‘As I blinked away the moisture in my eyes, my 3-year-old put his little hand on my face. ‘It’s okay, mama. It’s all gonna be okay.’: Mom recounts escaping abusive marriage

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“This last week marks 6 years since I left my old life to start a new one.

Six years ago, my husband drove my son and me to the airport so we could visit my parents. We said goodbye and ‘see you next week.’ But I knew this wouldn’t be the case.

Mom and her toddler son sitting on a swing at a playground
Courtesy of Stacey Janelle

This false pretense was the only way I felt I could safely get away. For nine days prior, I’d been formulating the plan I’d pondered vaguely in my mind for years, but never really intended to act on.

Until it suddenly all became too much once I discovered the one good aspect of our relationship I’d been clinging to was also a lie. So I prayed for strength and guidance.

I cashed a few hundred dollars from our joint bank account. I set up a secret email he didn’t know about. I finally corresponded with my family about the part of my life they didn’t know. I packed all my most important possessions in 2 suitcases, knowing I’d probably never have a chance to get the rest.

Mom holding toddler son on her arms while giving him a kiss on the cheek
Courtesy of Stacey Janelle

And for nine days, I made him dinner, gave him back massages, smiled pleasantly, kissed him goodnight, walked on eggshells, and laid silently and sleeplessly next to him, acting acting acting like everything was perfectly normal.

Once I sat down on the plane with my 3-year-old safely next to me, I felt such a sense of relief and such a sense of fear of the unknown and what might lie ahead.

I wanted to break down sobbing. But I had grown so used to controlling and hiding my emotions, I simply took a few deep breaths and blinked away the moisture in my eyes.

selfie of woman with teary eyes looking and red nose from crying
Courtesy of Stacey Janelle

I put my arm around my son and pulled him to my side. He stopped his coloring and looked up at me. He put his chubby little hand on my face and said, ‘It’s okay, mama. It’s okay. It’s all gonna be okay.’

mom holding her toddler son in her arms while he gives him a kiss on the cheek at the beach
Courtesy of Stacey Janelle

He had no idea what thoughts were racing through my head at that moment. There was no obvious reason for him to say those words to me. But they felt like an answer to so many of my prayers plead in distress and desperation.

I repeated those words to myself over and over again throughout the coming months, until they finally started to become true. For anyone in a similar situation: You can also get out. And it will. be. okay.

You deserve to be happy. You deserve to not be afraid in your own home. You deserve to feel safe. It might seem too hard to get away, but it is possible. Seek help and leave. A better life is waiting for you.”

selfie of a mom with her son resting his head on her shoulder while they both sit on a couch
Courtesy of Stacey Janelle

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Stacey Janelle from Shawnee, KS. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more form Stacey:

‘He never looks around at the messy house and asks, ‘So what exactly did you do all day?’: Stay-at-home mom thanks husband for ‘taking on the financial burden’ of blended family

‘Are all these kids yours?’ Truthfully, I’m not the best stepmom. Sometimes I feel like an intruder in their home.’: Mom describes ‘rocky waters’ of blending families, ‘Love conquers all’

Read more stories like this: 

‘I escaped the house from the second story window. I called off the wedding.’: Woman celebrates ‘triumph’ of escaping abusive partner by rocking dress on would-be wedding day 

‘On my daughter’s birthday, I woke up in a garage to him trying to douse me with gasoline.’: Domestic violence survivor says ‘if you need a sign to leave, this is it’

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