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    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Motherhood After Tenure: Goodbye
January 30, 2013 - 8:26pm

This is going to be my last post for Mama PhD.

Contributing to the initial book and then to this blog has been an incredibly rich and rewarding experience. It has allowed me a public place to examine and articulate the intersections between my personal and professional lives, to push the boundaries between the private and the public, and to become part of a community. Writing this blog has also coincided with a decision on my part to be more authentic, less afraid of revealing myself, of speaking the truth. But it’s time to bow out and let other voices be heard -- in particular, I think we need to hear from adjunct Mama PhDs!

I am also making this decision because my life has just become a lot more complicated; I find myself needing all of my energy to get through each day.

I am getting divorced. Very suddenly, I have gone from being safely, even smugly ensconced in a loving marriage to being in the middle of a painful separation and looking toward a future of being a single mother.

Although it’s only been one week, I’m pretty confident that I can make this proclamation: divorce sucks. The enormity of the Gordian knot we are untying is staggering. A child of divorce myself, I’ve always dreaded that this would happen and fervently hoped my daughter would never have to suffer through it. Like a death of a loved one, when the worst actually happens it is oddly surreal. (And it involves more paperwork than one would imagine.) But there is also the relief of facing what one dreads.

I always assumed that a divorce would feel shameful and that I’d want to hide. After all, I made whatever mistakes resulted in this failure. If I had chosen smarter, if I had conducted myself better, I could have avoided this, right? However, my separation became public immediately and as much as this pained me, it has brought some unexpected and frankly undeserved riches.

In the last seven days I have received the most enormous outpouring of love and support — flowers, gifts, offers of free babysitting, visits, sidewalks shoveled, suggestions for break-up songs, hugs, talks, care packages, and useful advice. I’ve never before been the recipient of so much good will. I am astounded.

I’m not happy or proud to be divorcing. But I am grateful to be so loved in my imperfections. Thanks to all of you who have read and commented on my posts. I look forward to reading what comes next.

 

 

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