What I Learned from Divorce – Caroline Palmy

Remember to nap whenever you can.
Caroline Palmy
Caroline Palmy

“Many of us are unaware of the new life that is available to us after a breakup. For many of us, we’ve lost ourselves and our power in the process of breaking up, and sometimes much earlier in the relationship. Because we’ve been so wrapped up in the breakup, we often don’t realize that we’ve been handed a golden opportunity for a whole new life of freedom and the possibility of unprecedented happiness, fulfillment and love that’s on the other side of this passageway we’re navigating.”

 ~ Katherine Woodward Thomas

I found this quote on Facebook the other day, and I feel this wraps my story up so nicely. Yes I know, I wouldn’t have wanted to hear this 5 years ago neither.

It was December 31st 2008 when my marriage fell apart. I was shattered, I was devastated and I felt like the rug was just pulled away from underneath me.

Luckily I had my three kids (12, 8 and 5 years of age at that time) to look after, so I had a purpose, I couldn’t just fall apart.

I went into autopilot – holding it all together, far too well and far too long, till I neared a breakdown and a depression 2 years later. It was liberating!

I could finally let go, and my kids appreciated me showing feelings, and as much as they probably loved the stability at the beginning, they could relate much more to me going through the loss, than to the stoic Mum, I became after the separation.

So please look after yourself, you are the most important person in your life, and for the sake of your children, stay well. Get help, whenever possible, and get some down time on your own, you need it. You are suffering a loss, the loss of your marriage, and you need time to grief. Ask friends, family and neighbours, they are sure happy to help you, and assist you.

Don’t be shy and it is not a weakness to ask for help (I had to learn that myself), it is perfectly normal and it shows great strength indeed.

Here is what I learned from divorce.

You are enough

Please just be yourself, that is more than enough. I tried to be Mum and Dad for far too long, and then I tried to be a Super Mum, none of which really worked. Just be yourself, and look after yourself. You are more than enough just the way you are. Enjoy finding your own unique way with your kids, establish new routines, enjoy outings together. Just do whatever your heart tells you. Never forget, you are wonderful.

Simplify your life

what I learned from divorce
Remember to nap whenever you can.

I realized that when I, once in a while, chose to cook frozen veggies, because I had no time for chopping up fresh ones, my life was fuller with love. I had more time for my kids, I had more time for myself, and I felt more alive thanks to it.

Look at your daily chores, at your weekly to do list, where can you downsize, what is really necessary, and where can you sneak in some you time?

Enjoy reading a book, or chatting to a friend over the phone, having a bath, or just be, treasure those times, and make them a priority in your life, remember you are going through a major life changing event, a loss, you need time to mourn and heal.

Finding yourself

When my marriage broke apart, I woke up from a 20 year deep slumber. I was together with that man for half my life, and I had no idea, who I, as a person, was. I have been a wife and then later a mum for most of my life, and I have lost track of the woman I could be.

So I started a wonderful journey to discover myself. What did I like, what did I want? I always wanted to do Yoga, so beginning of 2009 seemed a very good time to start just that.

Is there anything you like to do, always wanted to do, except you never found the time nor courage to do? Go ahead do it now, discover yourself, do you fancy taking Art Classes, playing an instrument, singing, any kind of sport, go ahead, go for it, you deserve it. Explore yourself.

I soon found it very liberating just to be responsible for myself, not having to compromise anymore. Being in a marriage or any relationship it is always a compromise, I gave myself up far too easily, and to an unbelievable extend, that I had no idea, who I was, when I was on my own, fortunately the journey to myself was just more rewarding indeed.

What music do I like to listen to, where do I like to go, what do I like to cook/eat, and so on….,

Also with the children, I found an even bigger bond with them, and I could take things much easier; they didn’t have to be in bed, before Daddy was home, I was far more relaxed, and for that a much better mum.

Now looking at them, I am so proud of what we all have become, not only did I find myself, by doing so, I set a great role model for my kids, to find themselves also, they are more mature and more self assured, than they were years ago. We are a wonderful family, the four of us, and we have a tremendous bond, and truly value each other.

 Accepting what is

One of my biggest lessons was to accept things the way they are, and not the way they are supposed to be. My ex husband was never much involved with the kids, so it came as no surprise, that when he was gone, that this won’t change.

I knew from books that it is supposed to be very important for the children to have regular contact with their father, and I really wanted the best for my kids, so I ‘enforced’ that, alas it didn’t work out that way, and I had to accept that every divorce is unique, and every mother and father is unique, as are the children and each situation.

Now my kids see their father 2 or 3 times a year for dinner, and that is ok. This is the best arrangement for us, especially for the children, and I really appreciate it this way. Please do whatever is best for your family situation, there is never a set course, go with your heart and enjoy what you have and accept the whatnots, and be flexible as to both of them.

Finding help

Not only is your marriage falling apart, but so is your former circle of friends.

Unfortunately that is the truth.

Find new friends, and you will also find people who are or were going through the same as you, and that is probably the best for you, so you can exchange stories, and feel moral and emotional support.

Let’s face it, only people who have gone through a divorce truly know, what you are going through, it’s like with kids, people without kids know theory, however, when it comes down to basics….., only people with kids can truly understand you.

Find friends to Support youBe wary of all the horror stories of divorce, yes it is a painful process, and yes it is hard, but it never has to end in drama, either just listen to the information, but if it wears you down, you probably have to stand away from Divorce Drama, and find other less dramatic people to spend time with.

It’s like when you were first pregnant, there were people telling you horrible painful stories of labour and birth, did you really want to hear this, being pregnant with your first? No, so this time, just say No thank you.

Also talk to your children’s teacher, so you and your kids get the support from the school, sometimes they have counselors, or talk to Soila, a wonderful divorce companion. Often it is wonderful to speak to an outsider, it is very liberating. 

Taking one step after another

Yes I was tired, and exhausted and often wondered, whether I can go on, and whether this was all worth it. Yes you can, and yes it is, but get some rest whenever possible, and just remember putting one foot in front of the other, is all that is needed, one step at a time. Yes I know, looking forward and not seeing an end in sight is weary so look back and pat yourself on the shoulder for how far you have already come!

Sometimes we forget how far we have come already, and once we realize this and praise ourselves for it, it gets much easier to keep going. And YES believe me, YOU can do it!

I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart, and as hard as it is, see it as an experience, a life lesson to be learnt, and know, it will get better eventually

Warm hugs and much love



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