Megane's MotherStory: "Separation was my springboard."

Shortly after Alba's birth, Mégane separated from her daughter's father. She had never imagined herself as a single mother, and yet, today, Mégane recounts with emotion that this difficult stage brought her everything: in coming to terms with herself, Mégane discovered the self-love to become an aligned and fulfilled young woman. For her, life is a book to be written, and the end of a painful chapter inevitably heralds a better one to come. Since then, Mégane has loved herself more, built and lived her life, and has no regrets.

This story was supported by the French-English bilingual school La Découverte, based in Geneva and Mies, which offers its students an active learning environment.

Mégane, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
My name is Mégane, and I'm 28 years old. I'm the mother of Alba, aged two and a half. I'm a single mom, and in real life, I'm a doula: I accompany parents through motherhood, from conception to post-partum.

Can you tell us about your story and your separation? Were you surprised by your incompatibility as parents?
Alba's father and I met when I was 17 and he was 23. We grew up together. We both wanted children. We got married when Alba was 4 months old, then separated when she was 15 months old, after 9 years together.

Becoming parents wasn't the cause of our separation, but the trigger that made us open our eyes to our relationship. We had evolved, and were no longer really compatible. We were facing each other without really trying to understand each other, or even ourselves. Looking back, this separation was inevitable sooner or later for our mutual well-being.

Yes, I was surprised that we couldn't be parents together, because when everything falls apart, it's extremely difficult. But at the same time, I was kidding myself. My desire to be a mother had made me turn a blind eye to the signals he was sending me. I thought it was no big deal, that I'd have this child on my own, that he'd "do his job as a father in a hurry" and that I'd be fine. But no, it wasn't. It was hard.

How did you experience this separation emotionally, organizationally and financially?
Emotionally, I didn't fall apart, and in fact I was relieved of a burden, because deep down I knew it was for the best. I was prepared for it because, 1 year before, our relationship had begun to falter.

In terms of organization, it didn't upset me, because since she was born, I've essentially been looking after Alba on my own. Her first year, she wasn't looked after, so I really had her with me all the time. He was working. He's a ski instructor, and the seasonal rhythm didn't allow him to spend much time with us. Today, I have sole custody of Alba, mainly because her father hasn't yet settled into a stable home.

On the financial side, however, it's difficult. Going from two incomes to just one is obviously complicated. What's more, when Alba was born, I left a good job in real estate to become a doula. Now that I'm unemployed, I have to take care of everything on my own.

What did this separation and this new life bring out in you?
This separation was my springboard! For the first time in my life, I made myself my priority, I looked for myself, I looked for what I wanted to do on a personal and professional level, the woman and mother I wanted to be for Alba. Working on my personal development allowed me to get my head above water, to open up to the world, to myself, and to self-love. A new life opened up for me! Two weeks after our separation, I moved to Veigy, and launched my doula business from home.

The separation also offered me the opportunity of a unique and exceptional relationship with my daughter, even if it wasn't easy at first. Being a solo mom wasn't what I wanted for my daughter. I told myself that she hadn't deserved it, and at the same time, having unhappy parents wasn't doing her any favors.

What is your relationship with Alba's father today? Do you have any regrets about your relationship?
We've remained on good terms. I consider him a friend, and he'll always be a very important person in my life: we spent 9 years together, and he's the father of my daughter, despite what may have hurt me in our relationship. As far as Alba is concerned, we make a great team of " ser-parents ".

And I have no regrets about our history. I keep the good times. I brought him unconditional love, he brought me self-love. Every story teaches us something, we learn something from and to each other. And above all, without my story with David, Alba wouldn't be here!

As a solo mom, what's the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge as a solo mom is finding a balance between life as a mother and life as a woman. Being self-employed saves me and allows me to organize myself around Alba's schedule. From 5pm onwards, between leaving the nursery and putting Alba to bed, I'm just a mom. Just like at weekends, if her father isn't there to look after her. Apart from him, I don't really have any help, as all my family and friends are in Paris.

Do you see any advantages to being a solo mom?
Yes, surprisingly, there are advantages to being a solo mom! It sounds contradictory, but my mental load is reduced! Even though I take care of everything (planning, doctor's appointments, shopping, housework, education, meals...), I only have Alba to manage, so I adapt my schedule to hers, and not to his. When Alba goes to bed, I have the evening to myself. I don't have to balance my life as a wife, mother and couple. So I feel very well single, my life is smoother and easier. All right, I admit that sometimes I'd like to share moments with another person.

Looking back, could you have stayed in your relationship for the sake of it?
No, impossible. Having come a long way and opened my eyes, I wouldn't go back to Alba's father for anything in the world just to make things easier. I'd rather have my share of monthly worries and be happy and fulfilled on my own than go back into a family pattern that didn't suit me and didn't make me happy.

A separation is emotionally difficult. What did you do to get better?
I felt better after about 6 months. I went through a lot of stages! First of all, I accepted that I was hurting, accepted my emotions and accepted the separation.

Then, what enabled me to rebuild myself was to learn to love myself, to know myself, to work on my traumas, to accept myself, to be in my own life, to find what could bring me comfort. And it went through a multitude of things.

My doula training, of course. Finally doing something that makes me tick, where I feel at home and useful! Re-establishing a circle of friends, going out again, seeing my girlfriends, having a drink, going to a restaurant, looking good for myself and not for someone else, were also life-saving.

I got back into sport and started seeing men again. I saw that I was attractive and that gave me back my self-confidence.

And then there was intuitive dance. Putting on music, dancing, letting my body move got me out of my morose state. Whenever I felt down, I'd dance to the music. And now, every morning, I wake up and turn it on. And in the evenings, Alba and I dance, it's our little moment on the way home from the nursery.

I also went shopping. I didn't have the money, but it didn't matter, I found it.

My balcony became a safe place from which to watch the sunset with a glass of wine in hand, music playing, and, in the moment, I felt good. By going for a run in the forest, I also reconnected with nature. In the forest, I breathe.

Finally, there was this women's retreat in Morocco organized by a friend. Surrounded by kind-hearted women, I was able to let go of what I had to let go of. I was able to see, through the mirror effect with the other women, how far I'd come. I came out of it proud of myself. Today, I love myself more, I accept all my facets, I feel aligned, refocused. I would never have thought, 8 years ago, that I would be the woman I am today. I've also learned that I deserve to be happy, to receive, and to be loved without having to change for someone else.

That's all I did to get better. It really came down to self-love. The only person you're going to spend your whole life with is yourself, so you might as well love yourself and make it beautiful!

What advice would you give to a mom who's hesitating to separate?
Listen to yourself, trust yourself, prioritize yourself and introspect: " why have I come to this point? why do I want to make this decision? why am I no longer aligned with this life? what do I want for my life? what do I want to show and pass on to my children? When we answer all these questions, when we look for what we want, then we can only go for it. If fate throws obstacles into our lives, it's for the best afterwards. I believe in life; it's bound to be beautiful, and it's up to us to give ourselves the means to make it so.

You seem like a new woman, how are you today?
Yes, really, I am a new woman. Before Alba, I hadn't met this woman, and didn't think she existed. Thanks to Alba, my role as a mother and this separation, I've been able to discover the woman I am. Right now, I feel good and proud of the woman I'm showing Alba, proud of the education I'm giving her.

We women can do anything, we're resourceful, we're solar, and that's what's beautiful and what I want to pass on every day. I feel like I'm glowing now, and it shows. I'm fully me and happy to be able to show it. I'd like all women who don't feel good to dare to dig deep inside themselves to find what drives them.