I officially became a single mom in the hospital giving birth to my second child. I got the email from my attorney with the judge’s decree. I held my daughter in my arms, alarmed by her newness, alarmed I had created her from a relationship destroyed. She was beautiful–just like her sister. Their beauty, so innocent, so complete, so stark a contrast to the ugliness and the pain, the husband-sized hole in my heart. My world was a twisted knot of their goodness and my pain.
I cried. I cried in the hospital, I cried at home. I cried during the day but especially at night. Oh nights, those long sleepless nights of infant rockings and feedings, while my mind played the same track over and over again. “You’re alone. You’re alone. You’re alone.” That was my miserable song.
But of course I wasn’t really alone. I had my mom who took a night shift almost every night for the first five weeks. I had my dad who made sure my three year old had all her stuffed animals and a full sippy cup of milk to watch cartoons with. I had my sister who wrote me a valentine and told me, “You’re not single, you’ve got your whole family with their arms around you and your girls.” I had my friends who said over and over again in different words, “You are enough.” And I had a mentor who gave me, in simple terms the next step: create your own future.
So I stopped crying and started creating. I created new ways to identify myself, new ways to parent, new environments, new opportunities, new dreams. And with these other creations I created dignity. I create dignity every time I feel and respect my emotions without feeling sorry for myself. I create dignity when I am strong for my girls. I create dignity when I tell other people, who are disappointed with life, that it gets better.
For the first time since becoming a mother I have a job outside my home–this job. I write for Pearls With Purpose. I write about women who create beautiful dignity.
Photo by Cecilia Harvard