Lauren Mesley

‘I was 19, pregnant. ‘Your baby is missing arms and legs. I’m only seeing 2 toes and a partial foot.’ I thought it was some cruel joke.’: Teen mom births baby with phocomelia, ‘He beat all the odds’

“Evan was whisked away immediately after birth. My stepmother grabbed my mother and left the room. Both were visibly shaken. I overheard them in the hall: ‘You’ve got to get it together. They need us now more than ever!’ The doctor entered. ‘Ms. Sanchez, there is a problem. Your son’s spine is severely twisted and growing out of the side of his back. If this continues, it will pull his ribcage into his heart and kill him.’ I was devastated.”

‘I was lying in bed, feeling extreme anxiety about a noise I heard, when it hit me like a ton of bricks. ‘I HAVE IT, TOO.’: Mom learns she’s lived 34 years with Sensory Processing Disorder after daughter’s diagnosis

“Growing up, I often felt a lot of anxiety. I would undress immediately after putting on clothes. I couldn’t stand the feeling of my brothers sitting next to me. I would desperately put my hands beside my thighs to get relief if their legs pressed against mine. I want to help the little girl inside of me who spent 34 years feeling there was ‘wrong’ with her. I want to hug her and tell her it’s not her fault.”

‘My job title and daily duties may have changed, but I’m still in the business of nurturing the people I love.’: Mom details emotional transition from mother to grandma

“While out walking the dog on Saturday morning, just days after my last daughter left the nest, I got a call from my oldest child. ‘He’s here. He’s been born!’ In the span of just 24 hours, I was forcibly retired from the only job I’d ever wanted, and thrust into a role I had no idea how to do.”

‘You’re lucky he didn’t die in his sleep. He is 1 in 6 billion and will be bedridden for life.’ I clenched my husband’s hand in disbelief, tears welling in my eyes.’: Mom praises medically complex son, ‘He is our little heart warrior’

“He was lifeless and pale. The clock was ticking. All we could do was pray and hold his little hand. Sitting beside his hospital bed, 3 genetic doctors in white coats rushed in. ‘Can we go to a private room to talk?’ I walked down the hallway in a fog. ‘We were wrong. It’s severe. He will never live independently on his own.’ Soon after, he had a stroke and began seizing up. This was the worst-case scenario. It was really happening.”

‘I checked the mail to find a strange woman asking my husband for child support. 8 years into marriage, I found out he had another daughter the exact age as our 6-year-old.’: Woman with vitiligo shares incredible journey, ‘Never give up on your dreams’

“At 17, I got pregnant. Life completely changed. After discovering my husband’s double life, I went into the shower to find a white spot under my arm. I tried to scrub it off, but it wouldn’t move. Every time I checked, the spot was bigger and bigger. ‘Is it cancer? Is it contagious?’ I asked the doctor.’There’s no cure.’ As he pulled up pictures on his laptop, I began to cry. ‘I’m going to be a monster.’ Here I was, my marriage ending, horrified no one would ever want me again.”

‘She is simply too complicated.’ They didn’t see me as a little girl anymore. I was nothing but a body.’: Childhood leukemia survivor’s most important lesson, ‘Emotions are meant to be felt’

“I made a promise to myself. If I was cleared from having the chance of developing a second cancer, I’d get a tattoo. I met a lady who asked me a question that changed my life and perspective forever. ‘Why are you the way that you are?’ she asked. From then on, we became connected by the heart. We were able to help heal each other.”

‘My dad killed himself, didn’t he? That’s why you cried so much when I was a baby?’: Mom doesn’t let labels define her, ‘I am more than just an amputee or widow’

“I still remember that day. The taste of blood and dirt in my mouth. Later, when I sat up in the hospital bed and felt the missing weight of my right arm, I looked over and saw nothing but a stump wrapped in bandages. It was the most horrific thing I’d seen in my 10 short years. But life moves on, and I slowly gained a sense of new purpose. There was more to me than just one label.”

‘Doctor…please believe us. Our son is not OK.’ He looked at us like we were crazy. ‘He looks perfectly fine to me!’: Mom urges ‘trust your gut’ after son’s Stage 4 Neuroblastoma misdiagnosed, cancer cells detected during ‘cancer-free hospital party’

“’Mommy, I’m hurting!’ He let out the most painful cry I’d ever heard. ‘The doctor said, ‘He has a bit of pneumonia.’ This time, it was uglier. Little did we know, that night was the beginning. ‘We are not crazy! Something is wrong,’ we pleaded.”

‘Out of left field, the man asked, ‘Ma’am, will she ever be normal?’ Fighting back tears, my 5-year-old climbed on A.J.’s wheelchair and look him straight in the eye.’: Woman adopts child with cerebral palsy, ‘Life has never felt more complete’

“I got the phone call that would change our lives forever. ‘Her mother was found deceased this morning.’ We asked, ‘How would y’all feel if A.J. stayed with us forever?’ The two girls’ bond is like I have never seen. She doesn’t see A.J as ‘different,’ she just sees her baby sister. I don’t think any of us could imagine life without her.”

‘If I knew what life had in store, I wouldn’t have spent 4 years with my ex-husband.’: Woman describes grief after fiancé’s sudden death, ‘Being with him was like finally getting a breath of fresh air’

“I beg every god I have ever heard of for this to all be a dream. I beg to forget coming home from work and finding the love of my life, lifeless on our couch. I wish I knew what life had in store. I would’ve done everything in my power to spend more time with him. I may not know where my life will go from here, but I do know I am not alone.”

 Share  Tweet