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‘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.”

‘Mom, am I going to look like those people? Am I going to be ugly?’ My sweet girls didn’t understand why I was so worried.’: Mom births twins with vitiligo, ‘I had to turn this into a positive’

“I noticed my 6-year-old daughter’s knee had a small white circular patch. ‘How is this the first time I am seeing this?!’ My eyes were filling with tears. Why was this happening to my babies? The girls were terrified! They were scared it would spread all over them like the people in the pictures. They cried and cried. I knew at this point, I had to turn this into something positive for them.”

‘A sleeveless shirt would ‘bring too much attention.’ Everything I did was a ‘sin.’ There was no escaping it.’: Woman overcomes ‘unique’ childhood, trauma to find self-love

“I was in his bed, having unprotected sex. I lost my virginity. I was supposed to wait till marriage. Within 3 months of meeting him, I got pregnant. I came home and caught him talking to another woman. I felt betrayed, heartbroken, and utterly lost. I convinced myself to do whatever I had to do to create a life with this man. Boy, was I wrong. That’s when a girlfriend set me up on a blind date with a man named Larry.”

‘I grabbed mascara to hide my puffy eyes. ‘But you’re pretty enough, mama.’ The words stopped everything.’: Mom reminds us it’s okay to ‘lower your standards every now and then’

“‘Let mama throw on some clothes and put makeup on.’ Some days, I embrace the chaos. I laugh it off. It’s fine. This was not one of those days. I felt the tears welling in my eyes. There I was, day 3 of dry shampoo, on my knees in my 6-year-old’s closet 10 minutes before we had to leave. My toddler sitting atop the kitchen table, spilling milk from his brother’s cereal while the dogs licked the sticky floor. The words came from the other side of my bedroom door. I stopped frantically searching for a bobby pin. I just stopped.”

‘Gabrielle, look at me.’ I burst into tears and told her I was struggling. ‘That’s it. I’m coming over. I’m taking the baby. You are going to eat and shower!’: Overwhelmed new mom thankful to friend for ‘showing the hell up’

“She could see I was avoiding eye contact. She showed up to my house, took my baby. I stood there, staring at her and my baby. Like, ‘What do I do now?’ She looked at me and said, ‘We are fine! GO TAKE A SHOWER. I know what I’m doing!’ Sometimes the kind of love I need is this.”

‘I hear you talking to friends. You ‘don’t feel like yourself lately.’ I can see tears in your eyes. You may not love yourself right now, Mama, but I do.’: Mom pens appreciation letter to fellow mothers

“I hear you complain to daddy you have ‘huge bags’ under your eyes. I assume it’s because you’re tired. You were up with me again all last night. I really love the way you cuddle me in the middle of the night while the rest of the world is quiet. You make me feel so safe. You may not love the sleepless nights, Mama, but I do.”

‘Let go of the expectations. Enjoy the lights, do away with the to-do lists, breathe, and hold on to the people you love.’: Woman reminds us to cherish time with loved ones this Christmas

“Why does this holiday season feel so weird? Maybe it’s because all I want to do is sit around and watch Christmas movies, but there’s always somewhere to be. Or maybe it’s because I’m so busy buying the things the stores are telling me I need to be busy buying that I’m not looking at the gifts right in front of me. Can we just…oh, I don’t know…stop? And breathe. And enjoy. And be with each other. THAT is where the holiday lives.”

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