Why I Cried During Jon & Kate Plus 8

Did you watch Jon & Kate plus 8 the other night? Even if you don’t watch it, you probably know that this reality TV family (Jon + Kate plus their twins and sextuplets) is falling apart at the seams. Kate seems obsessed with publicity; Jon wants a normal life back (and seems to have had an affair, too). Regardless of whose side you’re on, there were many somber moments in the episode such as Kate’s realization that they may have just taken their last Gosselin family photo together at the sextuplets’ fifth birthday party.

That moment resonated with me, a lot. I cried when I saw it, for reasons I have had to be completely silent about for the past 2 years- until now. Almost 2 years ago, we took our own last family photo, also at a “5th birthday party” of sorts- a joint party for R’s 4th birthday and S’s 1st birthday. I smiled and laughed and hid the fact that I was in deep emotional pain as I tried desperately to save my marriage. Barely 6 weeks after that party, my marriage ended quite abruptly, under distressing circumstances. And in the 19 months since my marriage ended (hard to believe it’s been the majority of little S’s life), I’ve had to endure much worse, seeing a side of people and of life I never believed existed before. I joke (sort of) that my story has many elements of Lifetime TV movie to it- I’ve become used to seeing jaws drop as I give the “nutshell” version to people. Sometimes I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Mostly, I just hug my kids extra tight.

As longtime readers of this blog may know (even if they did not know about my divorce), my children also both (have) had special needs and this has become a major focus for me each and every day. My son has a disorder called apraxia and still is not talking, even though he is nearly 3. He has received a host of different therapies through Early Intervention which has made a huge difference. This morning he pointed at me and said, “My Mama!” and I melted. He can now walk, run, and (almost) jump. He tolerates activities that used to be very difficult for him. And he is just about the sweetest- and smartest- little boy you’ll ever meet.

Dealing with my son’s special needs- on top of difficult divorce proceedings- over the past year and a half has been one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever faced. But, as I always learned from my own parents, I know how incredibly fortunate I am on so many levels. I am blessed with the friendship and support of many people. Now that I can be “go public” about my divorce, I hope that anyone out there who is struggling with the same challenge knows they are not alone.

This blog has been- and will continue to be- a wonderful distraction and tonic for me. I love that people enjoy reading this blog, and I love working on it. Writing about kids’ toys or clothes while all this other stuff in my life has been going on has at times seemed oddly incongruous, but it has done wonders for my soul. So thank you for being such a good audience.

Earlier this week- 19 months after my husband and I separated- we finally signed our divorce agreement. While I wouldn’t wish this nightmarish process on my worst enemy, I finally feel a tremendous sense of relief, accomplishment, and hope for my family’s future. My children and I experience joy in our home, laughter with our friends, and love among our family, on a daily basis. And those provide security, confidence, and an excitement for the future that I have not felt in years. To those of you who knew already- and to those of you who know now- thank you a million times over for your caring and concern on this “journey”. Much love to you all!

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29 Responses to Why I Cried During Jon & Kate Plus 8

  1. Stephanie says:

    Kudos to you on your courage in posting this and living your life.I applaud you!

  2. Kristine says:

    Exactly what Stephanie said!


  3. Anonymous says:

    stay strong and keep counting those blessings.

  4. Marina says:

    Thank you for sharing your incredibly personal but inspiring story with us. I am so glad this blog has helped you as much as you help readers like me. I will pray for you and your family’s continued strength.

  5. BrooklynGirl says:

    Wow. It’s impressive that you’ve managed to keep this blog going in the face of all that. Best of luck to you and your family.

  6. gfcfmom says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey. I was touched and inspired that you carried on and I am so happy for the new chapter of your life that can now begin. I don’t remember when my son, Alex, first started calling “Mommy” after not speaking at all, but I remember relishing it for months when I heard him cry out for me. It was such a huge milestone that I had waited so long for. I will never forget my happiness when he would call out to me in the middle of the night after starting to speak.

  7. HudsonHappenings says:

    Glad that we could be your therapy :O)
    Sorry to hear about your divorce but it sounds like you are in a healthy place without him .
    Congratulations on remaining strong for yourself & children.

  8. deepa says:

    Candor takes courage–thank you for sharing! I have been lurking on your site forever but felt compelled to comment to this. Oftentimes, what is going on behind the facade of a blogger’s blog is a complete mystery. It is an honor to be allowed behind the veil. Good vibes to you all.

  9. Pat T says:

    Thank you for sharing your lovely blog with us and for sharing this very personal post. It sounds like you have weathered the storm well enough. Time does heal all wounds- just enjoy your wonderful children – and things will fall into place.

