Disclaimer: This story contains mentions of self-harm and may be triggering to some.
“The journey of motherhood has taken many expected and unexpected twists and turns. Coming from a family where I was the only child, I knew I wanted to have multiple children. I met a man I adored and thought was my soulmate when I was 25. We settled into life together and waited a couple of years before we decided to try to conceive a baby. After almost 1.5 years of trying to conceive, I found out I was pregnant a few days after I had finished classes for my degree. I found this to be absolute divine timing. My son was born 9 months later and I was forever changed. The first 3 months were not easy by any stretch, but by the time he was 6 months old, I knew I wanted another baby. My husband was all for it, and we started trying within a couple of months.
I quickly got pregnant, and as soon as we started telling our families and close friends, I suffered a miscarriage. We were traveling in the car that day and I knew something was wrong. We got to our destination and I locked myself in the bathroom while my husband took our son outside to play. I felt completely numb as we drove the 2 hours home to the local emergency room where I was coldly told I was likely having a miscarriage and they would send the tissue off for pathology. I had my husband call our families and tell them what had happened because I just couldn’t bring myself to say it out loud. I followed up with my OB, who said it was likely a miscarriage but didn’t want to lose hope and would follow up with some bloodwork. A couple of days later, I was told I had a miscarriage. We put off trying to conceive for several months while we tried to heal from this unexpected loss.
I conceived again within a month of trying. I had left my job to stay home with my son and was having a pretty smooth pregnancy. Then about 6 months in, I noticed a shift in my relationship with my husband. He was distant and came to me and told me he was unhappy. It rocked my world and for the first time in a long time, I dipped into a depression. That combined with some physical issues I had, made the end of my pregnancy anything but smooth. My second son was born and as much as I loved him, everything else around me was crumbling to the ground.
A few months later, I found myself so depressed I threatened to hurt myself. I spent 5 days in the psych ward. My husband promised he would be there for me, but that wasn’t the case when it came time to come home. We separated 2 months later, 3 days before my birthday.
So here I was, 32 years old with 2 young sons, no job, and my marriage was over. All around me were friends that were getting married and having babies, and I couldn’t see out of the dark hole I was in.
How I handled my emotions was heading to the kitchen. Cookies, chips, ice cream, and drive-thru lines became my way to numb my feelings. I had several part-time jobs to work around my time with my boys, so some nights I was crashing at a friend’s house because driving back to my parents’ house was too far. I had spent a lot of my early adult life very overweight and it was not long before I found myself at the highest weight I had ever been. I knowingly wasn’t taking care of myself and for a while, I didn’t care.
One day came when I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t stand to see myself. I knew it was time to make some changes.
That was 2012….
Here I am today, 10 years later. I am remarried to a wonderful man. We added 2 beautiful girls to our family and I couldn’t be more grateful. That is not to say there aren’t bumps in the road. Actually, there are a lot of bumps in the road. I have ups and downs.
44-year-old me understands a lot more than 32-year-old me.
What happened in those 12 years?
Therapy. It took time to find someone who I could work through my feelings with. And now, being open to knowing it’s okay to not be okay at times and go back to therapy when needed. We all need a check-in and tune-up at times.
I learned to let go of the things I have no control over and give myself grace. I was not entirely at fault for my divorce, so holding onto that doesn’t serve me moving forward.
I leaned into the important relationships in my life. I was extremely blessed to have friends who were willing to stay alongside me in a very tough time. I’m forever grateful for the sisterhood I had then and even now as life ebbs and flows.
I started taking care of my mental and physical health. For me, that meant addressing why I was going through binging periods. I started moving my body. I started running. When running ceased to bring me joy, I started working out at home. I connected with a community of other women all over the country who supported the journey I was on.
What I learned…
- My worth is not filled by my husband or my children.
- My worth is not based on the size of my clothes or the number on the scale.
- No food/drink/drug is going to solve any of my problems.
- Taking care of myself includes my mind, my spirit, and my body. Food that nourishes my body, daily movement, and prayer have all been ways I take care of myself.
- I am enough, just as I am. Because of that, I care to do things that are good for my mind, body, and soul.
As I have grown as a woman and a mother, I feel very called to help other women understand they are worthy to take the time to take care of themselves. We tend to put ourselves last, but I know firsthand that when I do that, no one gets my best. What do my children see when I neglect my needs? They see it must be something they will have to do to be a parent. Our spouses and children deserve a woman who takes care of their needs, not sources to someone else to validate who they are.
I used to carry a lot of shame and guilt for my past. I’ve come to understand that by sharing my story, I may help another woman not feel like she is the only one going through this. This journey continues on as I grow to understand and love myself better.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kerri from Connecticut. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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