Today is my daughter’s birthday and I was feeling quite reflective this morning, as I often do when I contemplate the birth of my children. This time six years ago I felt blessed. I’d just given birth to our third child and our family was complete. It was a smooth, easy birth. She was healthy. We brought her home and introduced her to her two adoring older brothers. Of course it was hard work, but I was happy and I stayed for some time cocooned in new baby bliss, feeling thankful for my family.
But I was actually clueless about what was going on behind the scenes. My husband was cheating on me; 3 months after our baby was born I found out and he left me. The cosy bubble had been on borrowed time. Everything I believed exploded around me and left me reeling.
As I look back at that carnage, it’s with a sense of wonder at life. I’ve spent time today thinking about everything that’s changed for me and how far I’ve come. I sat this morning writing down my thoughts and I looked around to see a 6-year-old, full of life and personality; a happy healthy girl enjoying her birthday. My family life is enormously content. How did I get from there to here? I try to recall that utter despair which I believed would never leave me, and find that I can’t feel it in my body at all. I remember it, but it no longer has the power to touch a nerve.
The reason I want to share this today is because I didn’t think I could ever get over the betrayal and pain from the end of my marriage but, like so many going through the same grief, I desperately needed to believe that I could. I genuinely didn’t think I could be happy again; but looking back today, it’s almost like it happened to a different version of me. I want you to know that, even though it might not feel like it now, it’s possible for you to feel that shift in perspective too.
So much has changed in my life, but most importantly I’ve changed. What happened then could never happen now because of who I’ve become. My life now is not one I could ever have imagined when I held my newborn daughter in my arms 6 years ago, believing I was safe and secure. But it’s a life I would never, ever, trade for the old one.
In the post-tsunami turmoil I used to wish that I could go back to the cosy bubble of my little family and stay there forever. In my deepest grief I cared nothing for the opportunities and growth that would come from this change in my life – why should I? The pain was too raw and I just wanted it all to go away.
But I have learned that everything passes. Pain passes; joy passes. Nothing stays the same, change is inevitable. What I know to be true today may not be the same tomorrow. The pain I felt then is unrecognisable to the contentment I feel in my life now. There is always hope and you can make a difference in your own life. I didn’t always believe this when my marriage ended, but I hope that anyone out there going through similar can take heart from my experience. Your life may take a completely different turn to what you imagined, but it honestly can all turn out wonderfully in the long run.