A letter to single mothers!

One of the negative effects of the increase of population worldwide is that we no more sympathize enough with other people. We see photos of the dead everyday on tv, it is usual. We hear of tens who lost their beloved ones to cancer, it is usual. We know a lot divorced, separated women and single mothers, it is usual. This letter is to remind you and myself that this is not usual!

On Monday the 10th of June 2013, I had my last supper with my husband before we separated for good. Since then, I moved to my parents’ house but struggled for 7 months before we got a divorce this December. This experience made me realize how difficult being a separated person is, on emotional, physical, and psychological aspects.

Most of these days I stayed in bed. My mom took away my empty coffee cups and teary napkins. My sleeping habits were drastically changed, that one time I forgot to pick up my son from his school bus because I simply fell to sleep amidst of the day. With all the wonderful things I am blessed with, I have felt very weak, and that no matter how much I cried or ate or slept, there are still many more tears and angers.

It’s only after this that I wondered how many divorced and single mothers we know, but take for granted. We learn to sympathize with these, and have pity for them here in Lebanon. If a divorced woman or a single mother does something wrong or a socially condemned behavior, which any person may commit, her actions are justified and tolerated because she is divorced and/or a single mother!

I’ve been wondering why we are told to sympathize with these people –whom I am one of them now- by the time they are stronger than typically married people, who have emotional and psychological support from their partners. Even if many of these single mothers/divorced women are poor, broken hearted, or sound irrational at many times, they have endured just as war witnesses or even more. In a war or a natural disaster, you know your life is being ruined by an enemy or by uncontrollable causes. But in a divorce, you are trying to accept that you are devastated by someone who was the closest person to you, and whom you shared with your tiny bits of life.

I now know that every single mother or divorced woman is an icon of strength and power for me, just for bearing with a journey that is seen as natural or okay for those who never have experienced it. I still do not know from were these strong women have the spirit to smile, but as days pass I hope I will be as strong as they are.

To every separated, widowed, divorced woman here on WorldPulse, a BIG salut!

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Take Back the Tech 2013.

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Bayan do you know how much I have learned from you. Through this VOF journey, I have gathered immense strength from you each day. You are so powerful and strong.

I salute you and I salute every woman who endures pain to emerge a winner. You are a beautiful winner. Never forget that.

Love you and best wishes to you :)

Hugs,

Mukut Ray

Mukut, you are the inspiring, powerful and amazing person everyone is learning from. am so flattered to read your words.

love you a lot,

Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

I do not know you. I do wish you and your family much strength and many blessings.

I was also divorced from the father of my children. This did not make me or my children stronger. We all continue to suffer, after almost 40 years, from the brokenness of the two sides of their souls. I encourage all who are divorced, with children, to remember that one cannot undo, in one's children, the two souls that bound together to create a new soul.

Peace be with you and your family.

Yvette

Y,

You are stronger but you probably can't see that. Indeed, divorce is not a nice thing, especially if there are kids. But if there is no other way some couples can't but have it. Even if you remained married, your children would have felt that something is wrong in their parents relationship.

I want to get to know you more and have your advice. But i know, for now, that you are strong.

best,

Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Dear Bitani,

Thank you so much for offering this homage to single mothers.

As a friend of someone who is going through the slow tortured process of legally divorcing her abusive husband (whom she left last March) and who must face each day with a stoic determination to be her four children's rock and compass, I I too have the utmost respect for women who are separated, widowed and divorced. My friend doesn't feel strong or courageous, but she is, extraordinarily so. She is on a hero's journey but can't see that yet. She says that when this whole process is over she doesn't know who she will be. She just knows she won't be anything the same as she was. I can only get a glimpse of the hell that she lives with each day: the fear for her own safety and for that of her children who she loves more than life itself.

