Life Update, I’m Divorced

I want to talk today about something extremely personal and difficult for me to talk about.  I know that I don’t ever owe anyone an explanation about my personal life, but I want to be real with you.  It may seem like I share everything about my personal life thru social media, but I really only share about 20% of my life.  I tend to be a more private person and keep most matters just amongst my family and closest friends.

My hope in sharing on this delicate subject is that it will help others who are going thru a similar situation.

John and I are divorced.  I will admit, I never thought I would ever be saying or writing these words. This has been the hardest decision I have ever made in my entire life.  We started the process of separating in January.  Our divorce just recently became finalized.

What went wrong?  Nothing major, there wasn’t one thing that brought us to divorce.  No one cheated, no drugs, no abuse.  It was more like 1000 small things went wrong.  We got married very young when we were still babies.  As we grew up, we grew apart and out of love.  We became room mates and friends.  That’s how we have lived for a very long time.

John and I mastered how to coexist and run a home and family together as friends.  Not even my family knew I was unhappy.  I’ve always been very good at putting on a happy smile and acting like everything is okay.  But that isn’t a way to live.  Everyone deserves to be happy and in love.  Being married to your room mate is very lonely.  Every woman desires a romantic relationship, full of affection and to be taken care of.

Having children is what made me hold on to the marriage for so much longer than I probably should have.  I put all my feelings aside and neglected my own heart.  I kept thinking that if I try this, or we try that, things will get better.  They have to get better, I have children! I don’t want to raise my kids in a broken home.  But eventually when things get worse year by year I was forced to face reality.  I then thought to myself, what’s worse…  Raising kids in a home where Mom & Dad fight and don’t show any affection or love to each other?  Or raising kids with divorced parents who get along as friends?

It may be easy for someone to say that money has gone to our heads and ruined us.  It is the exact opposite.  John and I have struggled financially most of our marriage.  I would often use financial stress as a reason why our marriage wasn’t working.  “If I work harder and earn more money, our financial stress will go away and we will stop fighting and we will finally be happy”, I would tell myself.  Then we got to a place where we didn’t have financial stress any more, yet we were still fighting and unhappy.  I was forced to face the fact that we had serious marriage problems there were never related to a lack of money.  The root of the problems were in our relationship.

How are Caleb & Sofia? Obviously a divorce with young kids is extremely hard!  There is no way around it.  John and I went to counseling to prepare for how to tell our kids, what to say and what not to say.  They were of course devastated when we first told them.  We talked to them about this a couple months ago while John was still living at home.  Now that he has moved out and has been on his own for a while, the kids are still getting adjusted to it but are doing so much better than they were a few months ago.  They both told me the idea of a divorce was much worse than it actually is.

John and I made a promise we would never talk bad or say anything negative about the other person to our kids.  We are trying to make this process the least painful it can be for them.  A divorce in itself is so hard for children, I don’t want to add to it and make it any worse than it has to be.

How am I? If you had asked me a month ago I would have told you: I have good days and I have bad days.  And some times it goes moment by moment.  One minute I am doing great and very positive about the future, the next I’m bursting into tears.  The loss of a marriage is similar to mourning a death.  At times it has been very difficult to keep myself composed for my children, for my job, or for life.  At other times I feel very motivated to keep moving forward and excited about what my future will bring.

At this current moment, I am feeling great 95% of the time (a month of healing can change a lot!). I feel strong, independent, and excited for my future.  When one door closes another one opens.  I’m stepping into a new chapter of my life full of endless possibilities.  I have kept myself busy with Caleb and Sofia.  I have been working on myself a lot with reading, therapy, church and praying.  When the kids are in bed at night, those couple hours before I go to bed are always the hardest.  Those are the moments I can feel lonely.  I have learned to fill that time with reading or watching a good movie.

When I got married I thought it would be forever.  Last month was my 15 year wedding anniversary.  When I was newly wed I had so many dreams and goals of what we would be doing, where we would be in 15 years.  Only a couple months into marriage I had already started planning a trip for where we would go to celebrate 15 years.  I never imagined on that day I would be getting a divorce and starting over.  One of the hardest parts in losing my marriage is accepting the loss of a dream.

There have been many moments of extreme loneliness.  After being in a relationship for 15 years, I’m not used to doing anything alone.  The first night I was home alone was very scary, and sad.  I have to admit I drank an entire bottle of wine, watched chick flicks and cried.  I have had to relearn how to be on my own (still learning).  How to do everything myself and be completely independent.  All while taking care of my children and my home. Props to all the single Moms out there, it’s hard work!!!

