wait to heal, the more we suffer.
And so if this is you:-
1: Recently separated and wondering how you are going to rise above your heartache, your devastation and fears.
2: Divorced and not over it yet, because you still can’t see beyond the wood in the trees.
3: Healed a bit, but still unsure of the future and get triggered by your ex, or don’t think you will ever have the love you want
Then arrange for a free consultation with me. I have openings for 1:1 coaching and my group program starts after the summer holidays.