‘Are you her nanny?’ ‘Did you kidnap her?’ I had a mom call me her Au Pair at gymnastics. We get stared down.’: Single black mom adopts 2 white siblings, is constantly judged by strangers but urges, ‘Love goes beyond skin color’

“When I tell them I’m her mom, they reply with, ‘Ohhhh. She must look like her dad then.’ In line at stores, I get stared down. I say out loud to Elizabeth, ‘Mommy loves you!’ And she replies, ‘I love you mommy.’ That makes the people so confused. You can see their brain cells burning with confusion. Whenever she misbehaves in public, people stare so hard to see how the ‘nanny’ is going to handle it. Sometimes I say, ‘You can stop looking. I’m her mother.’ Then, I was notified she had a brother. I thought my family was complete, but I was wrong.”

‘They were born like this. There is nothing we can do.’ They were tied to beds, drugged, covered in bruises. I couldn’t accept that answer.’: Woman helps dozens of abused, disabled children find loving homes, preaches ‘every child has value’

“I entered the orphanage. Hundreds of children were living there, but the halls were silent, expect the occasional wail or moan. I saw skeletal bodies, empty eyes, smelly diapers. I heard doctors calling them ‘disasters.’ One child had a sack of fluid coming from the back of her skull. It was her brain, and it was leaking fluid. Children were covered in cigarette burns. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And I couldn’t look away. I knew I had to help.”

‘I would claim, ‘Oh yeah, I hurt myself. I’m wearing a hard brace until it heals.’ I never told my parents I wrote a suicide note.’: Woman known as the ‘girl with one arm’ hides prosthetic for 2 years, finally realizes, ‘they knew I was different, they didn’t care’

“I lived in a small town in the deep South. I was 15, the age where acne, boy problems, and all that fun stuff was going on. To make matters worse, I was born missing my left forearm. I wore my prosthetic to school for 2 entire years without removing it for gym class, soccer practice, nothing. For 2 whole years, that mind game would go on, leaving me feeling suicidal on my 17th birthday. I woke up feeling like I was done with living. It was a bright, sunny day. I sat in my room writing out all the reasons I didn’t want to be here on this planet. I broke down in tears. I knew I had to make a choice.”

‘Life gets loud. Pay attention to the nudges in marriage. The cues. Don’t ignore them, don’t fight them.’: Woman urges ‘you can’t put your spouse on the backburner’

“‘Okay. Bye.’ That’s what our marriage needing work sounded like. It’s wasn’t an, ‘I love you.’ It was a big ol’ red flashing sign. After 3 children and 20 years together, careers, and attempting to maintain a home, marriage became an afterthought. We function better when we are in front stage. Centre stage. Every time.”

‘We walked towards the line. John made a beeline for the door. ‘I’m here to help. Follow me!’ Tears filled my eyes.’: Mom ‘in tears’ after touching act of kindness for autistic son

“John is autistic and has a great love for animals. We thought it’d be a fun family outing to go to the Aquarium. It was a mad house. There were long lines, people everywhere. Overwhelmed, John made a beeline for the door. My heart broke. The stares stung. A man asked if I needed help. I explained we wouldn’t be staying due to the circumstances. He reached out to shake my hand. ‘My name is Chris and I’m here to help!’ He told me he had a ‘back way.’ My eyes filled with tears. In all our years, this was a first.”

‘I screamed, ‘I love you! Please don’t leave me!’ She had changed her tampon regularly. She started seizing and stopped breathing right in front of me.’: Mom loses daughter to Toxic Shock Syndrome, ‘My beautiful girl was a fighter’

“It was my daughter’s 19th birthday. She wasn’t feeling well, but still wanted to go out to dinner. When we got home, my baby was sick to her stomach. She was completely out of it. Something wasn’t right. I hug her saying, ‘It’s okay, the ambulance is coming.’ Then, all of the sudden, she looks at me, takes a deep breathe, and closes her eyes. I held her as she took her last breath. I didn’t want to let go. I prayed God would take me instead.”

‘My youngest was called the n-word in kindergarten. He’s been told his skin is the color of poop. Someone yelled a racial epithet at us from a truck.’: Adoptive mom addresses the ‘wide mouthed, gaping stares’ her mixed-race family gets from strangers

“Raising a child of a different race was overwhelming. I hate to even admit how I once accidentally shaved his toddler head bald before desperately seeking out a Black barber. But slowly, we learned what products worked on his skin and hair. We stepped out of our comfort zone. When I share how I have two 20-year-old’s and a 10-year-old, people ask if the 20-year-old’s are twins, or they comment on the age gap. I know my older two keep things from me. I worry about the safety of all three of them.”

‘I’m 14, alone with a boy. ‘What if you had sex with me?’ He leers. ‘No thanks.’ ‘What if I held you down and made you?’: Survivor advocates for fellow survivors of the Me Too Movement, ‘Culture tells us not to complain. To keep quiet.’

