I never thought that I would be searching for a single-parent support group in my lifetime. My life was good, my marriage was happy, the kids were doing well. We were continuing just fine with our lives when one day – we weren’t. I couldn’t tell you what happened. All I know is that my husband and I hit a final barrier, and we knew we wouldn’t be able to overcome this one.
When my divorce happened, it was a whirlwind. The proceedings alone were enough to make me feel like a complete failure for the rest of my life. It was splitting household items, determining visitation schedules for the kids’ father, dealing with the emotions and questions of the children.
These were all things that occupied my days – and most nights – like a tornado of chaos in my head. As things settled and we established the routine, I began picking up the pieces of the fairytale that imploded. I was not prepared for the depression, the loneliness, and the constant question of what I could have done to save the marriage.
I knew I needed someone to talk to, but I didn’t know where to turn after a while. The following were some signs that made me aware that I need to join a support group. Maybe you will relate.
Why I joined a single-parent support group:
My friends could only help me to a particular stage.
My friends were my rock and have remained so years later.
But even they need a break from the constant drama that can come from a divorce. I have a dear friend that is happily married who’s been through half of my life with me. When she gently mentioned one day that my whole life was full of drama, I knew I couldn’t expect my friend to be a constant therapist anymore.
All of my friends are married, and in my experience, women who’ve never been single moms don’t have that life experience to draw on and give advice. Finding a place that I can go that offers only people with the same experience became incredibly valuable.
I became depressed and didn’t recover.
A divorce is a loss, and there is no optimum recovery time.
But when I found myself sitting in the dark two years later while my children were at their dad’s, crying-watching romance movies and wishing I could move on, I realized that I need to find a new place for myself in the world,
Just as marriage and parenting didn’t come with instruction manuals, neither does divorce. I knew that I could read about how to recover and heal, but the only way to move on was to be a part of the real world. My options were becoming limited, so I started paying a sitter to watch the kids while I pay a professional to listen to me.
My therapist recommended the support group.
I started seeing a therapist, which helped a great deal. The only problem I encountered with therapy was that I came out a total mess even on the days I felt good going into treatment. I knew that rehashing my painful divorce every second Thursday at 3 pm would only become harder and harder as I heal.
After mentioning this to my therapist, she recommended a support group. We don’t talk about feelings all the time, but we support each other when we are in pain. The best part – I’ve made some wonderful, like-minded friends.
The benefits of a single-parent support group can be vital when you lack a stable support system within your family and friends near you. People with your own life experience are essential to make it through with an understanding perspective!
How do I find a support group near me?
I believe any single parent would benefit from a support group. But how do you find them? How do you join? There are two ways to go about finding support groups. One is online if you prefer a more anonymous approach; the other is finding a group in your local community.
The following are groups that focus on single mothers supporting each other in an online community.
- Single Mum Vine Facebook group
- Support group: Single Moms
- Beanstalk Single Mom Anonymous Forum
Local Support Groups:
I found more comfort in seeing people face-to-face and making friends I can make plans with, so I joined a local support group. Ways of finding a local support group:
- Word of mouth (ask around)
- Your church or a recreational center
- Local Facebook groups
- Book clubs in your community
- Bulletin boards in your area
- Your children’s school
Finally, if you can’t find a support group in your community – consider starting your own! You may help a lot of people and make tons of friends. I can assure you that you’re not going through this alone, and the other single moms will be thanking you for taking the initiative.
If you are a single parent, leave comments below with your ideas for finding and joining single parent support groups! I would love to hear your thoughts and experience!