I’ve had a girl, I’ve had a boy, and now it looks like I birthed a book. Even more population-popping than the octuplets mom, this book includes 28 babies–I mean essays, by 28 different writers.
Steeping in the awesome vibes at Mothering has informed the book so much. I’ve been lucky enough to include the essays of three Mothering writers, Ame Solomon, Sally Blakemore and Kathleen Wiebe, in the selection. The book is called Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On (Seal Press). As I like to say, “When life gave me divorce, I made a divorce book,” with the subtext that I turned lemons into lemonade. More than that, I found that I was better able to transcend the circumstances and the wear-and-tear of the admittedly often painful process by sticking to the present moment that I was in, and not getting swept away in the undertow of the stigma of the d-word.
Would I be a better mother to my children if I decided to become a guilty shell of my former self, or a person who went through something tough and came out the other side stronger and more grounded? That would be choice b.
The book came out of the desire to reframe divorce as the rite of passage that it can be for a woman and for a family.
Two years ago, in the first blurry fortnight of moving into a different house, I stopped at the video store and got a 20-year-old Ramona Quimby video for the kids. I thought it would be completely wholesome and free of creepy commercialism and whatnot. I frankly needed to go to my bedroom and cry. But, when I came out, the episode that was playing was a nightmare dream sequence where Ramona goes to sleep after her parents have a tiff at the dinner table. In the dream, the footage was black and white. A Vincent Price-esque voice over intoned, “Divorce! Divooooorce! Divoooooooooooorce” as the house shook as if in an earthquake, and all four family members walked off in four different directions, each with a suitcase, the house dark behind them, its windows x-ed out with tape. And then Ramona woke up from her bad dream, and the parents were totally chummy again, and the bad dream dissolved, and the credits rolled.
Exactly what my kids needed to see right then. NOT!!! So we had a discussion about it. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. How that was an example of all the associations that divorce summoned. It needed a reframing. It is a ship, but it is not the barnacles that have clung to its hull over the past century. The barnacles needed to be scraped off so we could see it for what it was, and see our selves and our family for what we were and where we were going…and have the smoothest possible transition to the other side.
It blessed me so much to read the submissions that were sent to me between then and now. I wasn’t alone. So many women felt like I did and wanted to share their stories of transcendence and positive change. Kathleen Wiebe talks about coming to a place of peace about shared custody, and her increased joy in the necessary mindfulness being present to her children now includes. Ame Solomon shares how her divorce led her to pursue midwifery, and how being present to childbirth’s “pain with a purpose” healed her as the strength within herself rose up to meet that which she witnessed in women engaged in labor. Sally Blakemore gives us a confidante’s front row seat into what it was like to get divorced in the early sixties, when a woman couldn’t even get a credit card without a husband to make her legit. And my story is in there, too. Another contributor asked me if I was going to write an essay. “I don’t know.” “What’s stopping you?” “Fear,” I answered, “And the pain of revisiting that time.” But how could I shirk it when confronted with everyone else’s unstinting bravery? So I wrote one, too.
This is getting long for a blog entry, so I’ll stop here. The book comes out in June, but you can pre-order it on amazon.com at
You can also become a fan at its facebook fan page:
It lists events, updates, and will soon include blogs from the essayists.
Now my son wants to know, “Why don’t you do a book called Ask Me About My Wedding ?” And boy, is that a story.
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