When life throws you lemons, the best solution is to make lemonade. Pregnant with my 2nd boy my life’s plans started to change, everyone was healthy, but my family was about to look and feel different. I was about to be a single mom. Twelve years later, I trust my experience and a reflective look back with you will create hope for any of you going through something similar.
“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.” Those were favorite lyrics of a song I played all the time when I was pregnant with my first son – 18 years ago and continued with my second, 3 years later. If I wasn’t playing it, I was singing it, humming it.
The 9 months of pregnancy were glorious! I experienced feelings of custody of their every cell as they grew inside of me. I had hopes and made plans, constantly day dreaming with each baby-to-be. It was such a special time. As soon as they came into the world… the lyrics appeared magically again… Getting to know you… getting to know all about you… Then, I felt lost, not quite myself. Up until I became a mama, my life was organized, I was a planner, strategizer. This MO did not fit into their world, the space of a newborn, a toddler, but with time they both taught me not to worry. I relaxed.
My second child was and remains the calm after the storm. This pregnancy was during times of anxiety and stress within my marriage, health, and both of our work/jobs. Maybe that is why my baby was always content. He taught me how to be with him in a calm manner and we enjoyed each others company, sometimes in pure silence.
Then around his 18th month, the possibility of separation ultimately gave way to the decision to divorce. I encountered the worst sense of fear deep within me. All of my plans were no longer… so for a while I was lost again in the turmoil of many emotions. My friends and family came to my rescue with love and support. I needed to let them in to help me. I felt so incredibly depleted. Luckily between the boy’s forcing me to continue to focus and be present I was able to recognize my anxiety levels. In an interesting way, parenting a young child and a toddler while going thru the divorce nurtured me back to life.
The divorce was a process. Isn’t that a civilized way of describing it? I am so grateful to a wonderful mediator who helped us navigate the rules of our new engagement. We had to learn how to co-parent, to rise above our pain and hurt and anger, for the boys, and ultimately for ourselves too. One of the mediator’s counselings was that we should plan to never be apart, if we wanted to be in our son’s lives. Some of the ‘rules’ he gave us are still true to this day – Momma cannot always be the disciplinarian. I had to make time for fun with my boys. We both had a special date-night with each son – to pay attention one at a time. Also since the younger of the 2 was still a toddler, he needed to see his dad more frequently. So we worked it out that before I had to leave for work – dad would be there first thing in the morning. Over the past 12 years now – the boys would get a goodnight call from their dad. It is a daily check in.
It is not news to anyone that it takes even more work to maintain a good divorce. Yes, the ugliness that comes with a divorce came out at times, but that wasn’t all nor was it always. The times I had alone with my boys gave me the privilege of getting to know them with such exclusivity, I almost feel guilty. And along the way I was getting to know me and I’m still getting to know them too…. So the lyrics continue:
… Getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, Getting to hope you like me…. Haven’t you noticed, Suddenly I’m bright and breezy? Because of all the beautiful and new – Things I’m learning about you – Day by day…
Most importantly she is the Proud Momma of Emiro and Sebastiaan