And yes, she does smile. When I'm with her, despite all that she has on her mind, all her troubles, fears, and doubts, she is able to be present. She enjoys a good laugh. She has started meditating, as a necessity, a life-line. Just 10 minutes at a time when her life situation overwhelms her. She has a guided meditation that she uses on her cell phone. Her young son asks to do it now too, sometimes a few times a day, to help him cope with his strong emotions and anxiety.

I respect your grief, your honesty. And how after so many tears, anger, and anguish, you saw clearly that you were not alone, that we are surrounded by women, single mothers, who speak this language of longing and devastation.

You are a beacon of hope to me and many here. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and letting us share some of your pain with you! I do believe we are one.

With love,

Susan

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being." -Hafiz

Thank you Susan for taking the time to read and comment on my piece, and for your words of encouragement.

best regards,

Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Hugs to you from Nigeria. I hope as you continue to unburden your heart, just as you have just done in this letter, you will continue to experience, healing and strength. You remain and inspiration!

Loads of love and hugs,

Greengirl

Thank you Greengirl for your kind words. You are all an inspiration girls, and am so glad i got to know you through vof (F).

warmest regards,

bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Thank you for passing by Masoso, much valued.

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Many times we do not understand the journey put before us and the lessons and experiences that will unfold. It takes great strength to see the silver linings in such tough times, but I see and feel the strength you have as you embark on this journey. I wish you all the best and truly appreciate you sharing the tough moments. A true sign of strength.

Thank you amirchima for these words of support

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Dear Bitani: I was so touched by your words: "I now know that every single mother or divorced woman is an icon of strength and power for me, just for bearing with a journey that is seen as natural or okay for those who never have experienced it. I still do not know from were these strong women have the spirit to smile, but as days pass I hope I will be as strong as they are." While people often say that it is hard to truly understand others unless we are able to walk in their shoes, it is also true that words, and a story well told, can help us understand what it does feel like to walk in the shoes of others even if that is not an experience we ourselves have had. Thank you for sharing so powerfully. Blessings, Rosemary

Rosemarry, I totally agree with what you said. we can never feel what others feel unless we pass in that exact experience.

we have a traditional saying in arabic, 'everyone learns from his/her bag', so unless one tries personally he can never learn or know.

much love, Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Thank you for bringing up this subject. I know some divorced mothers and I can only imagine what they are going through. It takes a strong and determined person to be sure. I wish you the best and am sure that you will come out of this stronger than ever and ready to face the challenges of life. I

Amy @amyinstl

Thank you Amy for devoting the time to read and comment with these words of support

warmest regards, Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Bitani--

Your letter breeds compassion. It is a reminder to us all that people everywhere, everyday, struggle with sometimes hidden battles and yet they find ways to carry on and be strong even when they are having a hard time. None of us can truly know what our neighbor or friend experiences, but we can approach with gentleness and without judgement, and all try to go forward together. We must patiently heal and be our best selves, supporting each other along the way!

Thank you so much for heartfelt and thoughtful words; they are good reminders.

Warmly, Frances

I totally agree with you Frances, "people everywhere, everyday, struggle with sometimes hidden battles"..

thank you for your kind words.

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Dear Bayan,

Thanks for taking a stand against compassion fatigue. You focused on the plight of female divorcees, but you mention other issues like cancer and violence/death that also plague our world. It's stories like the one you just shared that resonate with people who no longer sympathize enough with those in need of social support. You are a strong voice for Lebanese women and women around the world!

Best, Erin

Thank you Erin. Too many people are suffering, but it seems no one cares. i am not suffering as much as other people, but it is this naturalization of things that bothers. I am not the first or last to get a divorce. someone is not the first or last to get cancer. someone is not the first or last to see a child murdered in front of him.

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

It's not about divorce, marriage, single, or whatever status we have. But it's about women. For me as a single woman (who has never married and not plan to get married), I face also difficulties, particularly because I decided not to want to have any children. People look at me as I was alien. They gave me label. But who cares anyway? I don't do any harms to any others.

Mia

Mia, people want to find things to gossip or to pity others. As long as you are comfortable and happy with your decision don't mind what they say.

