‘My son was 6 and my daughter was 3. Where do I go for guidance? I opened up to my best friend about divorcing my husband of 11 years.’: Mother of two finds strength in sharing divorce journey

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“I’ve deleted and typed this sentence one too many times! Almost 1 year ago I made the toughest, hardest, bravest, but best decision; I opened up to my best friend about divorcing my husband of nearly 11 years. I knew in that moment I had opened a can of worms and there was no going back. From Feb-May, I played through every single scenario in my mind. I have 2 of the coolest kids. My son was 6 at the time and my daughter was 3. I knew the odds were against me as a single, Hispanic, Catholic woman living in Salt Lake City, UT. Where do I go for guidance?

Courtesy of Barras

My family, Of course. I broached the subject with my parents and I tried to blame it on a friend couple I knew. I Asked my parents their opinion and tried to be nonchalant. At the time, I thought those 3 months were mentally exhausting. Looking back, it was just the beginning. My parents knew my marriage was on the rocks, my sister knew, and I couldn’t hide behind the ‘perfect’ persona I put on any longer. I was mentally, physically, and spiritually drained. We celebrated my daughter’s birthday out of town just the 4 of us. I soaked in every single damn memory I possibly could, knowing I was about to tear it all apart. Every smell, every smile, every laugh, all of it.

The days prior to me asking for a final separation were filled with a lot of back and forth between the two of us. It was ugly, and again looking back to think it was only the beginning makes my skin crawl. I stayed at my parents, I kept the kids from him, I crawled into a hole, and to top if off my older sister, my only sibling, moved out of state. I was at rock bottom. I do not want to go into the details of the actual divorce, but what I do want to emphasize is YOU are the only person who can make a negative situation the most beautiful, positive experience!

I had been mentally preparing myself for the separation for a few months by the time I was actually strong enough to ‘ask’. I asked twice. The first time my feelings weren’t respected, and the second time I wasn’t going to back down. I knew I had the support I needed and I knew deep down that I had been unhappy for years. To think my own husband had no idea how truly unhappy I was boggled my mind. I made everything seem so perfect. I masked it so well the person who should’ve known me best had no idea!

I wish I could remember more of my feelings. I was on autopilot. Pulling the kids through each day, pulling myself through each day, and watching my life unravel. I knew at the end of the day the only person who was going to get us out of that ugly stage was me. So I went to work. Mentally, I wanted to be stronger, so I would wake up every single day and set my intention, figure out what I wanted to accomplish, and determine how I was going to do it.

There were a lot of days I would be okay with sitting with all of my emotions. I would have really bad days, but I would have really good days, and sometimes they would happen in the same day! If I was having a bad day, I would take a couple hours off work and sleep, and I validated it because it’s what my body was telling me I needed.

Now, I must word with caution and say that it’s extremely difficult. I’ve begged and pleaded with the universe to make the arguing, the pain, and the rawness disappear. I have spent so much of the past year in my shower, sobbing, with the hottest of water streaming down my face. I have learned and grown so much since May. I may not be the ‘fun, cool, carefree’ mom I once was, and that’s ok. What I do feel is an inner peace, an inner confidence, and happiness from within. I have grown so close to my kids and they continue to push me to be the best person I can be. I look into my son’s eyes and I push myself to show him a confident, independent woman who deserves respect. I look into my daughter’s eyes and I strive to be the example of a woman paving the path of ‘doing it all’ while still expressing her emotions. It is so important to me to continue to build myself up and keep my children’s environment stable, healthy, and consistent. It’s not always easy and it can be extremely isolating, but at the end of the day it’s for them.”

Courtesy of Sarah Barras
Courtesy of Sarah Barras
Courtesy of Sarah Barras

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sarah Barras of Salt Lake City, UT. 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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