Divorcing during Covid-19

When You’re Divorcing During Covid-19 (a Pep Talk)

Are you really waiting for life to return to normal? Or, are you ready to build something new?

As we cross the four-month mark of COVID and all the tumult and unknown this is bringing to our lives, I can’t help but be reminded of what I discovered right after I had my daughter.

What I recall from that time is that folks rarely tell you just how hard the sleep deprivation toll is – not in the first three months – but more so months four, five, six, and so on. Those first few months you’re mostly coasting on adrenaline, tapping into reserves you didn’t know were possible and buoyed by otherwordly love for the little being you just made and are responsible for.

Where it gets particularly hard is after those first few months, when the cumulative impact of endless nights of fractured sleep and waking every few hours catch up, when the physical and emotional reserves are more depleted. This is when new parents really start to feel the strain of the sleep deprivation. But by this time, meals from meal train have probably stopped coming, and the newness of your baby isn’t so new to others anymore and so those offers of help may fade away just when you need it more than ever.

I’m reminded of this unique new parent experience because I think there’s a parallel to our COVID experience. Many of us were in shock and took quick action in those first few weeks, running on adrenaline to sort out our lives, businesses, and adapting to new routines (homeschooling, anyone?).  It’s similar to when we announce a divorce — at first it can almost feel empowering – a relief of sorts —  there’s finally some kind of resolution after the months (maybe even years) of fighting and/or not being heard or feeling seen.

But now as we slide over the four-month mark, with Coronavirus cases spiking and no clear finish line in sight for any of this, I want to remind you that there may be cumulative fatigue and emotional/mental impact that catches up now. You may be surprised to feel as tired, overwhelmed, angry, and frustrated as you do and you may even shame yourself for having a hard time now even though this has been going on for some time.

But please don’t shame yourself. Remember what I said about months four, five, and six of new parenting. Don’t dismiss the cumulative impact of repeated stressors over time. If you’re struggling right now, let that be okay, let that make sense. And then, please, seek out support, resources, and help in whatever ways would aid you right now. Focus on what you do have control over – managing your stress, completing each step of divorce, connecting with people who love you (unconditionally), getting your legal questions answered, finding a therapist or divorce coach.

Related: My Personal Tip Sheet for Robust Mental Health

This experience of COVID and a paused, unknown world may not be completely new anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard. Similarly with divorce – transitioning from “we” to “me” and learning how to ‘single’ parent in high-intensity sprints one day and being completely alone the next – is definitely challenging. But fortunately, it’s just a chapter. It’s not forever. And it is a means to a greater new beginning. And just remember, you aren’t starting from scratch – this time you have a whole heck of experience behind you.

So please, reach out to us if you or a loved one or a community member needs additional support. Our team still has a few slots among them and we’re hiring two new licensed therapists to join our team to meet the growing mental health need of our Bay Area community. And, if you need help strategizing your divorce or getting it “unstuck”, Hello Divorce is available to help – with affordable, high-quality plans to get your divorce forms prepared and filed and appointments with experienced divorce lawyers who you can schedule an appointment with in increments as small as 30 minutes.

We’re here to support you through all of this, no matter how long it lasts.

Related: 11 Ways to Move Your Divorce Forward During Coronavirus

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