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When bad things do happen to good people

When bad things do happen to good people

cry

“I’ve often wondered why bad things happen to good people – the answer is simple. Because it keeps them good.” – Adrian DeRoy

My first encounter with grief and trauma was almost two decades ago when a very dear friend passed away in a brutal accident. They were four of them in the car on that fateful night, two survived and two met with instant death. Why him? Why take him away? Why do this to his parents? That was the first time I had asked a very loud and excruciatingly painful WHY???!

WHY do bad things happen to good people? I kept asking this question, reiterating in every real instance concerning people whom I know –

– WHY does a tree fall on a teenager so badly that she has to get her leg amputated?

– WHY does the metal wire accidentally flings into the eye of only one man in a room of ten?

– WHY does a selflessly loving family get cheated of their rightful legacy of wealth?

– WHY does a poor maid’s only son becomes a drug addict and leaves her?

– WHY do life-threatening diseases attack the kind-hearted folks?

In our moments of deep pain and mourning, it is only human to question our faith. To question God. To question the very existence of God. If there really was God, why would He want suffering for us? Is He not supposed to love us, bless us, keep us safe? Why are we truly here and what is our life’s ultimate purpose?

The questions took a personal dimension, as I lay on the threshold of my marital separation. ‘Why would this happen to us? I haven’t hurt anyone or done anything wrong. I have been a good wife and a sincere daughter-in-law (or so I thought). This is so unfair!’ I found myself being unusually skeptical. Amidst my suffering and tribulations, there were innumerable times when I doubted my faith. The very core of my values was shaken and under threat. Life was posing more and more questions.

As I kept seeking, the answers came revealing in several different ways – through books, people, meditations, spiritual channels, quiet times, synchronicity, etc. It has been a gradual process of understanding and internalising. Purely out of my life experiences and my views only, this is what I believe I have learnt.

When bad things happen to good people:

  • The universe is interested in our personal and spiritual growth
  • The Law of Karma is showing up
  • Its time to learn the lessons we are meant to learn
  • A situation needs no labelling of good or bad, positive or negative
  • Life is not meant to be fair and doesn’t always give what we want
  • How we face things and live – that’s what matters
  • Our hardest challenges reveal our true spirit
  • Tough times don’t last forever, tough people do (clichéd but relevant)
  • Everything in our life happens for a reason, though we may not see it or believe it in that moment

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself. ” -Walter Anderson.

Looking at tough times from a different perspective:

It is in our darkest hours that we are inspired to seek the divine light. Hang in there and try to accept your life situation like a bystander, the pain will be significantly lesser. It is okay to be an atheist, but do know that God does exist. There is a strength that comes from within in God’s presence. And He is watching over us, constantly guiding us on the path we are meant to follow. Keep the faith and take one day at a time. There is a larger plan at work and the universe will fit all the puzzle pieces into one big picture. Believe!

How to help children feel comfortable in school after parents’ separation

How to help children feel comfortable in school after parents’ separation

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“Together may we give our children roots to grow and wings to fly.” ~Unknown

When parents get separated or divorced, children either get to continue in their same school or inevitably have to move schools depending on the circumstances and logistics. Changing schools during separation ensues a different set of challenges, a situation that I did not have to face and hence do not have insights. This post examines the scenario of helping children feel comfortable in the same school post separation or divorce.

School is like a second home for children. So when there befalls a crisis situation at home, it becomes a place of refuge for many kids. Since they spend most of their daytime in school, it provides a safe environment of routine and familiarity.

Here are a few ways we can help children readjust and feel comfortable in their own school during separation or post divorce:

1. Teachers: Meet with the class teacher (and not all the individual subject teachers in the Indian schools) and inform her/him about your family situation. It would be worthwhile to even confide in your child’s favourite teacher, someone he/she looks up to and who is sensitive enough to empathise with. Discuss with the teacher about the emotions your child feels at home and to look out for possible behaviour changes he/she may exhibit in school. You don’t need to disclose all the details about your personal life. Just maintain the relevance in context to your child’s well being. Teachers usually contact parents only if an issue escalates in school. Maintain regular contact with the concerned teachers apart from the time spent during parent-teacher meetings. Work closely with them and heed to their advice.

