Good morning, Trench Dwellers!
I hope you read and felt encouraged by the stories of the three women who shared for Single Moms Week. You can still head over to the website to read Natalie's, Heather's and Kristen's stories as well as join the divorce and parenting discussions in the forums.
This week, we head back to the topic of mental health as Marcy and Christie share their stories of wrestling with anxiety and panic attacks. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting over 40 million Americans. Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders as men, which means there is a good chance many of Trench Community are suffering, too. We will be discussing this topic throughout the week on our social media pages as well as within our forums.
We also look forward to trying out some new posts on social media this week, including Woman Crush Wednesday (or #wcw, highlighting women we're inspired by) and Addition Resources Friday. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for these new ways to encourage, engage, and connect.
We still have openings in our Do You? series and are looking for women to share their stories in February:
- Do you feel the weight of loss and grief?
- Do you call yourself a survivor of abuse?
- Do you know the battle of addiction?
- Do you wake up every morning in physical pain?
If you relate to any of those questions, please know that you are not alone. Share your spark. Share your story. Get started by telling us about yourself and your trench: storiesfromthetrenches.org/stories
Founder, Stories from the Trenches
A couple of months before my wedding, my husband-to-be thought his bride-to-be was quite stressed out, and for my birthday, he decided it would be wonderful to let me spend the day at the spa. He scheduled six hours of spa treatments and was pretty darn proud of his thoughtful gift. What he didn't know was that his surprise would be a disaster of a day for me. Rather than a day of stress-free relaxation, my birthday was spent in a dark room with a woman with a German accent telling me all the imperfections of my face, a young girl fumbling with her first massage, and another woman who, while doing my nails, did not speak one word of English to me.
It was awful and incredibly lonely for me. I came out sobbing and yelling at him that it was the worst gift ever and he should under no circumstances ever make me go to the spa again.
Fast forward to now, when my husband requested for his 40th birthday a weekend away, a spa weekend away. I guess he forgot the "under no circumstances" part, and like a loving wife, I agreed we could try it. Trench Sisters, you must try a spa weekend! Not the "spa" day at your local salon but the one where they let you walk around the hotel in a soft, comfy robe with perfect slippers all weekend. The couples' hot tub had a waterfall, and I got wrapped in a thermal blanket. It was the most wonderful, relaxing, pampering weekend, and my "under no circumstances" ban has been lifted.
This week, we will be hearing stories about the trenches of mental illness, specifically anxiety disorders. But the stories are just the start—continue the support, conversation and encouragement in the blog comments and in the forums:
Setting an Example
It was autumn 2009. I wasn't happy. I felt alone. I wanted to feel like I had a friend in my husband. I needed more than a steady income and an occasional babysitter for our kids while I ran errands. He declined my request, saying this wasn't something he could do.
The Next Right Thing
I had my first child when I was nineteen years old, and not long after my daughter was born, her father and I were married. There was a lot of pressure to do so—and I would call myself a people-pleaser. My father also had a terminal illness, and I really wanted him to walk me down the aisle. I married despite knowing it was not the right choice, despite my mom telling me I didn't have to.
What is shared parenting like for you? What does it mean?
Shared parenting means that we get to have as much time with our daughter as we can while also sharing the things that go with parenthood—expenses, childcare, school, etc. This is not typical, in a sense, since there is no alimony and no child support. We made a choice to share all expenses and focus on equal time together.