parenthood

‘No, no, no.’ I was emptying the pockets in his jeans to wash them. I felt something small, cold. I knew what it was immediately. ‘How could he?’: Single mom learns of partner’s drug addiction while pregnant, ‘I begged him to love our baby’

“He began disappearing for days. He had no care at all about my pregnancy. I knew something was going on. Little did I know, I’d get the shock of my life. I was excited he agreed to come home for dinner. As I was emptying the pockets in his jeans for laundry, I knew what it was immediately. A glass container used to store drugs. ‘How could he?’ I thought. I sat there crying, holding so tightly to my baby bump, telling her not to worry, I would fix her dad before she got here.”

‘I was doing her laundry FOR her. She was watching me fold her thong underwear. She just stood there holding the baby! This is ridiculous.’: Mom urges others to remember helping means doing so with ‘no strings attached’

“I was sitting at a coffee shop and overheard (I was eavesdropping) two women behind me. One was complaining about her daughter-in-law who’d just given birth to her grandchild. ‘I offered to help, but this ridiculous!’ she said. Here’s the thing. I’ve learned if we really want to help, we just show up. We ring their doorbell and start unloading their dishwasher or play with their kid while they take a shower. We shove a lasagna in the oven so they don’t have to think about dinner.”

‘I’m 30 years old, I’ve never had a child, and the first thing they say is, ‘We need to remove something from your body.’ It was completely crazy.’: Woman diagnosed with PCOS, endometriosis determined to conceive through IVF, ‘He gave us back the hope we had lost’

“We started noticing I was in a lot of pain during intercourse. One night, I was in so much pain I couldn’t bear it. I was taken to the ER. They told me I had an ovarian cyst rupture. I had no idea what that meant. They gave me some pain pills and told me to ‘rest.’ I went on like nothing was wrong. My periods were not coming on time. I’d miss an entire month or two. I was dealing with all these emotions while trying to maintain hope. Time was flying by, and I still didn’t have a baby.”

‘I knew something was wrong just by looking at him. ‘It’s not a blood clot. You have a 5-inch mass in between your heart and your lungs.’: Woman diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma fights to live for her daughter, ‘I’m too young to die. I have a 3-year-old daughter who needs her mom.’

“My first symptom hit like a ton of bricks. I felt heaviness in my chest I couldn’t explain. We had to run to catch our connecting flight. This is the exact moment I knew. I could not run. I WANTED to, but my body wouldn’t let me. I ate well and exercised often, so I knew something was very, very wrong. My friends said it sounded like I was having an anxiety attack. ‘I’m only 32 years old. How can this happen?’ Our lives changed forever.”

‘He said, ‘I can’t do this,’ and left. I got a late-night call from the pastor. ‘He’s gone.’ As soon as he said it, I knew. He lost his battle with PTSD.’: Woman loses Army veteran boyfriend to suicide, ‘I was terrified to be a single mother. It’s not supposed to be this way.’

“As a combat veteran, he faced mental illness. We agreed to tackle everything as a team. I was pregnant again, but this time everything shifted. He left. I was so confused and hurt. ‘Where did he go? Is he okay?’ I found out he was living two completely separate lives, lying about his marital status. My entire world turned upside down. But I still couldn’t find him. I searched. I drove around aimlessly. ‘He is gone.’ As soon as he said it, I knew. My heart started pounding. ‘Oh my gosh,’ I said over and over again. The man I love took his life.”

‘Oooh tough week? What happened, honey?’ I was 15. Women I’d never met were commenting on my weight.’: Woman discovers intuitive eating, self-love after struggling with weight for years, ‘My children will see a vibrant, smart, STRONG woman’

“’Really? That’s what you’re going to eat for breakfast?’ I vividly remember holding my two pieces of cinnamon toast in my trembling hands. Every single one of my siblings had already toasted their bread, buttered it, and sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar. Yet, I was the only one singled out by my grandpa. Age 15, I began attending meetings every week with my mother. Strange adult women would applaud and beam at me. I was given jewelry to celebrate my ‘hard work.’ Women twice my age would ask what my ‘secret’ was.”

‘Not many husbands would support their wives bringing someone else’s baby into the world, but mine did.’: Woman births 2 rainbow babies after infertiliy, becomes surrogate for struggling couple 

“The day before my vacation to the Caribbean, I realized my period was late. I spoke to my mom on the drive home from work. I’ll never forget her words: ‘Honey, it will probably be negative, but you will be drinking on your trip. Just take the test for peace of mind. ‘ I took it that night. It was POSITIVE! I laid there in so much pain, sobbing, and praying for a miracle.”

‘Who are you hiding from?’ I was forbidden from closing the door while I showered or used the restroom. I wasn’t daddy’s little girl anymore.’: Woman overcomes childhood abuse, ‘You will survive. Your life is worth saving and fighting for’

“My dad was a dangerous man. After I was born, he endeared himself to me. ‘I’ve seen 100 girls like you,’ he said. He found my diary. He read it. Humiliated me. They tracked my periods. They would time how long it took me to walk from the bus stop to the apartment. I hid who I really was. I got smarter. I knew how long it took to go from the bedroom window to the front door, which I’d deadbolt when he left. I hid notes in menstrual pad packaging. I tell myself, ‘You tried to break me. You told me to kill myself. But YOU WON’T WIN.’”

‘After my C-section, I heard, ‘Wow! He’s got a big birthmark on his face.’: Baby is born with Port-Wine Stain and Sturge-Weber Syndrome, ‘Never did I think I would have to consider what anti-seizure medication would best keep my child thriving.’

“A bright reddish-purple color covered more than half of my newborn son’s face. ‘Will this birthmark fade? Will it get worse? What will other people think? Can this lead to other health issues?’ Looking back now, those first months of Leo’s life, I was living in fear. I was consumed by anxiety, exhaustion, and confusion.”

‘We won’t charge you for her. She’ll be FREE!’ I was freaking out. We already had 5 children. We didn’t sign up for this. We’re done, right?!’: Mom of 10 has all-natural birth at age 43, ‘We’ve brought 7 lives into the world, and saved 3. That’s worth it!’

“Let’s just say, passion wasn’t an issue in our relationship. We were headed to the movies and had a conversation that I might be pregnant. He asked me to take a pregnancy test in the movie theater restroom. I just swung my arms in a rocking cradle motion as I walked towards them. My family started asking if we were done. My mom even told me I needed to make John an appointment for a vasectomy. Funny story.”

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