Braver/Wiser : A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion
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No Longer Claiming "Divorced"

By Rayla D. Mattson

“Divorce isn't such a tragedy. A tragedy's staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love.”  
—Jennifer Weiner, Fly Away Home

I used to be very conscious of the fact that I was “a single mom” — so self-conscious, in fact, that I would add that I was “a divorced mother,” as if this extra piece of information somehow made things better; as if people would judge me less if they knew that I did, in fact, get married and didn’t run around getting myself pregnant.

And then I came to a point where I just stopped caring.

Why did I need to give validity to someone else’s hang-ups and thoughts about single mothers? Why are single fathers revered so highly and single mothers looked down upon? I’m proud that I chose myself and my children over a very toxic relationship. In doing so, I showed my kids that making a healthy choice for yourself can be hard, but it is okay and good and healthy to make those decisions.

I spent time feeling embarrassed—that somehow I had failed—because I had filed for divorce. I used to think there was something wrong or lacking in me. It’s been over nine years now, and I wake up every single day happy with my decision. I have never once regretted my choice (but I have wondered why I didn’t do it sooner). My children never look down on me for it. In fact, they're proud of my choice and are very supportive. So why do I need to label myself as a product of an unhealthy relationship? I don’t.

Hi. I’m Rayla and I'm a single mother to three amazing kids.
 

Prayer
Great Spirit of Discernment, may we continue to use your guidance and wisdom in making life choices that may not be easy, but are sometimes necessary.

About the Author

Rayla D. Mattson

Rayla D. Mattson serves as the Director of Religious Education for the Unitarian Society of Hartford (Connecticut). Outside of congregational life, she is raising her three beautiful children as a single mom.

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In the foreground, a mother sitting on a stoop, watching her young daughter.

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A Blessing for the Divorced or Separated