And, this piece is for you :) :

http://elitedaily.com/dating/sex/10-reasons-single-relationship/

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Bayan dearest,

I can empathize with you because I am also a SOLO parent for 3 years now. Solo parent is what a separated spouse with kid(s) is called in the Philippines and in some places perhaps. The first months or years may be really painful, disturbing and disengaging.

Divorce and separation are social realities but should not be. Married people are suppose to live together and jointly raise their kids. Only physical death should separate them.

Anyways, my dearest Bayan, I sense that you are a woman of strength and you can hurdle the issue at hand. Just believe in this thought and live life to the fullest with your son. You are a beautiful person and a responsible mother. Your son needs you hence you need to be string for him and for yourself. Go! You can do it. Many of us, solo parents, will walk with you!

Ma. Lydia G. Callano Iloilo, Philippines +63 33 3158137 or 5138830

Lydia, your words are so inspiring and encouraging. you are a hero for raising the 3 kids by yourself. am feeling ill alone just with one.

warmest regards, Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Thank you, for sharing your story I know it is not easy. Just know that ,where you are now is where you are supposed to be and everything happens for a reason. God will never give you ,something you cant handle.

You are a strong woman. Just take one day at a time, you will eventually heal. Nothing remains the same for ever.

Take care.

Hope.TMT

Thank you dear for your words of encouragement. yes, they say time heals.

best regards,

Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Thank you for sharing your story, it has really touched my heart.I know in some countries, single parents are singled out and almost mistreated, for example, in Guatemala some religious temples and churches will not allow a single parent to take part in any of the sacraments or activities they are having. It is sad because the fact that a parent is taking care for a child speaks volumes and I think its admirable when a single parent can provide for their child and raise them to be exemplary citizens. I admire your courage because I am sure this has been a difficult journey for you but you have my full support! :-) Cheers! Cynthia

"I embrace emerging experience. I am a butterfly. Not a butterfly collector." - Stafford

thank you Cynthia for devoting the time to read my piece and post these kind encouraging words.

warmest regards, Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

I have also divorced and for a while felt almost destroyed by it, but over time I have been able to grow as a person and become stronger; something I would not have been able to do if I had stayed in that abusive marriage. I found it helped to make a list of the reasons I left in order to remember that I did make the right decision and to be able to trust myself. hang in there. I know it is very hard, but I expect that you will find your way.

Diane Ezeji

Thank you Diane. You are so strong, and appreciate your encouragement.

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Dear Bitani,

I work with victims of domestic/sexual violence, many of whom are single mothers. I continue to be amazed at their strength, and I know you have strength and courage and inner resources to not only survive but to thrive. that doesn't mean that all days are good or happy; there will be ups and downs and good days and bad days. The important thing to do is to get up every day and make that effort. Each day will be easier. There is a famous saying "one day at a time". No matter our situation, we can apply that saying.

Give yourself credit and believe in yourself. You have a group of women just here in World Pulse who believe in you. You can do it, one day at a time!

In peace, Beverly

Beverly,

your words are so true. yes, not all days are good or happy, there will be ups and downs and good days and bad days. I will try to make the effort and let it go!

thanks again for the support,

Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Bitani,

Your writing is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing this piece of you, your story, your experience. It is often difficult when you are going through difficult situations to realize your own strength. Thank you for pointing this out. I wish you beauty and strength in this coming year.

Peace Camila

Camila

Thank you Camila for devoting the time to ream my piece and leave this kind comment. I wish you a beautiful blessed year as well.

best, Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Dear Bitani:

Thank you for speaking out in courage. You express sadness, anger, belief that you may not have the strength to do what is before you. I understand. And I want to encourage you that you are growing everyday, and that if you do what is suggested by Beverly, and face one day at a time, you will muster what it takes.

