Cherish the Last Trimester

I considered my son’s first three months in the world to be his fourth trimester. He was no longer inhabiting my body, yet he was still between worlds — and we were bound to each other in a sweet and private delirium that belonged entirely to us.

In this way, the first three months of my breakup with Pete were more accurately the last trimester of our marriage. Pete still lived with me and slept with me as he prepared for his licensing exams. We weren’t together. He wasn’t gone. The pressure was off, the disappointment blurred with relief.

We were just two scared, sad people being gentler to each other than we’d been in a long time. There was a sweet clarity to those days knowing we belonged and yet didn’t belong to each other any longer. In between meaning and knowing. His spine, in sleep, aligned with mine.

* * * * *

There are many in-between times while navigating divorce. Decisions get made, and then identities and stories and practical expressions of those decisions all need to catch up. This can be confusing and incredibly uncomfortable. It can also be unexpectedly sweet. During the times between definition and expectation, you may be surprised to meet what I call “original kindness” — the truth of what you two mean to each other and feel for each other. If you have such a moment or chapter, I encourage you to write about it in your journal and then reference it often. You will have this proof to fall back upon when things get ugly. You will know this gentle place is a harbor you can find your way back to, when it is time.

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