It can be difficult finding gratitude in divorce, and peace and confidence are hard to come by during the challenging seasons of life.With nearly half of all first-time marriages ending in divorce, this topic is one many are personally affected by. For Danielle, her preconceived notions about marriage and divorce brought personal judgment and feelings of guilt; however, she was able to gain support, confidence, and a new outlook on life after finding gratitude for divorce.
By Danielle B.
Long before finding gratitude in divorce, I was a 26-year-old newlywed.
On my honeymoon, I got pregnant. My husband and I worked opposite shifts when we were first married and did not spend a lot of quality time together. I was sleeping while he was at work and he was sleeping while I was at work.
When life turned upside down
Around seven months into my pregnancy, we began fighting terribly. I became depressed and spent a lot of time crying. The more we fought, the worse I felt. I was a new wife. I was a new mom. Life should have been beautiful and happy.
I was raised in a Catholic home where divorce did not happen. No one in my family was divorced, and if I even brought up the subject, there was a lot of judgment. I worried that making a decision to leave my husband would require me to do it alone and without the support of many of my loved ones.
My husband and I went to marriage counseling for a year. After a year, we were not in any better of a place. I made the gut-wrenching decision to leave him and file for divorce. My son was only 18 months old.
I was faced with being a single parent and the stigma of divorce. Even still, I packed up my son and myself, and I left. I left a four-bedroom house with a pool and a cleaning lady. I left the luxury of having a husband whose salary covered all our bills. While married, I had only had to work to make sure I had vacation money.
Leaving was hard and it was awful.
Building confidence in my decisions
Were there times when I thought I had made the wrong decision?
That’s hard to answer. Rediscovering your confidence is the hardest part of making a big life change. Because I had to be sure, I took a long time to make the decision to leave. Although I wanted to leave when I was seven months pregnant, I didn’t feel confident that I had tried hard enough to salvage my marriage. I was afraid I was giving up too easily so I stayed. Divorce was not supposed to happen to me. I had a brand new baby. It certainly wasn’t how I imagined things to turn out.
Once we got through the paperwork and the divorce was settled, I knew I made the right choice. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. To my surprise, my family was supportive. They all told me that they fully supported the decision to divorce.
Finding gratitude in divorce
Ten years later, I am so thankful I made that decision. I am grateful for everything in a way I never was before. I have a roof over our head. It may be a very tiny roof, but it’s over a happy home. I can enjoy my son.
Something else I’m thankful for after the divorce is our bedtime routine. When my son was a baby, I would give him a bath and then read to him before bed. As he got older, we would read the books together. As he got even older, it morphed into discussing our day or the latest movie. I look forward to those precious moments with my son every day.
My divorce was not the greatest experience, but it gave me a second chance at living my life. Not just existing, but living and enjoying. Being a single parent is hard. Not having money is hard. But all of it is worth it to be peaceful and happy! I don’t know where I would be or how my son would have turned out if we stayed in that environment. Although it was the hardest decision, it was also the best. It took time to discover this truth and to find gratitude.
Danielle is a NJ resident, a registered nurse, and the proud mom of a 14-year-old honor student who also plays in the marching band.
If you are currently experiencing a difficult life shift—whether it be divorce or something completely different—know that there IS support to bring you the confidence you need to keep going. Reach out to danielle@mindKEY.me and let us help you find the right support you need to get through this difficult time. Maybe Mind Key is the community of support you’ve been seeking. Learn more about us and how we support health, wellness, and happiness by signing up for our newsletter.