graduation

‘You’ll always have a home with us.’ I’d lived in 12 different homes. This man changed my life.’: Foster teen adopted by coach in college, ‘He walked me down the aisle to give me away’

“I lived in 12 different homes from ages 12 to 18. I had few stable adults in my life. Scott became my track coach my sophomore year. I threw emotional fits. He casually said, ‘I think you can win state.’ Then he paused and took in a deep breath. ‘If you do what I say.’ His devotion to me was unwavering and father-like. Not just as my coach, but as a dad.”

‘Ding dong, my loans are dead.’ I was DONE. I made a decision. I’d become debt-free by 30.’: 28-year-old woman remarkably pays off $102K in student loans, ‘I finally killed them’

“I cut my budget and lived off of less than a third of my monthly salary. (Turns out, packing lunches and not taking Ubers can save you a ton.) I worked multiple jobs at once, my day job and then side hustles. I walked dogs until my feet literally bled. In the cold. In the rain. In the heat. Nothing was beneath me. I babysat. I cat sat. I stayed up for 24 hours straight.”

‘When’s the baby coming?’ My face turns red in Starbucks. I’m not pregnant, and I’ve been struggling to be.’: Woman battling infertility reminds us ‘words have weight,’ vows to ‘never give up’

“I manage a smile and lie. ‘Soon.’ I rush out the door, no coffee in hand, and cry in my jeep. Those extra 40 pounds are grief weight. My body starts to feel like a cruel joke. ‘When are you having kids?’ ‘Have kids already!’ ‘I’m ready to be a grandma. The clock is ticking!’ they say. But when I stillbirth? No questions. No words. Just silence. My husband battles silent resent. There’s no baby, so there’s no marriage. These weren’t the vows I signed up for.”

‘You can bring your newborn to class,’ my Dean emails me. I was relieved, but afraid. Will he cry all the time?’: Mom takes newborn to law school classes, does ‘everything in my power’ to give children ‘opportunity to be successful’

“On the last trimester of my pregnancy, I talked with the Dean. ‘I don’t have any support system near me, my husband works full time and takes night courses. I’m supposed to graduate next year. I don’t want to fall behind.’ She looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Tell me who your professors are next semester. I will talk with them personally.’”

‘I’m pregnant’ trembled out of my mouth. I was 16. My mom looked at me with shame, told me to move out.’: 16-year-old teen mom works 3 jobs to make ends meet, graduates nursing school with honors

“I made the decision to keep the baby. As word spread, I could no longer bear going to school. I gave birth, terrified. My nurse had been a teen mom. She stayed with me the entire time. ‘I see something special in you, you can do this.’ In that moment, I knew I was going to be a good mom. For you Ella, I would do it all over again.”

‘I met my husband at 16, got pregnant at 17. He told me he was ‘different’ than all the other teen dads.’: Young mom overcomes ‘the ugly’ in her life, urges us to ‘put mental health first’

“My mental health took a turn for the worst. I found myself not wanting to clean, cook, or shower. I barely wanted to be a mom. Noah and I began arguing. One day, I spread a bottle of pills all over my bed and my mom walked in. I was forced to go to the hospital and get help. I just wanted to go back to being the person I was.”

‘My period was late, my boobs bigger. My boyfriend of 3 months joked I was pregnant. Shaking, I took the test on a McDonald’s toilet.’: Teen mom delivers baby on bathroom floor, ‘she wasn’t waiting around for anyone!’

” I had to move in with someone I barely knew. We were absolutely terrified. I’ll never forget the doctor’s words: ‘Get an abortion, if that’s something you can live with. I know young moms who turned out fine.’ I stared in disbelief, 100% sure he wasn’t supposed to give that kind of opinion. I was determined to keep this baby, whether my boyfriend stuck around or not.”

‘The pregnancy test read positive. I was devastated. I couldn’t have a baby, not now! I decided on abortion.’: Woman doubts ‘motherly instincts,’ gets surprised with twin pregnancy later in life

“I was a senior in high school with plans for college. We always used protection, but I knew the risks. When I didn’t get my period, I knew I wanted to pass the burden I was growing inside me. Fast forward 3 years. We moved into our first home. The talk of children came up. Instead, we got a puppy. I shut out the idea completely, even more so after the abortion.”

‘I’d like to publicly apologize to our Red Robin hostess. She didn’t know she was the last straw.’: Mom breaks down at Red Robin after dropping off son at college

“The hostess smiled. ‘How many in your party?’ I stood there, stunned, as my heart jumped into my throat. The dagger glares I shot were met with confusion. ‘Can’t you count?! Are you really going to make me say it out loud?’ There was awkward silence. I knew she was going to make me say it. ‘Three.’ She had no idea we’ve been a family of four for 18 years and it was our first time out without our firstborn.”

‘What, he’s sick of you already?’ My dad, my best bud, left. He allowed a younger woman to tear the family apart. He was no longer my dad. Instead, her husband.’: Woman overcomes childhood trauma, succeeds in school when ‘no longer under mother’s control’

“I realized at an early age that the only way I was going to escape was through education. I was accepted to every single college I had applied. She refused to provide them with her tax return so I could qualify for Financial Aid. I was crushed. But, I pushed forward.”

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