What now? John and I have remained friends (I know that sounds cliche but it’s true).  We still do things together with our kids.  I think this has helped Caleb & Sofia tremendously with this adjustment.  They get to see us as Mom & Dad who are friends, even though we aren’t married.  We both attend family birthday parties, we will take the kids to the movies or have a meal together with our kids.  We plan on spending holidays together with Caleb & Sofia and family.

Now that we aren’t married there isn’t anything to fight about.  All of our problems were in our marriage, in all of the husband and wife stuff.  Take the marriage away, and we get to be just friends.  We have children together, which means we will be in each others lives forever whether we like it or not.  We may as well make the best of it and get along and be friends.  Any time I get frustrated, I picture Caleb and Sofia’s faces in my mind; this always helps me take the high road and do the right thing.

Next steps… It has been an adjustment for me to be single.  I haven’t been single since I was 19.  I went from being single living with my parents, to being married and living with John.  I have never lived on my own.  It’s been very strange (and uncomfortable) going places and showing up to events alone.  I’m told I will eventually get used to it and even enjoy being single.  I really hope that is true!

Right now I am focusing on getting myself into a healthy mindset, going to therapy and getting healing, attending church and bible study.  And putting most of my attention on Caleb & Sofia.  I want to build back up a new life, a new normal for the 3 of us.  My love for my kids is my driving force every day to get out of bed and keep moving forward!  I want to show them that their Mom is a strong, independent woman!

I want to thank all of you for your continued love and support for me and my family.  I can’t put into words how much it means to me.  I think about all the DM’s, emails and comments I’ve received from caring people asking if everything is okay. I have seen them all and they have helped me get thru this process.  Thank you so much!  And I’ll see you next blog post :)

XO, Rachel

new start

Breast Augmentation Surgery

breast augmentation surgery

It is been 2 weeks since my breast augmentation surgery.  I thought this would be the perfect time to share my experience and thoughts on the whole process.  This is a surgery so many women think about having, or have had done.  I have had soooo many questions about mine.  I thought I would open up and share what you all want to know.

Why did I have the surgery?

When I was young, before I had babies, I had very nice (small) perky breasts.  I never really thought about wanting them bigger.  I think breasts at all sizes are beautiful.  When I got pregnant with my oldest, Sofia, my boobs went from a size B to a DDD.  I was blessed with a lot of breastmilk to feed my babies.  After I stopped nursing my boobs deflated a lot!  The ‘meat’ of my breast went back to a size B, but with a lot of stretched out skin.  I would describe my boobs as tube socks with some applesauce at the bottom.  They drooped down and laid against my chest.  I felt so unsexy!  I rarely would even let John see my topless.  Every swimsuit, bra, lingerie I ever wore had an underwire and tons of padding.

How long did I nurse my kids?

I nursed exclusively (no formula) for 6 months with Sofia and 10 months with Caleb.  Caleb was much more into nursing than Sofia was.  Typical man… always into the breast! lol

How I knew it was the right time?

I knew immediately when I was done nursing Sofia that I would get a breast augmentation surgery.  I planned on waiting until I was completely done having children.  No sense in fixing something then having it get all messed up again.  I also wanted to wait until my kids were a little older so I wouldn’t have to feel bad not picking them up for a couple weeks.  Being the planner I am, I planned to do it when both kids were in school full time.  Get the surgery done in a slow month of the school year.  Hoping the kids will be so busy they won’t really notice.  And I can take the time I need to recover properly.

A couple days before surgery:

I have been waiting for this surgery for yeeeeears!  When I scheduled it I was so excited I screamed!  I counted down the days like a child waiting for Christmas Day.  Then 4 days before my surgery, I realized I’m having surgery and got really nervous.  I had only been focusing on having perfect breasts that I forgot to think about the process and the fact that I was going under the knife.  I started to freak out about the results;  What if they are to big? to small? not perky enough?  I got nervous about the anesthesia, the pain, the recovery.  I became very weird and emotional and moody.

Day before my surgery / pre-op:

The morning before my surgery I woke up excited and hopeful, with a stomach full of butterflies and nerves.  I had a doctor appointment that day, to go over all the details of the surgery day.  Meeting with my doctor calmed sooooo many of my nerves.  Talking with my doctor, hearing all the details and seeing how calm he was put me at ease.  Plus he has the best personality and made me feel so much calmer.  He made me feel so confident my surgery was going to go smooth.  After the appointment I watched a movie and relaxed the rest of the day.  I felt mostly calm and relaxed.

