Welcome to #SundaySisterhood! This 6-week Instagram chat series is all about women supporting women through life's toughest times. Last week was our first chat on divorce, and I wanted to summarize all of the powerful thoughts and perspectives of the women who participated.
Have you ever known someone going through a divorce, and didn't know what you could say or do to help? Have you ever been through a divorce yourself and felt completely alone? So many of us have been impacted by divorce in some way, either first-hand or as a child of divorce, or through someone we know among our friends, extended family, coworkers, or church. This chat was a chance for women to come together, speak up, and lift each other. I was so touched by what each person shared from her heart, and you can read each of the comments below. (I've also included some of my comments as moderator.)
By the way, I hope you'll continue to follow along on my Instagram feed each Sunday night! Last night we chatted about infertility, and we'll be continuing through the week to talk and share stories of women who've struggled to conceive or experienced pregnancy loss. Next Sunday night, we'll be chatting about depression, followed by loss of a loved one, then loss of a child, and cancer. (If you'd like to help host one or more of these chats, message me on Instagram!)
What can you say to show love and support for women going through a divorce? (And what should you avoid saying?)
I've had some close friends who've gone through divorce, and even when it's the best thing, it still hurts. I just kept saying, "I know this is hard. I'm so sorry. I'm here for you. I believe you in you. I love you." I realized quickly that criticizing their ex-spouses (even if I was agreeing with them) was not always helpful, and trying to give advice wasn't what they needed, either. A lot of times, not saying anything and just listening was best.
What are some things I can actually *do* to help a woman going through a divorce and lighten her load?
If you've been through a divorce or experienced it through a close friend or family member, what was the most unexpected part of divorce?
My sister had a 6-month abusive marriage that ended in divorce. I can't believe how many thousands it cost her, not to mention the emotional damage piled on by being abused by someone you love. My heart goes out to any woman in this situation!
Thank you sharing, Emily! I had a similar experience with a friend; it's heartbreaking on so many levels. I'm hoping this chat will makes us all feel less helpless when someone we know goes through that! I was surprised how many decisions had to be made, and how little information was available. I'd love to know what kind of resources are available for finding a good lawyer, for example.
How can I support a single mom after divorce?
Brings her a few meals, take the kids out for a while or for the weekend, so the mother can have some much-needed downtime! And just being there sometimes is the best thing to do.
My friends who have gone through it seem to need extra help watching their kids and bringing their kids places--things that they used to share with their partner, but now on their week, they don't want to ask for their partner's help.
Finding time to keep in touch and hang out with friends is hard for any mom, but it's go to be even harder for busy single moms! We can come to them--their house, their offices, their side of town. Going out of our way for our friends is just one way to say, "I really care about you."
How can I encourage a child impacted by divorce?
As a child of divorce, I couldn't believe how many people would be so intrusive asking questions about what happened between my parents, to me, a child! I know there's an inquisitive nature in us all, but being a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and being willing and able to shoulder the burden as needed goes a long way!!
think love and friendship are key--helping young kids feel at home and safe with you can make all the difference in their lives, especially kids who might be hurting from a divorce.
"I never understood the weight of divorce and single motherhood. Here are a few things people have done for me that helped. My dad took my daughter to the park so I could cry and take a shower. A lady from my church invited me to a movie and just said, through tears, 'We only have to talk about this once, but I am so sorry and I will do what ever I can to help you.' When she sees me she always ask, 'When's our next movie?' She doesn't pity me or pry into my divorce, or treat me like I'm a broken family. She's my movie buddy, and this helps me to just relax and be normal. There are times when my sister said the things I didn't feel like I could say. I really appreciated her being mad for me in that moment, and she was able to say it in her own choice way, but I also know you have to be careful with that one. Anger doesn't bring healing. My sister-in-law helped me know that I am strong and important, and that I can do this. Her encouragement reminds me I can move forward and no longer let that pain hold me back. My very best friend always lets me know how special I am, how God would not abandon us, and that I can expect happiness in my future. My own view of myself has been shattered, but her perspective of me and my future gives me hope."