Divorce is Like a Hurricane “Divorce is like a hurricane” the doctor says To my Mother who instinctively puts hands upon her swollen belly As if that will protect me from the storm that is to come. Who will protect me? Encased within her womb I am not immune to the...
Divorce is like a Hurricaine
Divorce is Like a Hurricane
“Divorce is like a hurricane” the doctor says
To my Mother who instinctively puts hands upon her swollen belly
As if that will protect me from the storm that is to come.
Who will protect me?
Encased within her womb I am not immune to the storm.
Adrenaline pumps each time the arguments begin.
Cortisol surges with each new legal battle, sustained flight and fight response contributing to my Mother’s now heightened risk of heart disease, lower immunity, allergies.
I feel another cortisol-blast from my host’s stress as surging guilt stabs like flying broken glass:
“Will these anti-depressants harm the baby, doctor?”
Whilst the outer world battles the ravages of fear of financial and emotional armageddon,
Snuggled in her womb, every biochemical and hormonal rush is transmitted Down the umbilical super highway
With unerring precision.
I am spared nothing.
And we are still only in the eye of the storm.
For then comes the miracle of my birth.
I arrive into a home where relationship disfunction is matched only by the dysfunction of the family law system
And the chaos of my parent’s divorce
Now manifesting as fear of poverty that makes my prospects educationally bleak;
A father I don’t yet know is absent and he tries to provide financially but at work
He’s just not the same. Productivity dips.
Debts to the divorce lawyers, how will he pay?
Mother disconnected, self-medicating to cope,
Here am I approaching my 1001 days from conception,
Pre-configured for a life on the edge, with a body hard-wired for action,
Ready for fight or flight, and
There is no off-switch for what has now become my ‘norm’.
And I’m not yet 2 years old.
“Doctor, do you think my daughter has ADHD?”
“Doctor, do I really need to medicate her?”
“Doctor, why can’t I come off the drugs you gave me for depression without feeling suicidal? Is this it forever?”
In the wake of the storm, I have become one more statistic.
My parents allowed the divorce hurricane to destroy the landscape of our lives, by taking shelter in the wrong places,
By allowing their all too human fears for self preservation to overcome their intuition,
Which must have told them in a small quiet voice that the journey they chose
Over rough legal ground and traversing mountains of bitter recrimination,
that I would make that same journey with them.
But the effects would be increased, because I am small.
Go back to the doctor, my Mother, who gave you medication you still can’t get off to numb the emotional pain, and yet the pain is still there.
Go back to your insensitive employers, my Father, who let you go because of poor attendance, as visiting me was not seen as a valid reason for flexible working.
Go back to the lawyers and the judges and the family court system and tell them how
I have a significantly higher risk of: health problems,
Of drug addiction,
Of going to prison,
Of mental illness.
Because of how my parents failed to cope with the hurricane.
Why did the doctor not know that numbing the pain of divorce does little to help empower action to make more courageous and less adversarial choices?
Why did the therapist not tell my mother that every attacking thought and angry word spoken or received, is pumped into the child she carries, raw and unfiltered?
Why did the lawyer not tell my mother that in a hurricane, you need to look for somewhere solid to take cover, and connect with experts who encourage waging peace instead of war?
Why did no-one show her that there is a better way to stay out of the path of the hurricane, to rebuild a life where both of my parents can thrive – not as a broken family, but as an extended family?
Divorce is like a hurricane. But for some it doesn’t pass, just relentlessly rips at the fabric of human family life.
Pumped with adrenalin and cortisol and sustained stress since my conception,
Fed direct via the umbilical cord and then the very atmosphere I breathe for the more recent of my 1001 days;
My ability to sit still, to listen, to feel at peace – unable to naturally develop.
The hurricane… has become me.