The Wound We Never Talk About

Why the break-up of a family is one of the most painful losses.

Sarah Theresa
Nov 21 · 6 min read
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I wept on my yoga mat. Deep, heaving sobs that wouldn’t stop. The song the yoga instructor played about unraveling your ego only adding to the deluge of my tears.

I’ve wanted to be a mother for as long as I could remember.

When I was 29 I had a dream about a blonde, curly-haired girl. She was sitting at the foot of my bed, looking at me with her big crystal blue eyes. “I’m your daughter,” she said to me. I remember waking up confused. My daughter? Other than her blue eyes, she looked nothing like me.

Never did my childhood dream of becoming a mother involve a broken home.

Never did my young adult dream of motherhood consist of me doing it alone.

I left him six years ago — the man whom my daughter calls dad.

We were never married. We didn’t love each other in the traditional way. We grew to tolerate each other when I found out I was pregnant after we split up. Tolerance grew into love somewhere into my second trimester. Love turned into something ungraspable after our daughter was born. He grew distant. He buried himself in his work and we had trouble keeping afloat financially. He became unresponsive to my requests to spend time together — even just to chat about the mundane aspects of our day. I began binge-watching Netflix shows while he buried himself in paperwork every evening. He finally agreed to couples counseling. When, two sessions into counseling, the therapist told us we should split up, I called her crazy and did everything I could to make our barely-there relationship survive.

We often teach what we are learning.

A month ago I received a full scholarship to a perinatal mood disorder training. As a therapist, I’ve gravitated towards working with moms, moms-to-be and nurturing souls who want to take care of anyone but themselves. My own life’s work has been learning to love, care for, and attune to myself the way I wished my own parents did. Most therapists find the population they are drawn to work with connects somehow to their own personal self-love journey. My mission is to help other nurture and nourish themselves like an unconditionally loving parent.

As I started to ask myself the deep questions, I came to the realization that I haven’t moved on not because I miss him; I haven’t moved on because I miss us. I am still grieving the loss of our family structure.

Divorce and separation sever a family in a way that is irreparable.

It is a loss; a death. Like the loss of a loved one, the grief that comes with the loss of a family unit is complicated and leaves a mark that will never fully heal.

Embracing the new family structure takes courage, lots of inner work, and patience.

My family is not broken. My daughter not only gained a stepmother, but also an extra set of grandparents. It took me years to put my pride aside and embrace the words of the therapist I saw during the rough patch of our early separation. “Maybe you can look at the new family your daughter has in her life as more people to love her.” Those words were like nails down a chalkboard to my still bitter self. But time does heal deep inner wounds.

Healing happens in bits and pieces. True healing takes time. The mind naturally tries to integrate painful experiences.

Something deep integrated in the three days of my perinatal mood disorder training. I feel like my six-year-old wound was sealed by a calming salve of understanding and integration on a soul level.




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Sarah Theresa

Written by

Soul Writer. Mama. Life ponderer. Nature Lover. Therapist. Introvert. HSP & Empath. FB @Sarah Theresa Lamb, and Instagram @Zenchic23. www.sarahtheresalamb.com

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