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letting go of the mom I used to be

Letting Go Of The Mom I Used To Be

letting go of the mom I used to be

 

One of the hardest parts of divorce is separating one family into two households. What’s difficult is digesting the fact that you’re not going to be able to see your children all the time. I don’t think couples can ever really imagine what that is like until it becomes their reality.

I was the mom that ran the show.

I handled the day to day caretaking while dad was running a family business full-time. But during my separation that all ended abruptly. Instantly, I was mom only 50% of the time. I never really processed what that was going to be like— having to let go of the mom I used to be.

Letting Go Of The Mom I Used To Be

I’ll never forget the painful transitionary period, from the date of separation to the time my eyes finally filled with life again. I call this time divorce purgatory. It’s a place of limbo. So much confusion was swirling around inside of me. My body had no idea which way was up and which way was down. It felt as if I was waiting, wondering, trying to figure out who I was without the label of being someone’s wife. The awkward feeling of trying to define who I am without him, and letting go of being the kind of mom I once was accustomed to being.

During this transitional phase of divorce purgatory, I could honestly say it was not my finest moment in time.

How could it have been?

It was a time of great suffering, mourning the death of a family unit that was my everything. In the eyes of those closest to us, we were the picture of perfection. Because I was the one that wanted out of the marriage, I was left with having to defend and prove myself worthy, as a woman and as a mother.

When you are unsupported by those around you, something inside you awakens. A moment of clarity washed over me in a fleeting instant. At the time I didn’t realize that it was an opportunity to grow into the powerful woman I was created to be. I wasn’t ready to see that just yet. At that moment what I felt at the depths of my soul was an aloneness in a world that didn’t feel safe anymore.

How could I feel safe when those closest to me whispered… “Nobody knows you anymore, Marisa?”

How could they know who I was? I didn’t even know who I was.

I was raised to believe I needed to be what everyone else needed me to be. I was told that my husband and children come first, which meant my needs had to be last on the list. I was never allowed to discover who that was because I was conditioned to believe the world was only safe when I met the expectations of those around me.  So, I shrunk myself and silenced my spirit in order to be the good girl.

I severed generational chains, broke the mold, and left the “good girl” behind.

But those whispers were haunting. They are words that to this day I have never forgotten, “Nobody knows who you are anymore, Marisa.” I owed it to myself and my children to find out. I was done believing that I had to “sacrifice” who I was in order to be the perfect mother. It occurred to me that this is what generations of women had to do in my family, sacrifice and go without in order to keep their family together.

This was not the legacy that I want to leave my children, that they had to go without—without their own passions, without their own voice, without their own dreams and desires, in order to be loved and accepted. I knew that breaking generational chains were going to require courage, strength, and trust.

It was not going to be easy, to do what many women before me didn’t have the courage to do, but this is the kind of mother I wanted to be. The kind of mom that stands in her truth, without fear of being judged or criticized.

Growth can be scary, and it’s uncomfortable, which is why most people choose to stay silent. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was drowning in my own silence, fearful that there would be nothing left of me to give my children. My children now have a mother who has let go of the mom she used to be in order to become a mom who stands in her truth. There’s nothing more powerful than that.

Whether you are contemplating divorce or you are wanting help to heal through your divorce, I would love to be there for you.  My own divorce was messy and there were days I didn’t think I would ever be able to get through it, but I did, and so can you.

Click on the link to get a complimentary 45-min session with me! I would love to know your story  mailchi.mp/34385f68f47f/wk73dswc3s

And if you want to know more about my journey please visit my website marisalupocoaching.com/

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Letting go after divorce

Letting Go After Divorce: It’s Scary & Intimidating Must Very Necessary

Letting go after divorce

 

A pink bike with a pink and white floral print banana seat. I hold a blurry memory of my first bike as if viewed through a hazy flashback scene. Yet I remember with clarity the thrill of independence and pride associated with learning to ride it. A bicycle symbolizes newfound independence for young children, and I loved mine and the sense of adventure and freedom it gave me. Now that I am a parent, my children’s bicycles hold a different significance.

Because as a parent, loss is your biggest fear. My friend recently recounted a situation where her three-year-old daughter was lost behind the stage during a dance recital. My friend became emotional as she talked about her fear and inability to speak at the moment, and the amount of time it took her to recover, even after finding her daughter.

