A Mother’s Perspective on Divorce: A Reflection on Demi Moore’s Resurgence
Mother’s Day is a powerful reminder of the legacy that we, as mothers, pass on to our daughters. As a daughter of divorce, I’ve spent the last several days reflecting on Mother’s Day and the lessons that I want to pass on two my two daughters, Tracy and Catherine. Recently, I’ve been inspired by many divorced moms and their ability to bounce back from the heartbreak of divorce. One of them, Demi Moore, was featured in one of our blogs last December. Due to her celebrity status, this post received more views than any so far. Not only is Demi beautiful and talented, she is one of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses and directors. Demi is also a daughter of divorce who is raising three daughters. She understands firsthand the searing pain of divorce. Having experienced two prior divorces, Demi is bravely facing her well-publicized split from Ashton Kutcher.
When I read that Demi Moore’s greatest fear was of not being lovable or feeling worthy of being loved, I could relate to her sentiments. To this day, I’m often insecure about my contributions and have difficulty naming my accomplishments or accepting praise. Demi’s story illuminates the importance of not letting your parents’ divorce define who you are as a person. It also speaks to the necessity of helping daughters of divorce recognize their inherent value and tremendous strength. While the breakup of a family can be painful for all children, girls have a unique vulnerability to the loss of an intact family.
A child can be told over and over again that her parents’ divorce isn’t her fault. But for many girls, no matter how competently or incompetently the breakup is handled, pain is unavoidable. It’s crucial that daughters realize they aren’t alone. Over 25% of American children will experience the collapse of their parents’ first or second marriage. Sometimes as a mother, it’s difficult to see our daughters lose self-esteem and ability to cope. Being there for our daughters is critical as we craft a new post-divorce life together.
While I’m not a talented, successful actress, director, or model, I am a mother whose life has been drastically altered by divorce. Like Demi, I endured a tumultuous childhood and experienced many losses, including limited access to my father after he remarried. As a young girl, I was unable to trust my own experience and can remember feeling numb or detached at the time of my parents’ divorce. I was a people pleaser who tried not to make waves. Only years later, did the true impact of my parents’ divorce and surviving a chaotic stepfamily come to light as I tried to navigate intimate relationships. Like many girls, I experienced the sleeper effect – a delayed reaction to the powerful emotions experienced during and after my parents’ breakup.
By all accounts, Demi was a faithful wife and she continues to be a devoted mother to her three daughters- Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah. My hope is that they will benefit from her incredible strength and won’t allow themselves to be defined by her losses. Since divorce goes back many generations in my family, my dream for my daughters is that they won’t repeat the patterns of the past. In my opinion, the single most important task ahead for a daughter of divorce is to restore her faith in love. Hopefully, the legacy divorced moms pass on to their daughters and sons will be one of resilience and hope. Just as Demi is taking charge of her life and starting over, Mother’s Day can mark a new beginning for those of us touched by divorce but determined to forge a brighter future.
Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW
Do you worry about passing on the legacy of divorce? We’d love to hear your comments.