After going through her own divorce, Stacey Lewis has founded a website, www.thedivorcesource.co.za which provides legal and emotional support for women …
Most of us have had an experience which changes our lives forever, a trauma from which we emerge different, and despite the scars, hopefully wiser, more empowered and a stronger version of our previous self as a result of the experience.
Of course, that mindset is often reached several months or years down the line after we have undergone our own private hell.
That is life: the good and the definitely less enjoyable moments. It is these experiences which define us and even allow us to eventually give back and help others going through a similar traumatic time.
As far as stress related traumas go, divorce ranks high, positioned at number two in the top 10 stressful life events on the Holmes & Rahe stress scale. Divorce is an event which Stacey Lewis experienced eight years ago.
“The hardest part of my divorce was the initial shock. There was no actual process. It was my husband’s decision and I had no prior warning”
“The hardest part of my divorce was the initial shock. There was no actual process. It was my husband’s decision and I had no prior warning” says Stacey, a practising paediatric physiotherapist, who was left with three young children, the oldest being three and the youngest just eight months.
At the time there was not much offering in the way of support resources
After the divorce and her gradual healing over time, Stacey wanted to create the ideal support structure which would have assisted her through her divorce. This led to creating an online resource for women, The Divorce Source, so that they would feel less alone going through a similar difficult experience.
The site is a resource for all matters and issues relating to divorce with a resident attorney, Noa Kinstler, as well as a mediator (also a qualified attorney), Sherie Grayman.
Other experts include psychologists and life coaches who share their expertise in the various articles. Content is also provided by divorced women who share their experiences.
Basically, the website is a hub, a home, a place where a woman can go to for support, inspiration and information relating to the divorce situation. There is also a resource section on the site which provides details of other useful websites and useful contact details of attorneys and therapists. As the site grows, so too will the resource network. Future content will include financial matters and planning.
For now, Stacey is taking it step by step
It took many years of fighting her fears, building up her confidence one small step at a time to reach the point where she is now able to help others. “Life happens. Divorce happens. It can be heartbreaking, gut-wrenching and soul-destroying, BUT you are not alone. There are many women who have been through the process and emerged happy and complete, eventually.
Divorce does not have to be the end of your life. It can, in fact, be a catalyst to a better life
Divorce does not have to be the end of your life. It can, in fact, be a catalyst to a better life,” says the petite dynamo who is determined to empower women through the expertise and support of The Divorce Source.
Having experienced the pain of divorce herself, Stacey does not view the process lightly. The site is a place to provide the divorced or divorcing woman with information, inspiration and resources, equipping her to cope with the divorce and move on to create a better and ultimately great life for herself.
“The Divorce Source has only recently been launched. My vision is that it will ultimately be a ‘one stop shop’ for the divorcing woman, providing a ‘job zone’, an ‘au pair zone’, perhaps even a ‘dating zone’,” she says.
Despite her trauma, Stacey understands that her journey has given her many gifts such as overcoming being scared of adversity and having a life filled with greater meaning each day.
“Sometimes, when we are in the thick of pain and darkness, the gifts are not apparent. I feel so privileged that I am now able to see the gifts of my initially terrible situation,” says Stacey who wishes the same turn-around experience for other women going through this difficult time.
One of her treasured gifts is how her divorce ultimately changed and empowered her. “I far prefer the person I am today. I am more confident, assertive, happy and compassionate. My pain has given me a heightened sensitivity towards women in similar situations and I find immense meaning in being able to help others.
“Be kind and patient with yourself”
My message to anyone going through this difficult time is that recovery after divorce is a process. Be kind and patient with yourself. Commit to finding your happiness and take small steps each day towards creating a good life for yourself and your children,” concludes Stacey.
Today Stacey has come full circle: she is happily re-married and has a baby of 18 months, while continuing undaunted with her commitment to help provide support to women going through a divorce and to show that no matter how hard the journey and the work needed to move on, it is possible to start over again.
Clarens, Free State Province