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The Courage To Be a Single Mother [NOOK Book]

Overview

Putting the Pieces Back Together

Step One: I Do Love Myself
Step Two: I Know What I Want
Step Three: My Family Is Still Whole
Step Four: I Can Choose Who I Am

Four simple steps. A world of truth. At last, a source of compassion and support for divorced mothers facing the realities of raising children when their lives are at their most ...

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The Courage To Be a Single Mother

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Overview

Putting the Pieces Back Together

Step One: I Do Love Myself
Step Two: I Know What I Want
Step Three: My Family Is Still Whole
Step Four: I Can Choose Who I Am

Four simple steps. A world of truth. At last, a source of compassion and support for divorced mothers facing the realities of raising children when their lives are at their most vulnerable and their self-images at their most fragile. Filled with more than a book on coping -- it is a source of understanding, encouragement, and strength that will help single women to nurture their children, resurrect their spirits, and create the life they want.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061974731
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 506,632
  • File size: 635 KB

Meet the Author

Sheila Ellison is the author of nine books; founder of the non-profit organization, Single Moms Connect; host of her own talk radio show, Women Uncensored; and a mother of four and step mother of two. She has appeared on Oprah!, and her work has been featured in O: The Oprah Magazine, Parenting, Family Circle, the New York Daily News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Oakland Tribune.

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Read an Excerpt

Knowing It's Over We were sitting on a porch swing, slowly swaying back and forth, facing our beautifully shaped, one-hundred-year-old oak tree, glancing over the top of the blooming rose bushes at our children playing on the lawn that we had planted together. It was the usual scenario. I was crying, telling him that I needed changes in the relationship, that I was unhappy and felt unimportant to him. Ron, my husband, said that I didn't understand him, that he was grieving the loss of his career and needed time to himself.

Our anniversary was two days later. I couldn't stay in the house, so I wrote a long letter that said nothing new and flew to Los Angeles to help my best friend deliver her first child. Her labor was long, so I sat day after day watching the way her husband looked at her, touched her face, and responded to her calls. Their words were soft, comforting, and intimate. I would leave the room when I couldn't stand it anymore and sob, physically shaking as I tried to calm myself in the locked bathroom stall. I couldn't remember ever feeling such tenderness. I sat wallowing, allowing painful scenes to flash through my mind, silly things...being eight months pregnant and asking for help carrying groceries but getting the response "It's good exercise, you can do it!"... the times he would ask me to walk backward toward our bed so that he could pretend I wasn't pregnant...his question for the doctor just seconds after my second daughter was born: "When can she get pregnant again?" I felt I had nothing.

I wanted a divorce, but I was an unemployed, stay-at-home mom with four children under eight years old. I wasn't ready for a fight; my baby was only two. Instead, I returned home from my friend's birth experience with renewed fervor for making the marriage work. My new plan: rent out our house and take the whole family to New Zealand for a year. Ron was born in New Zealand. We'd planned on spending a year there at some point so the kids could get to know their relatives and experience life outside the United States. I was sure that a change of location could save the marriage. We would be together in a new place with time on our hands to reconnect and heal.

Finding a renter for our house was easy, and receiving information from private schools in Christchurch was fun. The job of planning the adventure replaced my pain. At the time I was seeing a therapist who had the insight to point out a pattern she saw in my life. Instead of admitting to the world, to myself, and to my husband how bad the marriage felt, and doing something about it, I would take on a new and exciting project that kept my attention and creative energy focused forward. She told me that my pregnancies had been such projects. I knew she was right, but I wasn't ready to deal with the reality behind my feelings, so it was onward to New Zealand.

Each child packed one huge duffel bag full of a few bedroom treasures, clothing, a pillow, a blanket, and books. I packed all of our household goods into boxes and put them up in the attic, leaving the furniture in place for the renters. Through all the preparations I painted a picture for friends, family, and the kids of an incredible adventure: our family going away together to explore a new country. Then I worked to make this story a reality. Nobody knew that the whole production was really my lastditch effort to save my marriage.

