After a seven-year marriage, Heather found herself in the middle of a devastating divorce. Her children were only 1- and 4-years old at the time, so she knew she needed to move back to Iowa to be closer to their grandparents. After the divorce, she found herself needing time to grieve. “I didn’t have the life that I thought I would have, and that was hard. But I am proud of who I am now, and I am so proud of who my kids have become.” Now 14- and 18-years old, Heather loves watching her children thrive as they have grown.
Heather found her source of strength during this time through her parents, being involved in church, reading, and talking with her pastor and close friends. “The biggest challenge was feeling the weight of it all on my shoulders. Everything falls on you as a single parent – the finances, bills, car repairs, house maintenance. I used to think about the big picture and get stressed out. Now I focus on one day at a time and ask myself, ‘what can I do today?’”
Heather also realized that she needed to learn how to ask for help. “Other people didn’t understand I would feel like I was drowning trying to maintain schedules and be in two places at once. But once they realized I needed the help, they were more than willing to pitch in. I wish I could tell other single parents that you are not a burden to other people. Learn to reach out, ask for help, and advocate for your children. I would see other opportunities with dad friends that my son would love to do, for example, and would ask if he could attend with them. You just have to stay positive and do your best.”
Another challenge Heather understands as a single parent is the loneliness. “Most of the world felt like it was made up with couples, and I could start to feel a little left out. It was never personal, it just is how it is, but I would feel like saying, ‘I need adult human interaction, too!’” She encourages those who are not single parents to reach out to the single parents they know. Enjoy friendships with them and understand that even though your journeys look different, you can still relate and help one another out.
Through Heather’s journey of grief, loneliness, and changing expectations of what her life would look like, Heather has found peace and grown closer to God. She tries to have personal time to read her Bible every day and continues to find strength in friendships and family. Now that her children are older, she looks forward to helping other single moms and children that are going through similar journeys.
Thank you, Heather! We are glad you are part of Single Parent Provision and know your story will resonate with and encourage many other single parents! Thank you for your transparency in sharing!
Published December 2021