Coming through slaughter

Coming through slaughter -

Expansion, by Paige Bradley


Ever since my marriage ended, I have been trying to find a way to put words to it.

In the beginning I said nothing. It was safer that way. I felt strongly that I needed to step back and give myself time to let everything settle before I would be capable of approaching the subject with grace. I am grateful I had the wisdom to make that decision.

I must have written and rewritten this a dozen times as the days and weeks unfolded. It was the best kind of therapy I could think of. I have always used my words as both sword and shield, and I know the value they hold  – it is something I’ve always felt certain of, even when I have questioned everything else. I find a lot of strength here in the space between me and the way I use this language, the way it can bring so much of what is inside of me, out.

For a while though, I found myself beyond words. I have never before been brought to my knees like this. For a long time sleep was virtually nonexistent- I was utterly exhausted but I couldn’t turn my mind off enough to let go. My appetite disappeared and I lost a ton of weight I couldn’t afford to lose; crying in front of strangers suddenly became a part of my daily life.

(And by the way, from my position in this very new, very humbling vantage point, let me impart to you this one general piece of advice: The next time you see a dead-eyed woman in a crowded mall food court, struggling to carry a screaming toddler who is doing her best to arch her way out of the puppy costume she has refused to take off for a week straight, both of them just crying and crying like the world is ending- I mean give the lady a hand, would you? Give her a smile or some whiskey- or at the very least, a bite of your soft pretzel)


From the first time I felt able to really sit down to write, however, and each time I sat down again after that, it began felt a little bit different. Each time I wrote I shed something unnecessary and gave new words in their place. The first versions read a lot like I did at the time – jagged, broken, abrupt. It didn’t sound like me. I didn’t feel like me. Writing helped carry me through each day, it was a way of making sense of the constantly shifting emotions that threatened to engulf me. It kept my head above water, and my mind clear.

I have immense amounts of anxiety talking about this situation here. It is deeply personal and the thought of it being out there in the world means it is real. At this point however, I am leaning on all of the supports I have. This space and my writing is a big one, and I really need to be able to get back to that.


My marriage ended in an incredibly ugly way. I don’t think it’s necessary or productive to go into details – some things are better left unsaid. There isn’t much to be gained by trying to understand something that is incomprehensible. I have decided that my energy is better spent in finding a way to heal and move on, rather than trying in vain to find reason where none exists.

So, the dual processes of moving forward and remaining open have become my focus. I think an experience like this is powerful enough that it can close you or it can open you, and I won’t allow myself to be closed by it. I don’t want to escape it, outrun it, deny it, or distract myself from it. I want to walk right through it instead, learning from every sensation of these coals under my feet, no matter how painful.

What happened was beyond my control, but the way I choose to react, grow, and move forward as a result is not. Saying it has been hard doesn’t begin to describe it, but the good I have seen in this far outweighs the bad.

I have drawn on reserves of strength that I never realized I possessed, because up until late November I had been fortunate enough that I never needed to reach for them. I have been immersed in impossible amounts of love as those close to me have gathered me up and gotten me through, and I literally would not have made it to today without them. I have always had a deep love and appreciation for my friends and family, but I’ve never needed them as desperately as I have lately. They have come through for me in every way imaginable, and I know that I am lucky to have them.

In every part of this process I have had to confront the core of who I am as a person – everything was so raw that there wasn’t much room for artifice. I have seen how I react when I am deeply wounded, and who I become when I am consumed with hurt and anger. I have witnessed how I choose to act when no one is watching, and seen the choices I make when shit gets tough.

I am proud of myself. I am proud of how I have come through this, and the way I have chosen to carry myself. These past few months have been the hardest of my entire life, and I know that it will continue to be hard in many different ways in the months and years to come but right now, strangely, I am finding it impossible to feel anything but grateful.

I never would have chosen this, but I am here now and I can’t change that. And although I know that this feeling of calm will likely come and go, right now I simply want to use it to work through everything I need to, and move on. I will do my best to learn the lessons that this experience can teach me, and then do my best to let it go.

It has been hard to figure out how to approach this situation, especially in such a public way. This is very new to me and I am sure I will make mistakes, but the most important part of this is that Olive has two parents that love her more than anything in the world. Nothing about that has changed, or ever will.


Last summer I read about something called Kintsukuroi, which is a Japanese tradition of repairing broken pottery by lacing the shattered lines with gold. At its heart is the idea that something can become stronger and more beautiful for having been broken.

I have returned to this idea over and over again in the last few months and it has become something of a meditation for me. It is what comes to mind as I wade through these shifting emotions, begin to search for the good in the situation, and start figuring out how to build a new life.

I have been thinking a lot about how to gracefully incorporate failure, brokenness, and loss into something stronger. How to let this wound build me, teach me, and knit me together instead of leaving me shattered. I think about whether or not I can eventually work myself around to forgiving those who did the breaking – as impossible as that seems right now.