Not being able to locate your child, even for a few seconds, feels like what I imagine drowning does. An immense pressure on your chest, an inability to speak or even breathe. Time slows and your vision narrows. You imagine the worst-case scenario; calling for help or even forming a sentence becomes an impossibility. When faced with such loss, as parents, we hold on tightly to our children and resist their demands to let go.

In other situations, most people do the same, steeling ourselves against loss.

Clutching our purse, locking our car and house, guarding ourselves, our family, and our possessions. Cruelly, sometimes, the people guilty of stealing the most from us are the ones closest to us, betraying our trust, our love, our friendship.

Throughout my divorce, acquaintances would talk about how divorce was so traumatic because it signified “the loss of hopes and dreams” and that captures the essence of divorce; my grief was not a result of saying goodbye to an imperfect partner, but the collapse of all I had built, the dissolution of all I had accumulated, and, far worse, the destruction of all my future plans for my family and me. Loss during divorce is inescapable, overarching, and momentous.

At every stage, as I continued to part ways with pieces of my life, I underwent the same heartbreaking process of grief and loss. My house, my furniture, my dog, and, most recently, a 15-year friendship. At first, I railed against the loss, then I grieved it usually with lots of hot, sad tears, and, ultimately, I shed that old form of me, which had held the item close, like a second skin. Each time, faced with the threat of loss, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it, I wouldn’t recover, and, inevitably, I did. I emerged, often scarred, sometimes lighter. Always altered.

With the implosion of a roadmap for my life, there were certain ideas that troubled me more than others.

One was that my children would not be with me when they experienced milestones. Ironically, my ex-husband had missed multiple milestones for our children when we were together; as the only constant in my children’s lives, I vow to always be there for them, and so my fears are unfounded. While I realize I have the annoying habit of worrying irrationally at times, an unusual source of recent distress became who would teach my children to ride their bikes without training wheels.

It was more than fortuitous then that in the midst of a particularly troubling month when my ex was threatening to take me to court regarding his misunderstanding of his visitation schedule, my daughter turned six and requested I remove her training wheels from her bicycle. My mother and I both took her out several times to practice with little success.

Two weeks later, as my ex’s threats increased, I took my daughter out again, and she practiced balancing and gliding on the bicycle. Then I held on and balanced the bike as she pedaled. Holding a child up is difficult work, both at that moment and all others. Every once in awhile, she would tell me to let go and proceed to fall into a bush or onto a front lawn. She grew frustrated and cranky as we all do when our expectations of ourselves exceed our abilities. I tried to express how difficult and time consuming acquiring a new skill is. She did not care. She was determined.

What my Daughter Taught Me About Letting Go After Divorce

That afternoon, after multiple attempts, when she finally instructed me to let go again, and I hesitantly did, my beautiful, tenacious daughter took off. Her long red hair streamed out from under her pink helmet as she rode away. I could see the pride she felt in her accomplishment in the set of her back, the way she sat upright in her seat and continued to ride away from me.

My heart was being squeezed. I felt simultaneously proud and nostalgic. As a mother, I cannot measure the pride I feel at my children’s accomplishments. At every one of my children’s milestones, I have cried with the weight and significance of the moment. This one was no different. I started to cry. I ran to catch up. When she finally came to a stop, I enthusiastically praised her, but she questioned my tears. I explained they were tears of joy.

The next day, my daughter came home with an even more valuable gift, a story she had written about learning to ride her bike. She is in kindergarten and an emergent writer, yet the story was very perspicuous. “I told my mom to let go. I told her to let go again. She let go, I could feel the fresh air and it was fun and my mom was crying joy.”

And so the student inevitably becomes the teacher. I had taught my daughter to ride a bike, and in turn, she gifted me a treasure. Sometimes, in life, we must let go. Letting go is scary and intimidating, but, often, it is necessary. In the process, we might be knocked around; we might fail at first. We definitely will fall. But it is in the act of letting go, difficult though it may be, that we find our way. Letting go is a freeing choice. We gain freedom and independence. We begin to fly. And we learn to write our own stories.

The post Letting Go After Divorce: It’s Scary & Intimidating Must Very Necessary appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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