I empathize with your belief that being a single mother prompts people to do things that are wrong, or that it is a burden that breaks them. This sense of powerlessness and fear in your mind about your situation may be what the old culture taught, and now I offer the option of holding to a new faith that the world is shifting and those old realities don't have to be true any more. You can reject those beliefs and have faith in the possibilities that exist for you. Your power, pulled from the Divine, pulled from your breath and the inner cord of light and strength, can do what it needs to do, one moment at a time.

I separated from my husband when his behavior escalated, and in retrospect, I might have been wise to not wait so long. But the children grew in a life without violence, in a home where they contributed helpfulness, where they had less materially but more security and more emotional wellness.

Each day we did our best, we worked together, and we were a loving family. It was hard work, and I felt lonely a lot. Yet my spiritual practice gave me a foundation of hope, peace, and light. Each day I found the strength to do what was necessary and a little more.

People who study resilience, the process of coming back from difficulty and succeeding in strength. They find that the biggest source of strength for people who have had challenges is overcoming those challenges. So you have an opportunity. You can do this, and you are growing one day at a time.

I pray that you find the resources you need to support you and be proud of yourself as a single mother. My message may not fit in your culture, and if you must reject it, blessings to you. I hope you feel better each day. Blessings to you in any case,

Anna

Speaking my Peace

Dear Anna,

your message is so empowering. i do not know if it is the culture or something else, but i do feel broken and disappointed by life and the people around. and, to some extent, i may be growing one day at a time.

Thank you a lot for your encouragement. Sharing your story also gives me an example of a role model.

much love from here, Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Hello, Bayan:

I am glad my words encouraged you. You were hurt and you were disappointed, and I hope that you will nurture the part of you that opens your heart and "hugs your midline" (a hatha yoga encouragement) -- finding what is within you to give you strength.

I know it is discouraging a lot. And often it seems we don't "see" a reason to hope. That is when I turn to my belief in the Universal Spirit, and the process of the planet and humanity to reach a new level of evolution.

I can't promise anything, but for me, my faith in a positive purpose for creation and in a worldwide process of shift and growth keeps me going.

Blessings to you, Bayan, and every woman, child, or man who gets discouraged. Maybe all of us can hold hands in a spiritual non physical way to give strength to each other. Maybe the expression should move from, "It takes a village," to, "It takes a planet!"

Best wishes,

Anna

Speaking my Peace

Thanks for sharing this letter with us here on the WorldPulse forum. It’s really good to have such empathy. I wish you well in your journey.

Thank you Jumi for passing by :)

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Bitani-- I just read about you being chosen as a World Pulse leader. Your strength and courage are inspiring! I lived in Beirut as a teen with my American Family in the early 70's and have amazing memories of your country's beauty and the kindness of the Lebanese people (as well as the tasty food!) I remember, too, the religious tensions and that women were definitely expected to be in traditional roles. My heart ached during the long Lebanese Civil War and it aches again for the people of Syria many of whom are now seeking refuge in Lebanon.

In my late 20's I went through a divorce, and even without children, it was painful and very emotional. Forcing myself to be social even when I didn't feel like it helped some as well as focusing on how I could be of service to others. Time heals and yet we need to allow ourselves to grieve our losses.

Your commitment to improve the lives of Lebanese girls and women and to challenge stereotypes is exciting!

Wishing you peace of heart and mind,

Phinnie

Dear Phinnie,

it is exciting to hear you lived in Beirut. How was life then? You should come again; Beirut changed drastically, or so they say. Unfortunately, political tensions are still present, but people are trying to cope with life.

Indeed divorce is very emotionally painful, and i do appreciate your patience and strength for passing through one. Having children makes you further wonder about their future, and worse about yourself when you put away your anger on you own child. Everyone says time will heals, but i do not know if it will.

Thank you again for your comment. Please consider coming again to Beirut, and talk to me so we plan something!

Best,

Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." —Judy Garland

Dear Bitani, It has been too many months since we heard your strong, sweet voice in your World Pulse journal. I hope you and your family are well and thriving.

Continue being a blessing upon our shared earth. Yvette

Yvette