Melissa Carter

Melissa Carter: Finding peace from broken pieces

You've got this.

That is the prevailing message you sent me after I revealed in my last column that I am now a single mother. It's something I needed to hear, since this is new territory for me. I didn't come from a fractured family, and am seeking insight on how to successfully chart this new course.

When I announced the breakup on my B98.5 morning show, I asked adult children of divorce for one piece of advice they would give me to prevent Mr. Carter's life from being negatively affected by his parents' split. Some of the advice included not crying in front of him during this transition, letting him know the split was never his fault, and remembering to take care of myself.

There was one particular piece of advice that everyone made very clear: Katie Jo and I should never speak negatively about each other in front of our son. It seems that most of the pain in a couple's split is caused when they hold grudges against each other and don't put their kids first.

One listener told me her parents never came to any of her childhood events, such as recitals or ballgames, because they didn't want to risk running into the other parent. Another let me know there would be moments when Mr. Carter would ask to spend time with Katie Jo, even if it is my weekend with him, because of a special event like a concert that he may want to take her to. In such cases I mustn't convey anything but support. It seems there will be occasions that will challenge my ego that I will have to learn to ignore in order to be a good mom.

But not everyone gave me dire warnings. One woman reached out to me personally to let me know this is not a bad thing. Her parents parted ways during her first year of life, and now, in her 30s, she looks back on her childhood with a smile. She said her parents focused on her and on co-parenting, and that's what made her life wonderful. She added that she has two great step-parents she can't imagine living without.

Isn't it funny how I've spent my adult life trying to teach people about diversity regarding sexuality, yet I struggle with the idea of being part of a family dynamic I didn't grow up with? Expectation has been my greatest enemy, and something I have to learn to let go of. I'm realizing you're never too old to learn something new.

So I've got this. I'm embracing this new position and know I've got the support and resources of many different types of families that will help me to be the best I can be. The irony is that I ended up with a man, albeit a 1-year-old man. But Mr. Carter is the best happy ending a girl could ever dream of.