SHIFT HAPPENS | Life On The Flipside

Illustration by David Mitchell

Welcome to Life On The Flipside, the first installment of SHIFT HAPPENS, a regularly featured column on Shtetl. ______________________

Let me introduce myself. I am that Jewish mom who you probably never want to be. When I was half way through my pregnancy with my second child, I had the not so sudden but more of a creeping realisation that my marriage was doomed. It got to the point where I could no longer pretend that it was a just bad phase that would soon pass. We were seriously screwed and no amount of marriage therapy was going to save us. Let me tell you, when you are 6 months pregnant and you have a wild and rambunctious three-year-old at home, this is a very scary place to be.

So there I was, massive belly and all, lugging all my crap out of the duplex I once shared with my husband and child. If I was not in such a mad crazed hurry to get this all done before my ex came home from work, I would have probably stopped to realize that this was in fact a sad moment in my life. But, I had no time for these types of emotions. I was a woman on a mission and this was only the beginning of my journey into divorce and single motherhood. So, the car is parked outside and I have a stack of garbage bags in my hand. No time for packing, I literally shoved my whole life and everything I’ve ever owned into those bags. This was probably the only time I was actually happy that I barely have any personal possessions. The whole event was rather fast and easy. Pregnancy is really not the time to be lugging around heavy items, but I was totally determined to get out. I even remember thinking hmmm well, a miscarriage would not be so bad right now (but those thoughts were coming from a very scared place). But, alas, I did not miscarry and thank you God for that.

Illustration by David Mitchell

I have the cutest, sweetest little baby and she is worth every minute of bad marriage suffering. So, here I am living with my parents and on the path to a brand new life. I’m no longer that petrified girl, curled up in the fetal position (with a real baby inside me in the fetal position) wondering how in the hell I am going to survive. Nope, I’d say at this point (and only because I have the most amazing and supportive family ever) I’m a somewhat empowered woman. I have been navigating my way through managing joint custody, negotiating finances in mediation, all the fears, sadness, GUILT (are my kids destined to be emotional screw-ups who will be unable to hold down a committed relationship?) and the unknowns of life as a single mom. I call myself a single mom, but I am not, I suppose, in the conventional sense. My ex happens to be a very involved and dedicated dad. So that helps a lot. So here’s my blog. For those of you who have ever hated your husband and fantasized about leaving him, well this is life on the flip side ladies.