Over and over again I’ve rolled this concept around in my mind, and felt the words on my tongue, smooth as stones. I remind myself that just two months ago every single aspect of this seemed utterly unbearable, but I have borne it. Every bit.

I have no doubt that I will come through this whole, and perhaps find a way to become better for it.

Every piece of me is being put back together, and slowly laced with gold.

Every part of me is being made beautiful, instead of broken.

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  • Reply Carly Sessions February 4, 2015 at 11:53 AM

    I am so very, very sorry. I don’t even know you, but I am heartbroken for you. I had never heard of Kintsukuroi before now, but I think it is perhaps the most beautiful artistic concept I’ve ever heard. I wish you peace and healing, Madeline.

  • Reply yvette February 4, 2015 at 11:53 AM

    Hi Madeline. I’m sorry you are going through this painful experience. Keep your head up. Everything will be ok. I’ve also been through divorce and know how tough it is.

    I recently read your book and I loved it. Really funny and not at all preachy. I am taking a lot of your advice and making many changes. I hope this cheers you up at least a little.

    Goddess Bless

  • Reply Galia February 4, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    You inspire me, Madeleine. Thank you.

  • Reply Erica February 4, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    As someone who enjoys this space you have created so much, I am so in awe of your words. I am so so sorry you have been dealing with this and so happy you finally feel that you can share. Sadly I don’t have any magical wisdom to impart, only to say I am sorry and that I hope you realize how lucky Olive is to have such a strong mother in her life.

  • Reply Jennifer February 4, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    Full of love for you

  • Reply enchantedground February 4, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    ” I have never before been brought to my knees like this. For a long time sleep was virtually nonexistent- I was utterly exhausted but I couldn’t turn my mind off enough to let go. My appetite disappeared and I lost a ton of weight I couldn’t afford to lose; crying in front of strangers suddenly became a part of my daily life.”

    I’ve been there. Saying it is horrible is a sad understatement. I am so sorry you are having to go through this kind of pain.

    And I know what it’s like to have something beautiful end in, as you put it, an “incredibly ugly way.” Last paragraph here is my story:

    But I am so glad you have friends and family keeping you close. They are lifesavers.

    You are in my thoughts.

  • Reply Bec February 4, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    I think I’ll leave this here – it’s my favourite band – Hey Rosetta!’s new song, Kintsukuroi : (I actually find all of their music incredibly healing, passionate and beautiful. Music helped me heal during my divorce a few years ago)
    Strength and peace to you.

  • Reply Jillian February 4, 2015 at 12:08 PM

    I am a new reader, and still I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I hope new and surprising supports will emerge to prop you up until you feel strong enough to stand on your own. And then, I hope they prop you up even still.

  • Reply kirstin February 4, 2015 at 12:11 PM

    You’re not alone. Contact me if you come back to the riv, I’ll host a play date and we can look at the diane von furstenberg toddler shoes I bought from you years ago. I know a bunch of moms going through similar things. Marriage ended, not by their choice. Hugs.

  • Reply harriet February 4, 2015 at 12:19 PM

    Sending love and healing from nz xxxxxxxx

  • Reply Allison February 4, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    I have nothing to offer but wishes for peace & happiness. You have a way of making other women feel empowered and not alone through your writing. Be ready to let others lift you up as you move forward. Much love.

  • Reply Jennifer February 4, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    I am so very, very sorry. I’ve been through the end of a marriage, and I know the range of emotions it brings. You are right that the calm with come and go. There were days I felt like I would never be able to pick up the pieces enough to move on. And there were days when I felt like a whole new world had opened up with a million possibilities. Sometimes, both of those things would happen in the same day and I’d feel like I had emotional whiplash. But I feel confident that just as I found my way past all the beyond-horrible parts of it and made a really amazing new life, you will too. Be gentle with yourself. Take it a day, an hour, a minute at a time when you need to. And remember that no matter what, you still have your beautiful Olive.

  • Reply aliciathetu February 4, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    I’ve been following you a for a while now but rarely comment. Somehow I feel a connection to you through your writing and reading this was like hearing it from a friend. I feel for you and I thank you for being strong enough to share this and show us all here (on the internet) a true look at your emotions and what it can mean to go through something like this. Sending healing vibes your way from the States. Stay strong, stay brave.

  • Reply K February 4, 2015 at 12:33 PM

    Last March my husband broke our trust and marriage commitments. I’ve been trying to figure out life but it feels like it was just yesterday. Our marriage has lasted so far, but it is empty and there is no respect or love left. We have been trying to make it work for the sake of our children, but it has become apparent that staying together is not in their best interests at all. We are so distant now and stuck in this emotional hell hole feeling lost. I look forward to your writing on this topic, as I have gathered from your writing that you and Adam want nothing more than to be good whole parents to your sweet girl. I am so sorry that this has happened to your family and I wish I could encourage you to just look for the happiness in your future, but I’m still looking for mine and it’s been almost a year 🙁 you just need to remember that you know yourself and that nothing goes as planned. Don’t beat yourself up on being a divorced mom, you are either a statistic of the divorced, a statistic of the happily married, unhappily married, etc. Just be you, which is beautiful and strong and whole all on your own. You can be everything you want to be for yourself and your daughter, don’t worry about a husband or divorce defining you — those things don’t define you at all. You are a wonderful person and have been placed on a new path in your life, I’m sure you’ll discover many things on this new route of yours, daughter in-tow and all 🙂

