Megan, our story-sharer today, is truly one of the sweetest people I have ever known. We went through IVF cycles together years ago and in the process, became close friends fast. I am in awe of her strength and kindness, her loyalty to her people, and her ability to remind people they are loved and thought of. Today Megan shares what it’s like being a single-mom, and I know you’re about to fall in love with her too. I am so thankful for her bravery and willingness to share with us today.
Meg, I adore you more than you will ever know! You have been one of my biggest cheerleaders over the years and I am in awe of who you are. Thank you for sharing your “What It’s Like” with us today.
Several months ago, Chelsea graciously extended me an offer to put my blogger hat back on to help with a series for her blog. I was ready to rock it and go- and then she mentioned “…it’s on what it’s like to be a single mom”. You know those super dramatic moments, when you’re watching a movie and the music plays that DUN DUN DUN sound and it zooms in on the person’s face, showing them completely horrified? That was me. I was absolutely terrified. I didn’t know how I was going to write this, what I was going to say, and if I could even remotely do other single mothers out there justice. There are little challenges I back down from, so I figured I, at some point, would force myself to sit down and type this. As I write these words, this might be my sixth attempt. Yep, my sixth.
This for me is incredibly scary and intimidating; the transparency of my life situation makes me nervous to shout out to you, the person reading this. Growing up, I was the person who naively thought I would live out the American dream, having a husband and four kids, grow old with said husband, witness our kids leave the nest, then taking lavish vacations together and growing old- until we inevitably live out that scene of the Notebook where the couple dies together in the hospital- that happily ever after sort of story. Let me say- that ending DOES happen for many, many people. Maybe not the final scene of the Notebook- but for many, a one-time marriage and all of the amazing things that accompany it.
For me, that wasn’t the case (And that is OKAY-and if you ever find yourself in the same position- that is okay, too. Trust me on this one).
The month that my youngest turned one, I received a startling message in the middle of the night that completely turned my world upside down in that very moment. A message that led to many discoveries about the life I thought I was living, the marriage I thought I was in. That moment was heartbreaking and tragic and was the beginning of many weeks and months of discoveries that inevitably led me to a lawyer’s office to file for a divorce. I believe in that American dream I was telling you from earlier. I believe in the forever, the vows made before family and friends, the sanctity of marriage. I believe in rolling over in bed in the morning with your hair looking crazy, some makeup left over from the night before, and telling that person next to you good morning every day for the rest of your life. I know that level of forever exists for everyone- myself included.
As a Christian, pursuing a divorce was a very big struggle for me. I fought an incredibly hard internal battle for months, even long after filing. I felt like I was under public scrutiny for my failed marriage. I was someone, who at one time, had a blog and projected this image of my perfectly put together family. I was ashamed to bear a single mom status, I was scared for the future. I felt like I failed my children, who I swore I would never put through something like this, especially after the journey I experienced to become a mother. I felt like I failed my family miserably, and was embarrassed that for months several people would speak of things I was blissfully unaware of that had happened in my marriage. Do you want to know what I did know, despite all of that? That I was loved and supported by my incredible group of friends and family, that I needed to get up and fight for the life that I wanted for my boys and I.
Rebuilding yourself up and your life while physically and emotionally trying to heal is not for the faint of heart. I was very fortunate to stay at home after my oldest was born after a grueling journey with IVF, and left a career in social work behind. When the split happened, I quickly had to get back on my feet and find a job that would not only bring in the income needed for a family of three, but also be accommodating to my schedule and having my children 24 out of the 28 days a month. I also had to find daycare, which at the time was an absolute nightmare considering the close ages of my children. I couldn’t find any openings at places I felt comfortable with. I wasn’t having any luck finding a job. I vividly remembering feeling defeated one day after a day full of interviews, coming home to a home ownership disaster, several voicemails about no daycare openings and wondering if my life was ever going to be back on track. I was angry, sad, and probably 20 other emotions that day. I desperately wanted a break, for things to just be okay. Then I remember walking into my living room and the boys were snuggled up together on the couch, and I knew a change in my mentality had to happen. Our lives, our happiness- was in my hands and in my hands alone. I could do this and was going to be sure I did it well. Within a few weeks, I finally had a job, daycare lined up, and things started coming together slowly from there.