2. School counsellor: School counsellors are qualified to address several emotional and mental issues children face at different ages. Most of the schools would either have a full time student guidance counsellor or have someone coming in part time. Some schools may not have either, in which case the school authorities will recommend counsellors outside of school. Confiding in a counsellor helps the child and the parent deal with the changes at home and the whole new set of feelings. I have been truly fortunate to have access to our full time school counsellor who is compassionate and easy to talk to. Just the thought of having her as someone my kids could talk to in school, someone looking out for trouble signs, was very reassuring to me. She continues to be a sound support in dealing with several issues that I now face with my teenagers in school. School counsellors provide an opportunity for children to discuss their feelings in a stable environment. Counselling in school or outside does go a long way in helping children build their own coping mechanisms.

3. What to say, how much to say: Children are often subjected to many difficult questions that can be painful to answer. ‘Why do you not live with your father?’, ‘Why did your parents divorce?’, ‘Which parent do you love more?’, ‘Do you miss your old home?’, “Is your mom a bad person?’…so on and so forth. People are and will always be curious to know more. This is a reality children coming from a divorced family have to deal with for life. It’s important to teach them that they need not answer difficult questions if it makes them uncomfortable. They need to know that it’s perfectly okay to say they do not want to talk about it. Alternatively, subtle answers can be suggested that do not divulge too many details. It’s equally important for adults to handle this with care, sensitivity and tact.

4. Official formalities: It is essential to update all school records with the new address, contact nos. and change in mother’s name (where relevant). If the bus route has changed, update that as well with the bus authorities and inform the concerned in-charge on the bus. It is extremely important to update the emergency contact numbers, especially that of the family doctor or physician. The school diary usually needs to be signed by both parents. If one parent is not available or refuses to sign, let the school authorities know the reason.

5. Visitation schedules: In many cases, children tend to spend their time between two homes after separation. The teacher needs to be informed of the custody and visitation arrangement. For there may arise situations where children forget to bring along school essentials or leave behind important documents, etc. at the other home. If the teacher is well aware, it would mean sparing the children from scolding or further embarrassment. It is also important for teachers to be aware of extremely hostile situations when the non-resident parent may get invasive or intruding in school. If the child is to be fetched by an adult after school, kindly arrange so with an appropriate identity card to ensure safety.

6. Activities: Some children shy away socially and may avoid extra activities, recourse to being in their own shell. They need to be encouraged to take part in as many activities as possible, fostering their development and confidence. Despite moving further away from school after divorce, the extra distance did not deter me to drive my kids early in the mornings to ensure they participate in school sports (It’s a proud feeling that they went on to be a part of their school teams at various levels). Normalcy and consistency in maintaining their routine is key to their wellbeing.

7. School events: When children of divorce know that both parents love them unconditionally, it does a world of good to them. While it is essential for the custodian parent (usually the mom) to be present for all the school events, the presence of the non-resident parent provides a morale boost to the child. If the situation is amicable between the parents, their equal involvement in the child’s life is healthy. But if the situation has been acrimonious and the parents do not communicate well, the child can be spared of seeing them together in school.

Children are usually quite adaptive and find ways to cope with the changes in school. With love, right guidance and support, they eventually figure out what best works for them. So do single parents!

Face-to-Face with FEAR

Face-to-Face with FEAR

Clouds

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is the fear of the unknown.” H.P.Lovecraft

Every time I used to hear of real-life divorce tales, I would feel sorry for the couple in question and my heart would reach out for the kids in the messy situation. I used to think how hard is life for them, so sad and so not fair. And then I would instantly thank my stars for blessing me with a wonderful family – a loving husband and two adorable kids. After all, divorce is something that only happens to others. It can surely not happen to me.

Alas! How often we take our precious possessions for granted! How often do we take ‘life’ for granted!!

When it was time to face the fact that ‘Divorce’ was indeed happening to me, I was in complete disbelief. There I was, so beautifully entrenched in my so-called ‘settled’ domestic abode. A wonderful world that I had selflessly built over the years and tended to with all my energy. And now life was throwing me in front of a completely new situation, compelling me to leave all that belonged to me in my comfort zone. Catching me totally unarmed with a new set of fears to face a brutal reality.

As I stepped into the mental state of being ‘unsettled’, a plethora of dreadful questions quickly raced my mind-

‘Is my marriage really ending?’
‘Isn’t there a better way out?’
‘What will happen to my kids?’
‘Will they be depressed?’
‘We will be a broken family!’
‘My parents would be heart-broken.’
‘How will we break the news?’
‘I will be the first one in my family.’
‘How will I support us financially?’
‘Is this really happening to us?’
‘I never thought I would be here some day’
‘Why do my kids have to go through this pain?’
‘What have I done to deserve this?’
‘Why us?’
..and they continued to cloud my thoughts.