  • Reply aneasyworld February 4, 2015 at 12:35 PM

    Oh sweet girl, I am so, so sorry. I knew something wasn’t right, but I just, had no idea. As always your words are beautiful, brave and full of hope and positivity. Sending you so much love and yes, whiskey. Stay strong x x x x

  • Reply Sue February 4, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    My heart is so sore for you. Kintsukoroi is quite the most beautiful concept. You WILL be stronger & richer for this experience. The biggest hug across the oceans to you x

  • Reply Cathy February 4, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    I have loved your blog ever since your sleep post, but have never commented. Just wanted to say thank you for writing so honestly and with such grace and beauty about both the wonderful and heart-wrenchingly terrible parts of life. Sending strength your way as you navigate this new terrain.

  • Reply Amaris February 4, 2015 at 12:59 PM

    I am so, so sorry you’re experiencing this pain, Madeleine. But I know you’ll come through it even stronger and more resilient than ever before. Olive will be blessed to know the strength of her mother. Your closest family and friends are blessed to take part in your courage and your weakness (from which comes growth and healing). You are surrounded by love and support; from friends, from family, and from random Internet readers. My heart aches for you now, but looks with joy to a future where you come shining through this darkness, even more YOU than you ever thought possible. I am praying for you.

  • Reply littleonemp February 4, 2015 at 1:05 PM

    Your blog is one of my very favorites and I have been following for the past year or so. You are an incredible woman and an amazing mom. I am so sorry for what you have been going through. I had a marriage that ended in a very ugly way as well and I know that it is not easy to get through. But the grace and poise you are showing is truly inspiring. Your attitude towards healing is a wonderful one, and try not to get to discouraged if you find you fall backwards on days, just keep leaning on your loved ones and you will get through anything. Sending you much love and mental hugs.

  • Reply Francesca February 4, 2015 at 1:12 PM

    You are so strong and brave, I’m sending positive healing vibes from England. X

  • Reply lindseywehntherapy February 4, 2015 at 1:40 PM

    Somehow I knew, ever since you wrote “Vivid”. I’m so very sorry. Like most people have said, I feel like I know you a little, so wishing I could help in some way. Take care, Lindsey from California.

  • Reply Andrea February 4, 2015 at 2:01 PM

    “You not broken, you perfect!”
    Seriously, such an inspiration. If you need to get away, come do a book signing in San Francisco and you and O can stay with us, your stranger friends. Weird, but I mean it!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 19, 2015 at 8:51 PM

      I actually teared up when I read this first sentence. Thank you, Andrea.

  • Reply Sam Pereira February 4, 2015 at 2:03 PM

    Oh my God! I am so so very sorry. My heart breaks for you. I am so stunned. Sending love and light from Down Under x

  • Reply Livia Dittmer February 4, 2015 at 2:20 PM

    Thank you for sharing your pain and strength so truthfully. I found your blog when I was pregnant and read through every post during the early days of my baby’s life. Clearly that emotional time is inextricably linked to your blog now, because I feel so deeply sad for your loss. I hope that this space provides some of the support you seek. You write with grace about an extremely painful experience and we honour you for that.

  • Reply Wendy Madrigga February 4, 2015 at 2:20 PM

    This could have been something I wrote about my recent situation. I’m sorry you’re going through all of this. Know that you belong to a sisterhood of solidarity in the aftermath of broken relationships.

    You’re not alone. Thank you for the reminder that I could drive myself crazy trying to make sense of my own break up but that in the end, it likely never will. I’m struggling there but you are right. I have to get okay with possibly never knowing the why and I think there would likely never b
    be a good enough why anyway. Thank you for sharing this. Now begins the work of stitching the patchwork into something perhaps more beautiful than before. ((Hugs))

  • Reply Kimmie February 4, 2015 at 2:21 PM

    I am so very sorry to read this. My heart aches for you and Olive. You are an incredible woman and mother…so strong…so much courage. Keep your head up! Love to you and Olive ~Hugs

  • Reply Jill February 4, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    Your words will help others. Thanks for your bravery and vulnerability. So sorry for your circumstances. x

  • Reply Hannah February 4, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    Oh, my. I am crying and crying for you. Crying for your pain and loss (the end of a marriage is a death of sorts, isn’t it?) I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have the rug pulled from under you like that. It’s clear though that you have the strength and wisdom to come through this with grace and dignity. I hope you have the support you need and know that if you ever find yourself in California I will give you all the whiskey, soft pretzels and smiles. Love and healing to you.

