I’m about to be divorced. The statement alone makes a lot of people really uncomfortable. Including myself, if I’m honest.

But the reality of being divorced is so much bigger. It means so much more than what the surface says it should.

I have lost the witness to what were arguably the most transformative years of my life. I changed from a free spirited college kid, to a young adult, to a mother. And the person that holds those experiences with me is no more.

Poof, it feels like they didn’t exist. I know that they did because I’m left with the aftermath, the extra wrinkles, the four little faces, the ten (OK, fifteen) extra pounds.

I am going to be divorced, and it hurts. A deep, burning hurt. It’s physical as well as emotional, there’s no separation in pain when it is this intense.

It fees so awkward, this early stage, when some people know, and others don’t.

I still get asked whether we will have another baby. And I’m left deciding whether it’s worth the effort to explain no, my baby days, as well as my whole family days, are done.

If they do know, I feel like the proverbial car accident that you can’t help but gawk at. I either get the sad “how are you holding it together” eyes, or the inquisitive “what REALLY happened” eyes.

To some women I’m a hero, standing up for myself, even when it’s hard, and with four kids five and under it is HARD. To others, I get the sense that they take a couple steps back, like maybe I’m contagious, and this scourge might accost their own family.

Talking about our failures is scary, it makes you feel like your skin is too small. In the winter I feel like that, the moisture gets sucked out of my skin and it feels like it has shrunk, it’s itchy, dry, and uncomfortable. Talking about failure is itchy too.

Sometimes I actually feel like the train wreck or the car accident you can’t help but stare at. People want to ask how I’m doing, how the kids are, but when I answer I can see them getting itchy. It’s too much, too real, too raw. Right now I feel like and emotional burn victim. Everything is on the surface for me all of my sensitive nerves are on display, no protection, it looks painful to the outside eye, but it feels even worse to me.

Kathryn Ryder

Hello! I'm Katie, I was born and raised in the Midwest and I'm still trying to learn to love the winters. I'm a tried and true boy mom, with four little men, ages 5, 3, 3, and 1. Since 2010, I have had 4 months when I was not pregnant, or nursing, or both. I'm having to actively search out myself again, and learn how to nurture my soul. I am a wannabe runner. I am an accidental writer, an experimental cook, and I'm learning to be a truth teller. I survive on a whole lot of coffee, friendship, little boy bear hugs and sloppy kisses, and about three hours of sleep a night.