From living on a firm ground of certainty, I was suddenly thrown into a dark abyss of the unknown. From having a sense of what tomorrow may bring, I was now facing every day with indefinite possibilities. For there could be good outcomes or bad, isn’t it? Who knows? I surely did not.

The days and months leading up to this instant were agonising and the moment of truth itself was excruciatingly painful. It was time to brace myself for what lay ahead!

What I was gradually to learn about Fear:

1. Fear takes on many forms – anxiety, insecurity, misery, jealousy, anger, inaction, anticipation, etc.
2. Fear can hold us back from healing and letting go of the pain
3. Fear can be felt with certain signals our body sends
4. Fear can reinstate our weaknesses and what we cannot do
5. Fear deprives us of strong self-esteem and self-confidence
6. Fear can keep us stuck in ways we do not recognize
7. Fear can keep us oscillating between the past and the future
8. Fear is a state of mind and not a fact
9. Fear can lead you out of your comfort zone
10. Fear can be overcome

Why the blog name soulmom.in?

Why the blog name soulmom.in?

SoulMom

What’s in a name? Well, a lot of thoughts goes into arriving at a blog name. These are few of mine:

The ‘soul’ in soulmom.in – the essence of my tryst with spirituality and its constant pursuit. It is a seeking of the higher consciousness through various spiritual channels. Soul is the curiosity to decipher the mysterious ways in which the universe functions. It is a commitment to spiritual growth. Soul is the recognition that each of us is a unique spiritual being and our life’s purpose is to be true to our uniqueness. It is the discovery that ‘soul’ and ‘sole’ go beyond being merely homophones, into being an exclusive entity!

The ‘mom’ in soulmom.in – my experiences of learning and growing in the role of a mother. It is a determination to overcome the various challenges in raising my kids without a spouse. Mom is a resolve to grow from a survival mode to a thriving mode. It is an ongoing relationship with myself as much as with my kids. Mom is the spirit to be self-empowered as it is to empower my kids. It is breaking free from the ‘victimisation’ of being a divorcee to finding my true power.

The ‘.in’ of soulmom.in – the journey inward. Of going into the depth of self-awareness in search of the soul’s highest calling. Of inspirations that has shaped my inner being. Of influences that continue to help me heal. Of building a strong sense of mindfulness in all life situations. Quite importantly, .in is quintessentially belonging to India. The unwavering spirit of the Indian woman.

SoulMom is an effort to reach out to as many souls that can resonate with what I write here.

Then and Now

Then and Now

ThennNow

It happened to be India’s Independence Day celebrations and the nation was rejoicing the sense of freedom. But ironically that day, someone was feeling trapped in a marriage and wishing for his own independence.

Between then and now, as I reminisce the years gone by, I wonder how I survived it all. Days and nights of agonising pain, as I witnessed my world fall apart. The brutal realisation that most of my dreams will never be realised. The impending status of a divorcee and worse – the scary thought of raising my small children in a broken family.

But survive I did. And ever since, my journey has been one where I am continuously striving to thrive….

Back then, I wanted to create a platform of women in a similar situation that I was in and build a community for sharing and caring. But I was vulnerable and my state of mind was too fragile to take the initiative. I was not willing to open up. Now I am in a relatively stronger space of mind and more determined to reach out. We learn a lot from people who have been there, done that. And when you know you are not alone facing a challenging situation, it is very reassuring. Thus has evolved this deep urge to reach out and connect.

Between then and now, it has been one hell of a roller coaster of emotions…

Hurting & Healing

Fear & Faith

Insecurities & Inspirations….

Empathy & Empowerment….

….and the journey continues….

Introduction to this blog

Introduction to this blog

Temple bell-6

Welcome to this space!

Separation. Divorce. Single Parent. These can be scary words and even scarier situations to be in. Life-altering events that break hearts and shatter dreams. Makes you wonder if this truly is your destiny. You question your faith and ask ‘why me’? Hold your breath – you are not alone.

This blog encompasses varied experiences during my journey through divorce, single parenting and my tryst with spirituality. It is a bold attempt to surface from my shell, to speak out and to share. It shares the learning and growing that has emerged from my  influences and inspirations. It is a sincere effort to inspire and instil hope in times of distress.

This blog is a humble approach to reach out and connect with women and men alike across the world, each on their own unique journey. For we empathise with people who have had similar life experiences and together heal in the process. It is comforting to know that you are not alone in your situation and others like you have been there.

SoulMom is an acknowledgement and appreciation that we are all in this together in the bigger scheme of the universe. This blog endeavours to be a recognition and celebration of the incessant human spirit!

 

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