  • Reply Christine February 4, 2015 at 2:41 PM

    Dear sweet “Maddy Mouse,” I am so sorry that you have to go through this. The end of a marriage is like a death and you have to go through a similar mourning process to deal with it. You have chosen a very mature and kind path – to learn and not to blame – to ask for help and not to stand alone – to help others to gain from your experience. Your mother and your daughter and your sisters are all strong women. You don’t need to go far to find support.

  • Reply Nicci February 4, 2015 at 3:00 PM

    The picture you chose is beautiful and powerful. Thank you for sharing. It has been an honor to share in your life, as a stranger, millions of miles away, to find commonalities and humor and joy. THANK YOU for all that. I hope that “we” can provide you some comfort in peace during this pain. Please know you are not a stranger, sending this into the unknown, we are friends who care and support. I for one am sending as much healing peace and comfort as I can your way. Hugs.

  • Reply Dean shahi February 4, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    Sending you lotsa love and hugs your way!! Your island cousins, Dean, Leanne and kids.

  • Reply Patti miller February 4, 2015 at 3:05 PM

    Wanting to send love and hugs to you… You are a strong and amazing woman, I’m so glad you’ve got close love ones to give you a hand when needed… You will amaze yourself with your strength…that said my heart still breaks for’s an awful experience, but you will come out of it stronger and free to be you…..
    Hugs Patti

  • Reply Karen Montalvo February 4, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    You are a tower of strength and an inspiration. I commend you for the bravery that it takes to turn something so negative into something positive, beautiful and powerful. I pray that there may be many sunny days in your future. Olive is so lucky to have such a strong role model as you. Blessings.

  • Reply Jennie Buckham February 4, 2015 at 3:15 PM

    Dearest Maddie, What a shock for you! You write your feelings so beautifully that I am heart broken for you. A big hug from Australia. If you need a break with Olive, we will always have a bed here in Sydney for you. We love you and we are praying that God will bless you through this terrible time, that he will give you strength, love and faith to cope. I have had a screaming child in a supermarket who I tapped on the knee to try and stop him hurting himself. I received a smack on the face from a customer who said, “How do you like it”. I understand and help the mums who are going through this in the supermarket now. I ordered your book from Dymock’s book shop on Monday. Can’t wait to read it. Lots of love dearest Maddie. You have a wonderful, supportive family and I love you all. xxx

  • Reply Petra February 4, 2015 at 3:53 PM

    Maddie, you are amazing. I have not experienced what you have, but you take my breath away. To say I’m sorry doesn’t amount to anything, as just imagining the pain you must have gone through and are going through brings me to tears. I am so happy you have people who are there for you. Your wisdom is so uplifting, to see the silver, or rather gold lining, rather than focus on the negative. Olive is a lucky lady. I hope I can be as good a mother and person as you. I salute you, and offer hugs and if I see a mummy in need I will heed your words. You are an inspiration xxxxx

  • Reply Gemma February 4, 2015 at 4:18 PM

    Hi Madeline, I read the first line of your post and thought I had landed on the wrong page. WTF?!
    Are you ok?
    I continued to read on and yes, this was sweet Madeline. But more than sweet, you are inspirational, strong and mighty!
    You are walking this earth with love and purpose, how mighty you are!
    Sending big hugs to ya.

  • Reply Natasha February 4, 2015 at 5:56 PM

    Bloody hell 🙁 I must admit I had my inklings after one of your previous posts, where you couldn’t sleep and couldn’t stop the thoughts. I hope you’re sleeping a little better and beginning to heal after what must have been a horrific few months. You are so strong and so wise, you know you will be able to count a thousand blessings from all of this in years to come, but so hard to imagine that right now. I wish I could wave a magic wand for you and give you a little picture or snippet of those happy times ahead to give you a boost. Meanwhile I can offer this: I have been through a rough few years and now, coming out the other end, I can say I’ve learned so much about myself, grown so much as a person, and am actually thankful for the experience (!), despite the fact that I would never wish it on anyone. I’m glad it happened. Life’s a funny old thing. I’m so sorry for the loss of your marriage and life partner, it creates a huge lonely hole that is hard to fill and a disorientation that can be all-consuming. I’m so glad you have Olive, and your family and friends to help. Much love.

  • Reply Phoebe February 4, 2015 at 6:07 PM

    I’m so sorry. It is a strange thing to be worried about a stranger, but I have been. I am glad you have chosen to share and you have done so beautifully. You are in my thoughts but I am no longer worried; you will be ok.

    P.S. I am loving your book! I’m only a couple chapters in but it’s great!!!

  • Reply Lindsay February 4, 2015 at 7:13 PM

    I’ve been a reader for a long while now. I knew when you were gone for a while something was wrong, and I sent good thoughts and energy your way.

    I’m so sorry you’re living through this and hurting so much. What you’ve written here – it is so full of grace, maturity and love. Olive is one lucky little girl to have you to learn from.

  • Reply Lisa Kendall February 4, 2015 at 7:45 PM

    I have nothing wise to add here other than another person sending love and thoughts your way.

