All Woman

Single mom recounts finding herself after divorce

Monday, July 15, 2019

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CALEEN Diedrick and her husband separated when her newborn daughter was just two months old.

The couple tried to rekindle their four-year marriage, but it was beyond mending. Their marriage was over and she was devastated.

“I couldn't quite quantify how I got myself into this cruel twist of fate. I asked how — after I did it the 'right way' by getting married and doing everything in the prescribed order — I ended up as a single mom,” she opened up to All Woman in a recent interview.

After they divorced, Diedrick's ex-husband decided to keep his distance, and it was not until her daughter was eight years old that she saw him again. By then, Diedrick was on her way to attaining mastery as a single mom — the final stage, which she explores in her book Mayhem Mirth and Mastery: Memoirs of Single Parenting.

“Mayhem speaks to that tumultuous time with my ex-husband... the ridiculous amounts of arguments that we had, and then dealing with the separation and coming into the realisation that I was a single mom,” Diedrick explained.

“Mirth speaks to the joy I was experiencing in spite of coming into a new reality, something that was frightening to me at the time. The joy that I was experiencing because my baby was so extraordinarily good, and coming to realise that I was now able to make ends meet, and I was seeing things from a different perspective — falling in love again.

“Mastery speaks to all of the lessons learnt: Everything that the experience with my ex-husband taught me, and putting into perspective the relationships that I had that so impacted me, the lessons that my daughter taught me daily, the person I had become. My evolution,” she summarised.

Diedrick said she wrote the book for two reasons — to heal and to share.

“Writing was a huge part of my healing and getting rid of some things that I was consciously aware that I was carrying, as well as other things that I didn't know that I was carrying until I started writing it down,” she said, adding that she first started writing in the form of a blog before deciding to put her thoughts on the pages of a book last October.

“I also wrote the book to help other mothers reading the book — single and otherwise — to be able to put into perspective a huge part of the parenting process that a lot of us don't face — the emotions,” she added. “I talk about finding yourself as a woman and some of the things that you need to work on emotionally, and how to put down the baggage. I focus a lot on how you put your relationships into perspective.”

Diedrick pointed out that the book is not about bashing her ex, or men in general, but sharing how she came to find herself and how other women can come to find themselves while making positive changes.

“Most of the time what we do is focus on the men, and it gives us an excuse as women to not work on ourselves. My book is about putting them to the side because you are the only variable you are able to control. It's getting to the space where you can now look at yourself,” she explained.

The author also uses her formal training and education to deliver substantial life lessons to her readers.

She affirmed: “I'm a certified life and relationship coach so I utilise all of those skills in the writing process. Whilst I'm talking about my journey, I'm also telling you the lessons that I learnt, and I'm prompting your own introspection, so I'm asking you questions so you can now ask yourself, 'How have I been handling this?' because I know what it is like to just be on autopilot.”

Diedrick started blogging in January 2014, when she felt as if she was bursting at the seams with inspiration to write. She self-published her 170-page book on Amazon in May, and had an official book launch in June when she received the hard copies. Since then, she has been hosting book signing events where she also has conversations with her prospective readers about topics raised in the book.

“I also talk about the danger of being bitter that the relationship didn't work out and using the children as pawns and telling them negatives to poison their minds against the father,” she added. “Because some of us are the reasons we are single moms — some of us have done a brilliant job of chasing and keeping the men away.

“I also talk about the importance of fostering an open relationship with your children, so that you can have a discussion with them, honestly,” Diedrick said.

— Candiece Knight

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