“I’m 17, and I have a long-distance boyfriend. He begs me for phone sex and I say no. ‘I’m sorry, I’m just not comfortable.’ I hang up on him, feeling guilty. He’s lonely in the Marine barracks. I’m all he has. He needs me. He suffers from depression, self-harm. A few nights later, I pause on the phone. I hear his heavy breathing, muffled moans. ‘Are you…?’ I ask. ‘Don’t stop. Keep talking,’ he pants. Feeling sick, I hang up the phone. I feel dirty and embarrassed. ‘Men will only go as far as you let them,’ I’ve been told. Boys will be boys.”

‘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.”

‘How did you know?’ My little baby went completely silent, no words, no babble, nothing. There were warning signs, we just didn’t know.’: Mom’s journey with autistic son

“Does this make me feel guilty? Of course, it does. As a mom you are meant to know these things, you are meant to protect your child. Parents have pulled their kids away from him. They leave him out of play dates. People ignore him, because he cannot talk. This is heartbreaking, but they simply don’t understand.”

‘My heart skipped a beat. A single outfit stopped me in my tracks. It was a familiar print, from my son’s final outfit.’: Mom caught off guard by emotional memory when she least expected it, ‘I fought back tears’

“Tiny little elephants danced across the pink fleece in front of me. It was a familiar print. I’d entered that very store years ago, searching for a final outfit for my gravely ill son. Shoppers were oblivious to me. As I got my daughter dressed, she smiled back at me. I teared up.”

‘You’ll never regret having kids. The second that child enters this world, he’ll steal a part of your heart you didn’t know you had left to give.⁣’: Woman claims a mother’s love transcends all circumstance, ‘No matter the chaos she brings, she’s worth it’

“You may regret it when you’re 34 weeks pregnant, and it takes so much effort to do the littlest things.⁣ You may regret it when you’re in labor with excruciating pain so intense it takes your breath away, as sweat forms in places you didn’t know produced sweat.⁣ No matter how much you can’t afford her, no matter how much time you don’t have, the second that child is placed on your chest, something changes.”

‘She had a severe fever. I thought she’d sleep it off. The next morning, her breathing was off. I should have listened to my gut.’: Local ‘mom tribe’ step in to breastfeed newborn while mother’s daughter battles life-threatening flu

“That night, she got worse. Her eye turned pink. She sat next to the couch and cried, coughing so hard she vomited. When the ambulance arrived, I passed off my other kids to a friend, said goodbye. That’s when I lost it. I had no idea this would be 1 of 9 nights my daughter would remain in the hospital. I had to be strong for my sweet girl. My newborn was stuck at home. I posted to Facebook about it. Suddenly, text after text came flooding in.”

‘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.”

‘My brother came to me in a dream last night and told me he was in heaven. He isn’t in pain anymore.’: Mom of 2 children with rare skin condition loses youngest unexpectedly, ‘Nothing could be done. My baby was gone forever.’

“’They’re here!’ I saw my husband staring with a scary look on his face. Everything went out of focus. I walked to his bed, and I sank to the floor. He was gone. I screamed, doctors came running in. They performed CPR but because of his disease, it tore all the skin from his chin to his chest. They told me his heart stopped due to complications. I later found out he was given fentanyl during the flight.”

‘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.”

‘Is there something wrong with her head?’ Matt insisted on an answer. He bowed his head in prayer. I held his hand tight.’: Mom loses daughter to anencephaly, ‘Rachel made me a better person. She is safe and I will see her again.’

“‘She’s going to live, right?’ The doctor looked at me and said words I will never forget… ‘These babies don’t live.’ She handed me a box of rough, thin tissues and left the room. I completely lost all composure and thrashed around that room like I myself was being killed. ‘Not my girl… not my girl…’ I asked Matt, ‘What are we going to do?’ Without a pause, my brave husband said, ‘We’re going to give her a name.’”

‘My friend started her period. I was so jealous, I could barely talk with her about it. I wore my mom’s pantie liners. Somehow it made me feel better.’: Mom says she will tell her kids things

“I told both of my children about the time I agreed to kiss a boy in the back of the school yard when I was way too young. How I really, really liked this boy. I told them how mortified I was when friends gathered around us and agreed to cover their eyes, but didn’t. Instead, they watched it all and laughed. Love can make you do stupid things.”

‘I kept crying out, ‘Please wait! It’s too early!’ I was 19, pregnant with quadruplets. My water broke at just 24 weeks and wouldn’t stop.’: Teen mom births miracle micro-preeme after losing 3 of her quadruplets

“I stopped feeling my girls move. I lifted my shirt over my baby bump. I could see the ultrasound as the tech moved the wand around. I knew immediately something was wrong. I started to cry to my fiancé. ‘I can’t lose my babies. I can’t.’ The words were burned into me, ‘Babies B and C no longer have heartbeats.’ My cervix was giving out. ‘What else could go wrong?,’ I asked. I had to stay strong so my survivor could have a chance.”