    I can’t remember how I found you but you have been there for me through many a witching hour as I adjusted (or not!) to being a new mother overseas and away from family and friends. You saved me on some nights and i hope the words you read from the people who you have touched over the years with your posts save you in some way too. Good luck Madeleine, wishing you love, peace and happiness, be kind to yourself. X

  • Reply marywall28 February 4, 2015 at 9:40 PM

    I agree with everyone who has commented. I felt so saddened reading your eloquent post. Though we don’t know you except through this blog, we still feel for you and Olive. I really loved your words; they showed grace and maturity and perspective. Truly wishing you all the best and that many good things will come of this for you. Also praying that God would bless you and give you a great peace.

  • Reply Kirstie February 4, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    Lots of good thoughts coming your way. ❤️

  • Reply Karina February 5, 2015 at 12:57 AM

    I was very saddened by this post, although I live in South Africa and have never/will never meet you. Your blog has gotten me through many sleepless nights (including two recent weeks of molar teething!) and from the comments above it seems you have touched many other mothers’ hearts with your words. Thinking of you and your little Olive during this difficult time.

  • Reply alison February 5, 2015 at 1:19 AM

    I don’t know if the word of a stranger will go any way to helping but I’ve read your blog since the epic sleep post and I’ve always smiled or nodded in recognition at something you say. You’re funny, you’re bright, you write amazingly. Things seem shit now but this will pass and one day you’ll suddenly realise you’re happy again. But happy in a different and better way. Seize the positives in every day. I also want to say change the locks and clean out any joint bank accounts but that might be inappropriate…..

  • Reply Suzy February 5, 2015 at 4:11 AM

    I’m so sorry…

  • Reply Anke February 5, 2015 at 6:05 AM

    Dear Madeleine,

    I am so sorry – I have been thinking a lot about you ever since I read your post. When I saw “Vivid”, I also feared something like this might have happened. Now that I have found out my fears were for real, I can just admire your strength. I love reading your blog because of your honesty about life, your realness. But it pains me that this happened to you and Olive.
    Lots of strenght from Germany

  • Reply chia February 5, 2015 at 6:09 AM

    It’s like the universe is talking to me.when I saw your post in my newsfeed (I always loved the sleep one was spot on) .I am about to embark on a similar journey as I read this tears were spilling down my cheeks as my relationship is over with two young children…not many people know yet I too cry at odd times of the day trying to fathom life as a single mum…will the kids be ok will they be fucked up etc etc but I have to turn to faith and trust I have to focus on these qualities instead of fear. thank you for writing this it makes me feel not alone. change Is damn hard but also important to grow

  • Reply Naomi February 5, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    Like all of your readers, I am so sorry that this has happened to you and Olive. For you to be so magnanimous in your writing at what is such a painful and raw time, just shows what an exceptional woman (and talented writer) you are. I wish you lots of love, strength… and whisky.
    Naomi, England.

  • Reply Katie T February 5, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    Madeleine, my heart breaks for you and Olive. I am so sorry that this happened. I know none of our words here can change what happened, but just know that I am sending good thoughts and prayers your way. Stay strong lady.

  • Reply Natalie February 5, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    Like many others who have left comments, I don’t know you but I have been a Sweet Madeleine fan since your sleep post and love your writing (struggling to find the right words for this makes me realise just how skilled you are!)
    Also like many others, this is the first time I have left a comment… but since reading your post earlier this morning, I have wanted to let you know that I (another one of “The Internets”) am also thinking of you…
    I have deep admiration for how you are dealing with this difficult time – with grace and seeking to better yourself.
    I wish you strength on your journey.
    With love from Dubai xxx

  • Reply Liam Somerville February 5, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    I’m Maddie’s brother and I wanted to comment as well. As beautiful and honest and open as her writing is, it doesn’t come close to capturing the class and strength she has displayed over the last few months.

    I remember talking with my wife shortly after we found out and telling her that I wasn’t at all worried whether Maddie would be OK. I knew she would. I didn’t realize why I knew what I knew until I read one of the earlier iterations of this post: I wasn’t looking at a bunch of broken pieces, but at the birth of something better.

    It’s been so wonderful reading your comments. I’m so glad that the kind of person she is comes through as clearly in her writing as it does in person. She really is an exceptional woman.

  • Reply Meghan February 5, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    You are such a gifted writer and I hope you know you are truly making a difference in people’s lives with the honesty in your posts. I, too, have been a reader since finding your sleep post. Since then I have followed your blog and own your book- it has made a difference in my life daily. It is strange to feel so deeply for someone I have never met, but your post brought me to tears. I am truly sorry for your loss. I think your analogy is perfect and I believe you will come out stronger and even more beautiful on the other side.

  • Reply April February 5, 2015 at 10:24 AM

    Just wanting to say the same as everyone else really. Stunned and so sorry this has happened; full of admiration at the wisdom and grace of your response. You’re right to be proud. Remember that if the not so calm times come back. X

  • Reply Nikaela February 5, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    What can be said to a post like that except hugs from afar? So there you have it–sending them your way!

