“That old eighties terminology of a ‘broken family’ is completely outdated. Friend, you have fixed your family by taking this step”
It takes a special kind of courage to end a relationship that you know isn’t working when you’re pregnant or to begin to negotiate a divorce when you’ve just given birth. But, sometimes it’s during life’s big transitions (having a baby, changing jobs, the death of a loved one), when you can’t hide from a truth anymore.
This happened to author, coach and host of the Simply Complicated podcast, Katie Dean when she took a ‘sledgehammer’ to her marriage — she was sixteen weeks months pregnant with their second son at time.
In her second book, Messy, she writes about the decision:
‘While so much that unravelled after my decision was heartbreaking, stomach churning and all the things you could imagine, I never once doubted myself and the decision I ultimately had to make.’
If you’re a new mother (or father) facing the end of a relationship, what can you do to ease the strain, practically and emotionally? Here, Katie shares her tips.
LOWER THE BAR.
The key to happiness over the next little while (read: life) is to not only lower the bar, but to drop it. Now is the time to let go of those super high expectations. Accept support, get out and about and share how you’re feeling. However you feel on any given day is right on time.
HONOUR YOUR BOUNDARIES, LOSE THE GUILT.
You have a new ‘we’ to think about — you and your baby. There’s going to be a truck-load of demands, requests and things to figure out. A lot of the legal jargon and language will be foreign and unnerving but it’s all a part of the process. Just take it one ‘are you kidding me’ at a time. This is not the time for five year plans, my friend.
SHARE YOUR HEART
I know how hard it is, initially, to bear the thought of any time away from your little one. But, what’s best for your baby is a loving and nurturing relationship with both parents. The more people who love your baby the better, right? So, keep that in mind when faced with talks of custody. That old eighties terminology of a ‘broken family’ is completely outdated. Friend, you have fixed your family by taking this step!
KEEP SERVING THE FREAKEN' PEANUTS.
Stop feeling guilty for, or sorry for, your baby! I don’t see it as my job to shield my kids from hurt, but to equip them with tools to back themselves. When the author Glennon Doyle was going through her divorce, a friend said to her: ‘Your family is together on an airplane right now, and there’s some serious turbulence. The kids are afraid. What do we do when we’re afraid on an airplane? We look at the flight attendants. If they seem scared, we panic, too. If they seem calm, we stay calm… Your job right now is to stay calm, smile — and keep serving the freaking peanuts.’
So that’s what we do. We keep serving the freaken’ peanuts.