    I too was a single mom, of 2 little ones many years ago – in the years since my girls have grown, I have remarried and have 2 little ones again. We never know what life holds for us – just know your family and good friends will always be there for you. Let them help you from time to time if they offer. It does really take a village some times.

  10. Tamara says:

    I have been reading since the beginning – you are so strong! And you are definitely an excellent mother – i look forward to keep reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Tamara says:

    I have been reading since the beginning – you are so strong! And you are definitely an excellent mother – i look forward to keep reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Anonymous says:

    J, this is beautiful and very gracious- your other friends & I would have much stronger words about what you, r, and s have had to deal with. it's gross and unreal. anyways we are all here for you and love you. r & s are blessed to have you raising them. oh, and p. says you look fab these days. go girl! love you, l.

  13. RookieMom Whitney says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your marriage and the stress of divorce. I congratulate you for arriving at the next phase of your life. I hope it brings you much hapiness.

    The blog looks great, btw.

  14. Vana says:

    Thank you for being so opened. Your story is both touching and powerful. You are so strong to be going through so many trials. Sending good thoughts your way!

  15. Leslie says:

    Thank you for sharing. I am also in the crux of a marriage that is disintegrating- celebrated a 5th year birthday end of April and a 1st year birthday next week. Appearances will be “on” for the children, family and friends. Very encouraged to see you surviving and flourishing so well post-separation and post-divorce. You have given me hope for what the future could be for me and my children!

  16. Naomi says:

    Thank you for this. I am sorry you couldn’t open up and write about all of this soonerโ€ฆ what an emotional burden to bear. I am sure your family will be stronger and happier in the long run.

  17. Superha says:

    Your blog is something I really look forward to reading each day. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. God bless you. I hope it’s smooth sailing from here on out!

    ๐Ÿ™‚ Nina

  18. Anonymous says:

    I cried when I read this! You are an inspiration and your children are very lucky to call you momma!

  19. Jane says:

    I also cried during the show, it is always so sad to see a family falling apart.

    I did not know about your marriage and am sorry for what you’ve been through.

    I also have 2 children (remaining) who are both special needs. I was not married when the quads were born but we split up 2 years later (me, at the time, with special needs triplets) so I am definitely aware of the stress and hardship of your circumstances. My heart goes out to you and your family. You really, truly are doing a remarkable job.

    Stay strong, as I know you are quite aware, although special needs kids make it that much harder, the love is that much stronger. The rewards we receive from them far far outweigh the stress. God bless!

  20. jeana says:


  21. Lilith Silvermane says:

    I have had you on my google reader for a while now.. and always skimmed and read, however I suppose I never paid close enough attention.

    Thank you for sharing, for your honesty and your candor.

    I have been a single mom for many years.. it is fullfilling and scary, it is lonely and busy… it is everything we were meant to do… and more, because we are doing everything.

    Good luck… Thank you for not walking away from your kids and yourself!

    Congrats on signing the papers… a new chapter can begin.

  22. morethanmom says:

    Wow, I never realized you were going through so many things while you were posting this wonderful blog! Your blog inspires me every day. I’m sure it was hard to put all of your thoughts into words on this post. Know that you do a wonderful thing here!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Ditto what everyone else is saying. Thank you for continuing your blog and giving back to other Moms like us despite your personal struggles. Stay strong!

  24. Isabel Kallman @AlphaMom says:

    oh, Joanna. So proud of how lovely and classy you are in handling this situation. Many hugs, my friend.

  25. alexnlulu says:

    Thank you for being so open with your readers. You really are an inspiration for the rest of us!

  26. Anonymous says:

    i am so glad you blog – i am checking it all the time and have gotten many things you have suggested… and now even feel better knowing that it helps you through the hard times that we all go through….

  27. houseofestrogen says:

    I’m so glad this blog has been something fun for you during tough times. I certainly enjoy reading it and am so glad you have kept it up! I hope the worst is behind you!

  28. I'm Engaged! says:

    I don't watch "Jon and Kate", but I shed a few tears reading this post. You are an incredibly strong and brave woman, who has already gone through way more than you deserve. R & S are lucky to have a mother like you and so many friends and family members that will support them throughout their lives. Stay strong!

  29. Anonymous says:

    i loved your posting and am so proud of you! you are a beautiful person and a wonderful mom and i know this will be the beginning of an easier and happier time for you and r & s. i admire your strength to share your story. unfortunately, life's challenges, challenge too many people everyday. with you as a mom and the wonderful support system that you have i know you and the kids are going to be in such a better place now! xoxo to you and the kids and your family.

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