  • Reply Lou February 5, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    Dear Madeleine,
    It feels really strange to post this, as I have only been a reader of your blog for a few weeks (and devoured many of your posts!) and still am very young to fully acknowledge or accept that sometimes life happens and it can be extremely painful. I am not sure of what to say, besides the fact that I am truly sorry. Your blog and book have been an inspiration for me. I am a French aid worker living in the Middle East, trying to keep my green side up – despite the lack of unrefined coconut oil or just of labels that I can actually understand 🙂 – and it has been great to find simple recipes and tips to lower my impact on the environment around me (and the country I live in seriously needs this!) I am halfway through your book now, fully enjoying it, and trying the no-poo challenge. Although I do not know how to say how very sorry I am, I would like to thank you for being such an amazing person.

  • Reply Emma Comerford February 5, 2015 at 2:19 PM

    I’m a stranger to you but I have been enjoying your posts for several months now. I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I wish I could have been there in that food court to help you out. Kintsukuroi is a lovely concept, and I wish you all the best as you heal into a beautiful new configuration. And keep leaning on those loved ones!

  • Reply Zareen February 5, 2015 at 3:28 PM

    You’re a beautiful soul. Your strength and courage is nothing short incredible. You inspire me. “This too shall pass…” Sending lots of love your way. ❤️❤️❤️

  • Reply ek February 5, 2015 at 4:13 PM

    I am sad for you but I am glad you are finding a way through. I am looking at an imminent decline in my chronic condition and have been very depressed but I am going to take inspiration from you and concentrate on how it is making me stronger. Thanks for your beautiful writing.

  • Reply Heather C February 5, 2015 at 5:05 PM

    Oh, Madeleine, I am so sorry to hear about this. But as others have said, you have presented this challenge with grace, dignity, and a strength that you and Olive can be proud of.

  • Reply Rebecca February 5, 2015 at 11:45 PM

    Madeleine, I’ve read your blog since the amazing sleep post. It helped bring me some sanity through sleepless nights and was one of the only ‘real’ bits of advice I read. I kept following your blog as it continued to be real and honest and this is such a rare thing. I’m so sorry to hear your news. I can’t imagine how difficult and draining this is for you and I really feel for you. Even though we don’t know each other you don’t feel a stranger to me – you and Olive are in my thoughts. I know you will come out the other side a stronger person. When I was going through a dark time in my life someone told me that even in a black hole, it eventually starts to pull in light. So even in the darkest of places, light can be found. I hope you find some comfort from all these comments and know that people all across the world are thinking of you and your beautiful girl.

  • Reply Fiona February 6, 2015 at 4:04 AM

    Oh Madeleine, my heart breaks for you. You are so brave to share your soul with the internets during such a personal and painful moment, but we are all sending you love and karma and kindness. You are a beautiful soul. Much love, Fiona from Australia

  • Reply aneasyworld February 6, 2015 at 5:18 AM

    I’ve commented already, but I keep thinking about you. Someone I have only read about on the Internet, but I feel like I know you and your baby girl so well. I can see by how many other people have reached out to you that I’m not the only person that loves your writing and your spirit, you just have a way of saying things, it’s like listening to a friend.
    The thing I keep thinking about is how much grace you have. It would have been so easy to make this the space where you tore him apart, but your post was just perfect, because it’s not about him, it’s about you, which is absoutely what your life and your healing should be. That must have taken so much strength and courage. I’ll keep thinking of you I’m sure, and sending you positivity.

  • Reply Catherine February 6, 2015 at 6:17 AM

    Dear Madeleine, I have been a reader of your blog since my son was born 15 months ago, and it has kept me sane and entertained and comforted for many days since. I’m so so sorry this has happened to you and your beautiful girl. As your lovely brother says, I’m not worried about whether you will be ok, because you clearly have the strength of a lioness. It shines through in everything you write. I can’t wait to hear about the next chapter for you and Olive. Sending you love and hugs from England.

  • Reply r February 6, 2015 at 6:50 AM

    Dear Madeleine, I am so sorry to hear this. I admire your strength and the grace you have shown. I hope that all the messages of support here help a little! Sending you lots of love from Italy.

  • Reply Grace February 6, 2015 at 10:00 AM

    I can see that it took a lot of courage to write this. And courage, it is clear, you do not lack. I am so sorry this is happening to you. Your beautiful words are a reflection of you and I hope you find comfort in all your readers’ comments as we have found comfort in your writing. You are so strong and Olive is ridiculously lucky you are her Mama. Sending lots of love and energy your way.

  • Reply Roseanne February 6, 2015 at 1:16 PM

    Like many others, I’ve been lurking here since your essay about sleep. I know it’s not much, but please know that you and your beautiful Olive will be in my thoughts. My heart aches for you.