I would hear a version of this denial over and over again as I talked to women who had become single mothers. Even when they knew absolutely in their hearts that the love was gone, or that there was no way to rebuild the relationship, somehow, just as I had done, they kept hoping and hanging on, afraid to face or utter the truth. Suzanne, a thirty-four-year-old marketing executive with two children ages eight and twelve, says she hung on for five years even though she knew that her husband was having affairs. "It wasn't because I loved him and couldn't stand living without him. I had been the one who earned the income in our family since we were married the year after I graduated from college. My husband wanted to be an actor, so he would be in productions and other dramatic projects and work odd jobs on the side. One day I opened a letter addressed to him from a town where I knew he had been filming recently. The letter was from a woman who was professing her love and devotion. She begged him to come back to her. She talked about their intense lovemaking and how she knew he couldn't love his wife if he could love her so completely. I went to the bathroom and threw up.

"I confronted him that night, and he apologized profusely and promised not to respond to the woman and never to hurt me again. He was going to be faithful, and he used his 'actor's ability' to convince me that the affair meant nothing, that he had been away from me for three weeks, and that we hadn't been making love much, so he made this big mistake.

"Some of his argument did make sense. I did work late hours (but that was only because he wasn't making any money at all). I did have the freedom to make all my own decisions, while he had to discuss his plans with me, because most of his plans included spending money that we didn't have. He was the one who was home with our boys in the afternoon until I returned from work, and he did make dinner most nights. So I decided that he had a few good points -- we did need to make sex a more important part of the relationship.

"I set the goal to make love at least once a week, and the relationship got better. But I have to admit I didn't let myself go in our lovemaking, I was sort of just there, going through the motions, while all the time I resented that he chose to share this intimacy with someone else 'so completely.' I also knew this wasn't his first affair, but I didn't bring it up because I was afraid to know the truth. Each night I would ask myself if his infidelity was a good enough reason to break up the family...."

<%=fontsmall%>THE COURAGE TO BE A SINGLE MOTHER: BECOMING WHOLE AGAIN AFTER DIVORCE. Copyright ©2000 by Sheila Ellison.<%=xfontsmall%>

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2006

    Divorce is Really Hell

    Divorce is so commonplace that mothers can be fooled into believing that divorce is somehow an easy experience--NOT TRUE! Single moms experiencing divorce and its wicked aftermath wil get comfort, support, and guidance from this terrific book. Single moms should also check out the completely revised third edition of The Complete Single Mother.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2005

    Well worth it!

    This book was amazing in helping me realize that all the feelings I had following my separattion were normal and healthy. It helped me gain the confidence I knew I would need to become a successful single mother. The advice on joining (or beginning) a single mothers' group was fantastic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2003

    Got me through the rough times

    i read and reread this book many times. It has got me through the bad nights alone and exhausted with my children. I bought numerous books on divorce this has been absolutely the best one. Thank you Sheila for helping me realize you can be an excellent single mother. A must read for all single mothers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2001

    The best book I ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Being recently divorced - I thought I was alone. Courage to be a single mom, made me part of a whole world out there that I didn't even know existed. This book gave me the courage to go on. I recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about getting married, or having a child, or contemplating divorce. There is so much information in this book that you should know before you make a life decision to get married to someone. I recommended it to my therapist, and to a coworker who is going through a divorce. I laughed, I cried, I cried evenmore with every page I turned. Ms Ellison hit every single area of my life, like she was my mirror. I keep this book as my single mother bible. Thank you Ms. Ellison.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    A MUST READ FOR ALL SINGLE MOMS

    This is truly one of the most inspirational books I have read in years. It tells how a real mom has faced the issues of divorce and starting over. Raising children on your own is not easy and Sheila has great advice and stories for all to relate to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    written from the heart

    I loved The Courage To Be a Single Mother. I could relate to so many parts of the book. Obviously it was written from the heart to help women get through the difficult transition of divorce and reclaiming self-identity. It inspired me to focus on what is important: Becoming whole again so that you can give the best of yourself to your self and to your children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    If you are a single mom, this book is about your life...