There’s a certain level of honesty you have to have with yourself as a single mom, and for me I had to take a really hard look at myself and realize that while I was regaining my balance, I had to work on myself, too. Insecurities and trust issues were at the very top of that list. Many things inside of me felt shattered, and I was determined to be the person I was before all of these things happened. Years of misconceptions and dishonest thoughts about who I was changed the person I was inside. And to really face that, work on those things, and make those changes – it takes time and it takes hard work. I didn’t want to be this broken person who somehow lost my spirit in a bad relationship, I wanted to be a strong woman who happened to overcome a less than ideal situation and walk away better because of it.
Our day to day lives now, are still as hectic as ever, but we embrace each day as it comes and roll with it. I wear many hats, just as any other parent would- I also just happen to rock the responsibilities many dads take care of. Learning about vehicles and plumbing and other ‘fix it’ type of responsibilities weren’t exactly my area of expertise, but thanks to Google and a stubborn personality, I ended up getting it down. I also had an absolutely horrible month recently where somehow a raccoon made it’s way into my attic (I wish this were a joke) and that was the start of a streak of bad luck as a homeowner where I could not find a break. Juggling a home, two busy toddler boys, finances, a demanding full time job, daycare, and apparently animals from the wilderness are becoming some of the things that I’m still learning how to excel at. Some days I feel like I’m failing, some days I feel like I’m nailing it, but honestly, isn’t that motherhood?
Also, spoiler alert. My two boys are thriving, growing, and are becoming incredibly sweet, hilarious little humans. My youngest is about to turn three in October, and my oldest will turn five and start Kindergarten next year. Watching them grow into who they are and seeing their interests and personalities bloom is pretty incredible. Being a mother, even if I do have that single title, is hands down the most rewarding and beautiful thing I’ve experienced in my life. Another spoiler alert- over the Summer I managed to snag the most patient, loving, understanding, hardworking and kindest man I’ve ever met. The past several months have been nothing short of incredible and I feel so immensely blessed by his presence. He also happens to be a police officer (which I am so proud to support), so the uniform may have scored him a bonus point or two. I’m incredibly thankful to be at the place in life that I am currently at, and can’t wait to see where this next year takes the boys and I. I have a feeling life is about to be really, really good.
Usually most blog posts end up with some compelling revelation or word of advice. I’m not sure I’m your girl for that, all things considered, but I’ll drop some honest facts from you, learned through experience. No matter your situation, your past, your goals, whatever negative, horrible thing you are dealing with in your life- you CAN overcome it. You can do better. You can be the person you want to be, you can live a happy life. You, and only you, chooses your narrative. Do things have to be perfect for them to be good? Absolutely not. Your past doesn’t define you, your last relationship doesn’t define you. The things that people say or do to you, they don’t define you. Those insecurities and lies in your head are simply that- lies. I always tell myself that it only takes a few moments of some major courage to make some of the biggest moves of your life. So no matter how heavy life feels for you at the moment, no matter how scared you are to take that leap into whatever- simply just believe in yourself and do what you have to do right NOW to get yourself to that next step in your life. I promise, it will be worth it.
Megan is a Missouri native and homegrown farm kid meets city girl. She enjoys trips to Starbucks, dancing in her minivan, living out loud, and trying to find the positivity in every situation. After a journey with infertility and IVF-ICSI, she is the proud mother of two little boys who enjoy frequenting pet stores, having movie nights, playing dinosaurs and getting down during their own personal dance parties. Megan is a devoted Christian who enjoys cooking, fashion, traveling, decorating, all things holiday related, and cheering on her brother during high school basketball games. You can find her on Instagram at @brink.meg, where you’re sure to make a new friend and acquire your new personal cheerleader in her.
PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called ‘In the Wait’!
PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cycles, raise a child with special needs, use an egg donor, be a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse, Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriage, suffer with endometriosis. experience depression, start a company, have a micro preemie, lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illness, fund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility, be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer, be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child , experience multiple miscarriages, have a surrogate, experience a late pregnancy stillbirth, be a police officers wife, be a working mom , be a breastfeeding mother, have weight loss surgery, donate and adopt an embryo, be on a reality show, go through the fostering process, throw a themed dinner party , have PCOS, have had a cancer diagnosis,be a high school teacher,love someone who’s experiencing infertility, be a step-parent, be the husband in a couple experiencing infertility , experience secondary infertility, experience postpartum anxiety, and experience a traumatic loss. Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!