  • Reply Audra February 6, 2015 at 2:18 PM

    I have actually NEVER commented on any blog before. I am fairly new to your blog but love your book and blog space. I love your writing and truly love the essence of you. You inspire me and give me such hope for us as a human race. The courage and wisdom in this post takes my breath away. As a child of an incredibly ugly divorce with a mother who had the wind knocked out of her, this speaks to that little girl I once was. Your daughter, family, friends and all who follow you are so fortunate to witness your grace. Divorce can be hard on children but it doesn’t have to damage them, as many do. It is a difficult transition in ones life, truly like a death. Many lose their true essence through it (understandably) but you have chosen to learn and grow. I am in awe and thank you from my ‘little girl’. As I’m sure your own little Olive will thank you one day for your example of true beauty and grace. I am sending you peace and comfort through this difficult time.

  • Reply Audra February 6, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    Me again! I too love quotes as inspiration. This is one of my favorite I thought I’d share with you .
    There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. -Leonard Cohen-

  • Reply Emily Stapley February 6, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    Kintsukuroi… Perfect, just so very perfect. I am going to be thinking about that for days. I also loved reading all the lovely things your community of readers have posted in response to this latest news. At the same time, I have to admit it felt weird for me to see how many people you have touched because for some strange reason, it always feels like you’re writing just for me, and that we’re old friends corresponding (like Anne and Diana– of course, you’re fiery, clever Anne and I’m Diana) and then I see that you’ve got kindred spirits all over the world rooting for you, which is pretty darn amazing too and speaks to the kind of person/writer you are. And I’m with your brother on this one; I think you’re going to be just fine, once you’ve given yourself the right amount of time to grieve what once was, and could have been, and is now gone. It probably doesn’t feel like that (that you’ll ever be fine again) most of the time, now in these early days, but we all know that if anyone can come through this for the better, it’s you. You might not see it yet, but we can– trust us. Your internets family and friends are here for you and rooting for you as you can plainly see. Hugs 🙂

  • Reply Posie February 7, 2015 at 5:10 AM

    Like many of your readers, I read this entry a few days ago and have been thinking about it for days. Mostly, because I went through the exact same thing three years ago, when my daughter was ten months old, after five years of marriage as well. I don’t know how i came out of that alive, but like you, I was surrounded by so many loving people (my in laws included) who reminded me of better things to come. You describe all of this this so succinctly, so beautifully, much better than I ever could. and the way you are choosing to not let it define you and eat you up is very brave. Olive is very lucky to have you. Years after the devastating loss of my family, things for my daughter and I are better than they’ve ever been. Sometimes I get really angry about it, like a huge shadow lurking, it sometimes overtakes me. But those moments are becoming rarer with the passage of time. You are an amazing writer and mother, like everyone else said, things will get better 🙂

  • Reply Sarah February 7, 2015 at 6:29 AM

    How is it that our lives always seem to be so similar? When this unfolded for you I was going through the same. I read this with tears as it made me remember the final horrid months of last year but also gave me hope for the future. As always, you’re amazing. Message me on tumblr or shoot me an email if you ever want to talk about anything. Even if it’s just the travesty that is Targets decision to close their stores in Canada.

  • Reply Karen February 7, 2015 at 10:23 AM

    I couldn’t agree more.

  • Reply Abby February 8, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    That’s really, really sucks. I’m so sorry. I’m also a stranger you’ll likely never meet but like everyone else, feel connected to you through your writing. I’ve been rough something similar, and a piece of advice I got that stuck in me is that it’s ok to feel all the feelings you have, for however long they take. Really pissed and don’t want to talk to him for awhile? Don’t. Don’t want to be polite and put on a good face? Don’t. Whatever you’re feeling is allowed and there is no way you “should” feel or “should” act. All in your own time.

    I don’t know if that will help, but it was really freeing for me. Use all the people around you as much as you need to get through it and don’t feel like you’re imposing too much. One day, it’ll feel lighter. Just takes time, which is the hardest part – waiting and not knowing when you’ll feel ‘normal’ again. But you will.

  • Reply Mary Ellen February 9, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    I am a newly single mom and want to thank you for your generous, insightful writing. Your writing speaks to the part of me who is sitting in her throne of power, and that power comes from love & gratitude–real, bad-ass, love for my son that is bigger and purer and stronger than anything else, and gratitude for the privilege of getting to walk with him as his mother in this life. Your writing speaks to the part of me that can gently hold the space for the anger and at the same time for the joy and wonder (at my son who is really stepping into his personhood, at myself whom I surprise by doing the same) without attaching to the anger in order to not feel all the pain. I wanted to share this website – there are some wonderful meditations & guided savasanas to fall asleep to, and yoga classes of all lengths so you can practice for 15 minutes if that’s all you have. (Recently took a class in which the teacher said: “Strength isn’t about how much force you can apply in any given moment; strength accumulates over time.”) Sending love & prayers & thanks.