    When I first went through my divorce I felt like I was the only woman on earth in my situation. I didn't know any other single mothers and therefore felt even more alone. This book caught my eye in a bookstore and I picked it up and was not able to put it down until I reached the very last page. This author not only has insight into women and mothers but the book is written in a way that it might as well be the story of my own life. I laughed and cried through it and suddenly felt like I belonged somewhere. I was no longer alone. If you are looking for a book that will inspire you to keep moving forward and keep the faith on your own difficult journey as a single mother, you must read this one. Your heart will be touched in a way that you never expected.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    stepping into the fear, requires courage

    Realizing your marriage is over is freightening. Deciding to act on that realization takes courage, especially when children are involved. Sheila's book talks about every emotional step of this process; the action, the fearful first steps, fighting for your rights and the rights of your children; and finally the ability to move on and survive 'being a single mother.' This book has been my survival guide as i struggle daily to balance doing what's right for me and what's right for my children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    CHANGED MY LIFE

    When I read this book, I did not expect the author to have had this horrible experience, and to have come through it ok. The author doesn't have all the answers and she admits that, she can only tell you her experience and how she survived day-to-day. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is a single parent. It's as if she knew exactly what I was going through. This book changed my life -- it let me know that everything would be (not perfect) but that I would survive, enjoy life and love again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    I found out I wasn't alone

    My husband left me for someone else after 20 years of marriage. I felt alone and sad and like a failure. Ms. Ellison's book made me feel as if I was a part of her extended circle of friends and I wasn't alone afterall. Reading about other women in similar circumstances gave me added strength to be proud of my triumphs and look forward to every day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2001

    Real, Honest and Hopeful

    I found this book only 6 weeks into marital separation. It was my constant nightstand companion for six months. Sheila wrote this book so honestly, holding none of the vastly varied and intense emotions back. I could see myself in many of the vignettes, and began to feel hopeful toward the close of the book. Reading it felt like I had a nightly cheerleader. It is well written, readable and intelligent.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    A Spiritual Guide to Finding Yourself Again

    Sheila Ellison does a wonderful job of taking you through the stages of divorce - from thinking about getting a divorce to recovering from the divorce. Her words and stories touched my heart and gave me the strength to know that I got a divorce not only for myself, but for my two small children. Like one of the women in the book, I too chose to be a single mother by divorcing my husband. Sheila's words helped to give me the strength and power to know that what I was doing was the right thing. While reading this book, I cried a lot, laughed some, and came away feeling stronger. This book served as a new spiritual beginning for me in my long road to recovery. I highly recommend this book for any woman, any mother, who is or may be facing the unknown of divorce.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2001

    The best book I've read in years

    It isn't very often you come across a book, a magazine, a web site or even a CD that tells you what it's all about before you even open it up. The title of Sheila Ellison's book alone makes such a profound statement that many women across the globe can instantly relate to it. Once you have the book open, I personally guarantee the only time you will close it and put it down, is so you can reflect, self-assess, cry at all the truths you discovered, or to race out the door, re-freshed with clear thinking. Sheila's book does not answer your questions, but she creates an environment that allows you to find the answers within yourself. We all deal with change and circumstance differently, that is why Sheila has added the insights of so many other woman in her book. Courageously, Sheila also shares her experiences, hardships and triumphs, which in my mind, is the heart of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2001

    Validation of my divorce experience

    I think any woman who goes through a divorce feels she could write a book about her experience and Sheila Ellison has done an EXCELLENT job of it!! She is able to relate all the thoughts, feelings, the trials and tribulations of adjusting to single motherhood. While many books on divorce are based on what you should do, Ellison starts with how you FEEL. I think this is a MUST-READ for divorcing mothers.

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