Going through a divorce is very difficult, paired with being in the midst of a global pandemic and having an 8-month-old baby in tow. Often, we talk about things after they happen. And after the storm has passed, we reflect, share, and write from a place of renewal. Yet, what are those feelings and those questions that one may ask themselves during this phase? What lessons do you learn as a wife, a mother, and a woman during the phase of going through?
After two years of marriage, I am currently going through a divorce. While I am beginning to find peace for the first time, in a very long time, I am still grieving the process of a divorce. I’m an avid believer that the things we go through in life make our stories unique. It is the power of those stories to heal, reveal, connect, renew, and empower. I believe that our stories are not just for ourselves, but our tests become our testimonies to help others. I hope that my journey may provide perspective from a place of vulnerability during this particular phase in my journey.
Be Honest With Yourself
The phase of doubt has been so real! I have asked myself (and continue to ask myself) these questions quite often.
“Am I doing the right thing?”
“How did we end up here?”
“Are we getting a divorce?”
“Is this best for my son?”
“Maybe it wasn’t that bad?”
“Did he love me?”
“What happened to our forever?”
“What happened to the person I fell in love with?”
I did not get married to get a divorce. When I entered into this covenant, it was a lifetime commitment of connectivity and loyalty to one person. I had to reach a point in knowing that it is ‘okay’ to ask myself these questions. If I was able to easily let go without hesitation and move on with my life unbothered, I would then have to ask myself, “What pain are you not addressing that causes you to dismiss your feelings?”
It’s Okay to Seek Professional Help
I am Black, I am a Christian, and I need therapy! I speak it, and I own it. In our culture, therapy is not always something that people openly acknowledge. Even more so in the Black church, because we are sometimes socialized to believe that therapy cannot do what God can do. And while yes, as a person of Christian faith, I know that it is only by His grace that I am here, I also know that I need my God, my Bible, and I also need a therapist.
Individual therapy in this season (virtually — thanks to COVID-19) has allowed me to connect things from past experiences, hurt, and the guilt it carried that affected my present-day circumstances. It has been an outlet for me because even though I appreciate my best friends always being there to listen and support, I also understand that my best friends have their own struggles they’re trying to work through.
As a supporter of individual therapy, I am a strong supporter of couple’s therapy, too (when done with a licensed professional therapist). While I have made this recommendation in my own situation, I know that it has to be met in agreement in time. Because it takes two to make a marriage, it takes two to break a marriage, and it takes two to bring the pieces back together. I had to learn and accept that I cannot do it on my own. Each person must be able to identify, work on, work with, and change things within themselves for the greater good of the whole.
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In this phase of going through, I have been super intentional about analyzing myself. This self-analysis is critical because it is easy to point one finger at someone else when four are pointing back at you. Throughout my entire marriage, I was either pregnant or in the postpartum period and any mom knows that you are a completely different person when you are in either of those phases. There is a life being nurtured inside of you, and you are biologically not yourself. As I reflect upon my journey, I underestimated the role of the postpartum period, which is natural, considering the science behind it. I also realized I’d been looking at my husband to make me happy, and that was not his job or his responsibility. It is mine.
There is No Room for Negativity
Unfortunately, when you go through a divorce, it is not a simple disconnect between two people. The time, work, love, and energy that it took to bring these two lives together as one, is the same time and love it will take to disconnect them. Families, children, friends, networks, and relationships have been merged together and it is no longer a union of just two people. It is a village and a community that was brought together by the love of two people.
The strength of that village depends upon that same love. Because of this, it is natural (not helpful) for persons to take sides while going through a divorce. It is also natural (not beneficial) for one or both to feel the need to ‘tell their side of the story.’ The truth always reveals itself and my Godmother shared a nugget of wisdom that holds to be true: “What people say about you behind your back is none of your business.” I have learned the more I hold true to this, the negative energy flows away and makes internal space for positive energy to reside.
Show up as the Best Version of Yourself
In all of this, I have learned the most valuable lesson: You come first. Some may disagree, especially when children are involved. However, by putting myself first, I am inevitably putting my son first. He needs mommy at her best, so I can give him my best. I learned this the hard way, and some nights, the tears would roll down my face because I felt so depleted and completely emptied. The constant pushing and pressing can ultimately run your well dry. I cannot pour out of that which has not been poured into me. My health depends on it, my finances depend on it, and my child depends on me.
These lessons were and still are tough lessons that I have learned going through a divorce, and as I am still, unfortunately, in this process, I am sure there will be many more to be discovered. Going through this in a pandemic has taken away the ability to travel, visit friends, go to the spa, and a much-needed long hug with close loved ones that I so desperately crave. Regardless of the outcome, there is something on the other side. What that is, only God and time know the answer to that question.