  • Reply jamie February 9, 2015 at 1:31 PM

    i think strength is overrated. when you tire of people telling you you’re strong, no matter how well-meaning, because strong is not how you feel, but broken, scared, disillusioned, permanently changed, even maybe permanently jaded to an extent, and this makes you think you’re somehow failing, because you think you should be strong, i want to be your reminder of another perspective. some people are so “strong” when they’re going through things, i can’t even relate. are they even human? one of the things that makes me and my wife so incredibly enamored with each other is how we both weep uncontrollably in movies, and tear up so easily. tenderness, gentleness, vulnerability, sincerity, is how we relate to others in the most genuine and meaningful way. whether there’s also strength there at any given moment is irrelevant. if you’re not strong, you’re just not. you’re still totally lovable, and beautiful, and worthwhile.

    and though it may be of little consolation, i want to point out that while my mom was going through divorce, although her experience of that time may have been horrible, i remember it so fondly as a time when we really felt so close to her. i’m not saying there aren’t other ways to be that close. but if one side effect of going through a terrible time and being so vulnerable is that you open up and pull even closer to your loved ones, at least there’s something good buried in the hardship.

    i hope you give yourself permission to forget about strength and just find the bittersweet beauty of emotional vulnerability.

  • Reply Valerah February 9, 2015 at 1:39 PM

    Light and Love to you Madeleine

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  • Reply natasham June 3, 2015 at 1:40 AM

    I am so so sorry to read this. I used to be a regular reader of your blog and absolutely love the way you write but I have to admit, it’s been a very hectic year and I haven’t been following it for a few months. So when I read your post on motherhood and parenting today and the first line said Olive was with her father, I couldn’t understand why (until I went to your about section). My heart goes out to you. Having seperated 2 years ago and getting divorced recently after a year long battle in court, I know how it feels to not want to be in this position and to never having imagined you would be. As mothers, we worry so much for our children and although we don’t want to be defined by single parenting and divorce, we do feel the pressure. Sending lots of love your way, it only gets easier xx

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  • Reply Raz December 16, 2015 at 2:11 AM

    Well, I must say I am very impressed, you managed to write such a heartfelt article without generalizing about men or trying to blame someone else on your predicament like most victim-feminists would do. It really is refreshing to read your articles, because you are true to what you feel inside of you, not writing as a reaction to outside events. This is so rare these days, most women have been indoctrinated by victim-feminism to blame others and not see their part in the equation.

    The more I read of your writings, the more I like you, I especially like that you have compassion and empathy, not only for your own friends and family, but also for animals, this is a sign to me of a whole, truly spiritual person.

    Here is a tip for you and other vegans, be careful to make sure you take a regular Vit B12 supplement, here is a story about it, (link below) because if you are deficient, you can get irritable, feel easily hurt and even depressed, unfortunately I found this out too late, because it was this deficiency that ruined my relationship, I just couldn’t handle the pressure of someone constantly wanting me to change. Because of my B12 deficiency, I blew-up her coercing molehill into a mountain. The changes she suggested were actually good ones, but I just couldn’t cope with change while my mind was struggling to keep up with my B12 deficiency.

    Since I’ve been taking B12 + Folate, I have repaired my relationship, we’re not together, but at least good friends, and ironically, I’ve instigated most of the changes my ex was suggesting. My memory is better, sleep and mood is better, eating habits better etc etc etc. I am happy to take a small Vitamin pill twice a week rather than the alternative of financially supported an industry that treats animals like they have no feelings or worth as beings, it’s psychopathic to do such a thing.

    I’m so glad I discovered your blog and will keep reading until/unless the ubiquitous, misandrist-feminist generalizations start appearing ;o) You really are a breath of fresh air.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine December 16, 2015 at 11:55 AM

      Hey Raz! I got both your comments – thanks for taking the time to write and respond to my posts!

      I noticed that both of your comments contain the same references to feminism in really negative terms though – as an ideology that’s man-hating or victim-based, and I’m curious where these interpretations come from? From my perspective, I agree with marie shear, who stated that “feminism is nothing more than the radical notion that women are people.”

      Any sort of reluctance to take accountability for one’s actions, blame others (male or female) comes down to individual character differences, not the tenets of feminism as a whole. I am a proud supporter of women’s rights, not at the expense of men but to benefit men, too. Narrow gender roles and misogyny hurts everyone, not just women. I just wanted to clear that up!


  • Reply yarray December 17, 2015 at 10:12 AM

    You don’t talk like a FEMINist, you talk like an EQUAList, someone who is concerned with people, not just women. I’m really surprised you call yourself a FEMINist, it doesn’t reflect your writing at all. You tower over Jessica Valenti and all the other misndrists who write for the Guardian, sorry, but I just can’t see how you could be classed as a FEMINist, especially with how it has become the worst F word these days.

    Be an Equalist, it suits you much better. Saying that feminsm is for men as well as women, is like expecting someone to believe that MASCULism is about women’s concerns, it just sounds disingenuous, to say the least. Equalism unites, feminism divides.

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