About 10:00pm that night I started getting really anxious again.  I kept counting down the hours.  The anticipation was killing me!!  I hate needles and hospitals and anything medical.  I was more nervous about getting my IV put in than the surgery and recovery.  I couldn’t eat or drink anything after midnight.  So my plan was to eat a huge meal around 10:30 or 11:00.  But my nerves were so intense I could barely eat.  My doctor gave me some valium for the recovery and told me it was ok to take one the night before for nerves.  So I did, even with that I barely slept.

Surgery Day:

I woke up calm and focused.  For me, the worst part was the leading up to the surgery and the anticipation; not the surgery itself.  At this point I only had a couple hours till I was under anesthesia and I was put out of my misery.  When I was taken back to prep for surgery I got very hyper and tried to make a lot of jokes, my way of dealing with my anxiousness :) John and Jaclyn sat with me until they wheeled me back into the surgery room.  They were both so amazing, sweet and comforting to me!

Being wheeled back to surgery was so strange.  I had so many nerves I was talking non-stop about random stuff to everyone.  Next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery.  I remember saying how tight my chest felt.  It was a tightness I can’t describe, soooo tight!  I have to be honest, the rest of the day is very blurry.  Coming off of anesthesia and being on pain meds made my brain very foggy, unable to think straight and remember much of anything.

John and Jaclyn helped me get my clothes on, put me in a wheel chair, drive me back to the hotel and get me in my hotel room.  I remember eating chicken noodle soup with some saltine crackers and ginger ale.  I didn’t want to get nauseous from the pain meds so I knew I needed some kind of food in my stomach.  After some food I got up, walked around my room, showed everyone my new boobs :) I started watching a movie, then took a huge nap.

Random side note: my doctor told me to wear something comfortable to the surgery because that is what I will wear home and most likely wear the rest of the day and sleep in.  And to wear something that buttons up the front because it will be too uncomfortable to put something over my head. And he was right!  I wore these pj’s (got a size small) and lived in them for at least 24 hours!  So soft and comfortable!!  Then the next day I switched into these pj’s (got a size medium).  I lived in both of these for the first week.  I also slept with this blanket every night, and still do!  It is the softest thing I have ever felt.  It made sleeping much easier to have a comfy blanket to cuddle with or wrap around me to make my sleeping position more comfortable.  And of course I got the bathrobe as well!  When I find something this soft and I’m stuck at home recovering I’m going to get the bathrobe!  I have literally lived in these items the past 2 weeks!!!

First night after surgery:

This was very challenging for me!  I like to sleep on my side or stomach.  After this surgery you have to sleep elevated on your back.  I had to put 2-3 pillows under me and sleep elevated.  This position is so uncomfortable at any time for me, especially when I am in a lot of pain.  I woke up a ton of times, very uncomfortable and in a lot of pain.  I kept up with all my medications that my doctor gave me. I took them every 4 hours to stay ahead of the pain.  But even with that, I was still in a lot of pain.
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Big Life Changes

life changes

Chelsea28 Dress | Shoes (similar) | Belt (similar) | Earrings | Bracelet Set | Ring

There has been so many big changes in our lives the last 2 months! We have moved out of Chicago to Tampa. We are officially Tampa residents!!

A little back story: I have been wanting to move back to Tampa really bad for years. I moved from Tampa to Chicago 10.5 years ago. I loved the area we lived in, I love the people and I love the food. It was a great place to live. But it never felt like home to me. Every time I came back to Tampa to visit my family, Tampa felt like home.

For 2 years John and I have been seriously talking about moving to Tampa. We knew the timing had to be right for this move to happen. With 2 young kids we can’t just pick up and throw our stuff into a car, drive down and figure it out when we get there. Everything had to be right for this move to be possible.

For 2 years John has been looking for jobs in Tampa and nothing has worked out. We started to wonder if this was ever going to happen for us. Our kids get older every year (obviously!) and I was starting to think our window of perfect timing for them was closing. I wanted to move when they were young enough that it is easy to start over.

Then… 2 months ago I was offered my dream job!
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Close to My Heart

Every year on Mother’s Day and on each of my children’s birthday I am reminded of how blessed I am to have my 2 beautiful healthy children. Today I want to talk about something that is very close to my heart. My hope is that you will learn a little more about me and that I can be an encouragement to other women who are going thru something similar that I went thru.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother. When I was a young girl, teenager, early 20’s; when someone asked me what I wanted to do with my life I always answered “to get married and have children”. I dreamed of how many children I would have, what their names would be and how much I couldn’t wait to be a Mom.

When the time finally came for us to start trying to get pregnant I couldn’t have been more excited. John and I had been married for a couple years, we were so in love and wanted to start a family. Everything felt right in the world.
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