My story was pretty uneventful, until the day I found out I was pregnant. About 30 minutes before I took the test, I had come home from work, my husband sat me down at the kitchen table, and he asked for a divorce. I was completely blindsided. It felt like a dream. In a matter of minutes, my entire world flipped upside down. He left that night, and I immediately went to check on one little thing – if our months of trying to start a family had stuck. For the months before, I would pray for a positive test, and now I was praying for a negative. But there it was. Time stood still for a few moments as I sat in the bathroom and stared at the plus sign. I was already in shock from the divorce conversation, and now this? I felt like the last decade was ripped out from under me. I was suddenly a single mom, and I had no idea what to do next. As my tiny human grew inside me over the next 9 months, my own instincts and character grew too. The emotional roller coaster of being pregnant (so many emotions on it's own!), going through a divorce, and suddenly living alone were unlike any challenges I have ever faced. It shaped me into who I am today, and learning to be a mother to my sweet baby girl Penelope has been the most rewarding and demanding role I’ve ever had as a woman.
When my life flipped upside down with a divorce and a baby in the same day, my friends and family rose up to stand with me and became an incredible support. The bond I have with my family is truly special, especially after this season for me, but even with their immense support, the one person I was meant to experience the entire journey of pregnancy with chose not to be there, and that was incredibly difficult. When nurses at prenatal appointments would ask a question about my husband, and I had to explain that we were separated. Or having to leave the "father" section blank on medical forms, baby book pages, and registries. Not having someone there to make late-night ice cream runs, rub my feet after a long day at work, or simply help with basic household chores as my belly grew. These were constant challenges I faced, both emotionally and physically, but the hardest part, both during pregnancy and now as a new mom, is not having a partner to share moments with – good ones, and bad ones. Yes, family and friends are around to share in some of these moments, but again, that one person who holds equal responsibility for this precious child chose to be her parent separate from me.
I’ve shared more of my story recently on my own blog and on others’, but I want to emphasize that this is not a pity party. It’s not an easy thing for me to lay it all out there like this. I’m a fairly private person, and I'm definitely not one to air my dirty laundry for all to see. But I've realized in the last few months how much a person's story can impact those who hear it. I listen to a lot of podcasts while I work, and one thing I notice myself being drawn to are the stories of people whose lives are drastically different than mine. These are the stories I learn the most from. I’m definitely still healing from my divorce and learning how to be a single parent – I am no expert! But the reason I want to share my story is to be an encouragement to others, especially other single moms who have struggled with similar feelings and heartache. I want them to know their struggles of comparison, the bitterness they may feel even years later, and the exhaustion from the day-to-day do not go unnoticed. My own mom was a single mother for much of my childhood, and I’m only now understanding the gravity of that pressure. You are the rock for your children, and one day they’ll understand your sacrifice.
It’s hard not to grow bitter scrolling through social media posts of wives gushing over their husbands being the best dads to their kids, born or unborn. It’s a daily battle for me to be happy for these complete families, knowing my own family was ripped apart on day one, by someone else’s choosing. It’s frustrating. But I have to remind myself that those families work hard to keep their marriage thriving, and that deserves celebrating. And for me, I’m learning that the best is yet to come. Divorce is never an ideal situation, but it is definitely necessary in certain circumstances. For mine, I see now that it was necessary and that gives me hope that there’s more to my story that has yet to be told. The best part is coming up, I can feel it.