graduation

‘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.”

‘Your boyfriend has to deliver the baby.’ I was squatted on a bathroom floor, 20, convinced I was going to die.’: Woman delivers baby on bathroom floor after ‘grumpy midwife’ tells her to ‘go home’

“The contractions were progressing extremely quickly, but the midwife seemed grumpy and fed up. She didn’t believe me. ‘Go home. This could go on for days.’ Days?! I couldn’t cope with another hour of the pain! As soon as we pulled into our driveway, I ran to the bathroom. ‘Call an ambulance!’ I yelled at my confused boyfriend. ‘My body is pushing. I can’t stop it!’ I’d only known him 3 months before we got pregnant.”

‘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.”

‘At 15, I became pregnant with my daughter. I had to raise a child while still growing up myself. I received hate and rumors spread.’ Teen mom beats the odds to graduate college and ‘reach success’

“Everyone recognized me by pregnant belly, rather than by my face. I dealt with dirty looks and whispers in the hallways. In college, I got pregnant with my son. It wasn’t easy. I have been in abusive relationships, been days away from planning a wedding, only to find out I was ‘only an option.’ I wanted to give up, on everything. But I was strong for my children.”

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