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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

single & stronger - Mehgan Boudreau

Recently I have seen a number of moms in our Mommy Stories discussion group who are doing the parenting thing alone, having gone through a recent separation or divorce. I thought we should hear their stories to better support them and understand where they have come from. 

In this new series, Single & Stronger, I hope you learn from these moms so that if you are going through a difficult separation you can keep things in perspective for your children, or if you have a close mom friend experiencing a difficult relationship situation right now you can offer more support to her. 

Thank you to Mehgan Boudreau for being our first mom to share her story. Such a strong momma.

All photos from Mehgan Boudreau

1. When did you know that you needed to get a divorce? The decision to separate and even divorce wasn't my choice, it was his. We did a type of counseling that helps you make a decision and during our second session I realized that I deserved more. I deserved to be loved, cherished and pursued so I told him all of those things during that session and told him that if he didn't want to do/give me any of those things then I was moving toward divorce and I would find someone that would. 

What signs did you know it was the right time?
Timing was just horrible with how all of this went down. I found out he no longer loved me when I was 2 weeks postpartum, we separated when the baby was 2 months old and the decision to divorce happened when she was 4 months. 

I still struggle with this being the right decision, but I have to hold on to the fact that he is no longer the man I fell in love with and he can't give me what I need and deserve. That is what keeps me moving forward. That and my beautiful little girl. 
2. How long ago did you get divorced, and how old were your kids? 
Not yet divorced but we will be by the end of the year. We've been separated for 3 months now and my daughter was 5 months at the end of July.

3. What were you hoping for when you decided to get divorced? What did you want for your kids in this process? 
I am hoping to find someone who can give me all of the things I want and deserve, the things that my soon to be ex hasn't been able to give me for more than a year. 

I am hoping to be amicable, and so far we have been. I think eventually we'll be able to be friends, but right now the emotions are too high for that. Bottom line, I want our daughter to be loved and taken care of. 

4. How did you tell the children? How did they react?
The blessing of all of this is that our daughter is far to young to understand any of what is happening. 

5. What is your advice to other parents going through this in how they should work with their kids through it?
First and foremost, keep the kids out of the middle of whatever your issues are with your spouse. Do not use them as pawns. They should be priority for both of you. Figure out a way to be cordial in front of them and deal with your issues as a couple separately.
My suggestion for someone going through a divorce or separation is to talk, get help and allow yourself to feel your emotions. 
6. What is your advice to someone contemplating divorce? 
If you or your spouse are not sure if the marriage is worth saving or dissolving, I highly recommend the counseling we did. 

It's called discernment counseling and it's relatively new. There aren't many who are trained in it but it's worth traveling for. It's not traditional counseling and it is designed for situations where one person wants to save the marriage and the other does not. It doesn't give you tools to try like traditional counseling, instead it is a place to talk through your feelings and the counselor helps you come to the best decision and to be at peace with that decision. 

The idea is that it is session by session based so there isn't a big commitment. There are no more than 5 sessions because the idea is that within 5 sessions you should be able to determine your next step - reconcile and move to traditional counseling, divorce or stay the course and re-visit at a later point. It was extremely helpful for both of us. Another thing that helped me was making a list of the things that I deserved and wanted in another man. It's still hard right now to think that I will move on and find someone else but I know I will. And having something to remind me of what I deserve and want is helpful to remind me that my current situation doesn't give me the things I need. 

7. What helped your kids get through this situation? What were some challenges for them? 
She is luckily too young to know. 

8. What helped YOU get through this, and what were some challenges you experienced? 
Talking has been extremely helpful. Talking with friends, family, his family and him. I also found myself a counselor to help me process all of my emotions. The challenge for me was really coming to terms that he no longer was in love with me and there was nothing I could do about it. I always want to control situations and I couldn't control this one. There was nothing I could do or say to make him change his mind and coming to terms with that was quite difficult. I'm still not all the way there but I have made a lot of progress.
9. How are things now currently - are you civil with your ex, do you have a routine, schedule, communication, etc.? If things aren't great, how do you wish it was? 
We are very civil. Again, I think we'll be friends eventually but right now the emotions are still so high. We have a schedule, though it's changing soon. 

10. If you find yourself in a relationship again, what will you be looking for in a partner and a helper to raise your children? 
Oh I have a whole LIST! I will be looking for someone who adores me and wants to be in a committed relationship. Someone who also loves my daughter. Someone who is open and honest about their feelings. Just to name a few. 

11. What do you hope your kids understand someday about why you chose to separate from their other parent? 
I hope that she will see that we were meant to be good friends and not husband and wife and that we both love her so very much. 

12. What do you think people misunderstand about moms who are divorced? What do you wish others knew about your experience? 
I haven't experienced this just yet but I do have this anxiety about divorce in general. 

I feel like sometimes people think that divorce is the easy way out and that we're just giving up. That is definitely not the case here. 

I begged, pleaded, made business cases to stay together. I planned outings for us to reconnect, I reached out to friends and family for help and I was the one who initiated counseling. I exhausted all of my resources but he still didn't want to be married. It takes 2 to make a relationship work. 

14. What have you learned about yourself in this process?
Oh boy. I've learned so much about myself. I've learned that I am incredibly strong and resilient. I've also learned that as part of that resiliency is that I make the most of whatever I have which can be a good thing but can also get me into trouble. For example, I didn't always get what I wanted from my marriage but I made the most of it. I've also learned that I need to ask more questions and not take things for face value. There were signs of trouble in our relationship even before our marriage but I didn't question.

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