The book titled The Courage to be a Single Mother: Becoming Whole Again After Divorce (2000) is not any run-of-the-mill self-help book. It's actually a memoir, a chronology, a united front of single mothers who suffered through painful divorces lifting their voices to help other single moms dealing with the same trauma.
The book helps single moms by allowing them to put the pieces of their broken homes and hearts back together, and Ellison helps readers by dividing the process into four manageable steps. The first step is affirming that you do love yourself.
The second is assuring yourself that you know what you want in life. Third, Ellison helps readers understand that their families are still whole. Finally, Ellison helps readers understand that they have the ultimate power and the complete ability to choose who they are and who they will be in life.
Yes, says Ellison – just four simple steps. In those four steps, readers will find a world of truth and the foundation for proper healing after a divorce. The book is truly a breath of compassion in an otherwise unsupportive and cold situation. The guide is a sounding board for single moms everywhere – a lifeline for divorcees who must face raising their children alone every day, all the while being seriously vulnerable and looked at with indifference. It's tough to raise kids when a mom is already very fragile – but this book can help with all that. It will not only provide support, it will also help women learn how to pick up and rebuild after a painful marriage and an even more painful split.
Real Women Talk about the Book
Many women reviewed The Courage To Be a Single Mother: Becoming Whole Again After Divorce (2000) on Amazon.com. They heralded it as an emotionally charged, smart, sincere read with laughs sprinkled at the right places. “I laughed out loud several times and cried at others,” gushes one woman. “A page-turner full of dramatic highs and lows, Sheila Ellison tells us the story of how she overcame divorce and built a new life for herself and her children. Throughout the book we also hear stories of other women who have survived divorce and been successful after that.”
Another reviewer noted that the book covers topics relating to child support issues, as well as ways to deal with things such as partying with dad on the weekends only to return to a stick-in-the-mud mom during the week. The book touches on difficulties with returning to the workforce following years of sacrificing career in favor of childrearing, learning how to date again, and many other subjects that naturally stem from a painful divorce.
Other subjects in the book hit home too for many women who have read it. For instance, giving up many years of youth and body to have your children and dealing with approval from peers (or stark disapproval), finding a home in which to raise your family after a split, dealing with attorneys… the list goes on and on.
The best part of this book is the insight and comfort that it can deliver to you at the time in your life when you feel the greatest sadness and isolation – wherein you're expected to be the strongest for your children. You have to keep a brave face for your kids, but you may be feeling weaker than you ever did before. In Ellison's book, she goes out of way to detail at great length the array of feelings women may experience as they embark on a journey into becoming single mothers for the first time.
The fact that Ellison wove stories of other single mothers into the text lends an air of credibility to it, and the stories of real women aside from the author allow readers to gain a multi-faceted understanding about the perils that await them at every step of their journey.
It also illustrates that regardless of the dramatic differences among situations, the challenges and inherent fears all single moms going through a divorce are similar. This book is more than a breath of fresh air; and as such, it's a real live guide for divorced single moms. One very appreciative reader pointed out that tough situations in her life continue to come up, and she often pulls out this book to re-read sections that help her as she goes through that particular rough patch in her life.
Many women feel that no situation is like theirs. They think that no one can possibly understand, and so they internalize their problems and have trouble dealing with the kickback from those negative feelings. Internalizing pain is unhealthy for single moms, which in turn make it unhealthy for the kids. This book provides a unique examination of the healing process after a married woman's dreams are dashed for life, and it gives women hope to have a future that can again be bright after the deep wounds left by a painful divorce.
What to Expect from the Book
This book is best suited for single mothers who are of a divorce. The chapters center around coming to terms with the fact that a relationship is finally over, ways to strip away the old life and ways to tell the world about the single mom's new status.
In the early chapters, the author tells the story of trying to make her marriage work before she inevitably threw in the towel. She tried moving her family, bowing to her husband's demands, and it was all to no avail. The marriage was over. That is when she got down to business and made her way in the world alone.
The chapters that follow are about societal expectations. It explains how they shape the way women think their lives should be. An unhappy marriage may be shackles that society bounds a woman in, and only realizing those ties are detrimental - will free her from the bondage of her own making.