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‘Oh, it’s just my skin.’ I’d stare in the mirror, worrying how to look as pretty as the other girls.’: Young woman born with vitiligo skin condition develops eating disorder to look as good as her peers, finally learns ‘recovery is worth it’

“‘As soon as someone notices something is wrong, I will stop.’ I was waiting for the attention. Girls would run away from me because they did not want to ‘catch my disease.’ Every day, while throwing away my lunch in school, or doing sit-ups in my bedroom, I started to feel proud. I was 13, and weighed 60 pounds. Your passions cannot be accomplished if you are struggling yourself.”

‘It’s ALS.’ I spent the year watching my dad die. I ended my marriage to a man who never loved me.’: Woman finally finds life ‘worth living’ after surviving postpartum depression, losing father to ALS, marriage ending

“’You need help. You’re not ok.’ I got an email from my dad simply saying, ‘I love you.’ In the heartache of letting him go, I also was letting go of my 7 year marriage to a man I realized never loved me. Time didn’t stop like I desperately wanted it to. My daughter needed me, so I put one foot in front of the other. I started praying again, because I’d forgotten how.”

‘I’m so sorry.’ We’d lost the baby. I felt devastated for our surrogate.’: Gay dad feels ‘shattered’ after losing baby through surrogate miscarriage, insists he’s still ‘incredibly lucky ‘with family of 3

“We were flying back with our baby 5 days after she was born. We boarded early, and passed a number of men wearing hunting gear, whom I thought may have a problem with our family. But as we sat in our seats, wiping down all the surfaces and trying not to freak out, 2 of the guys in hunting gear came up to us and said, ‘Congratulations, you 3 make such a beautiful family.’ It was an important reminder.”

‘We should buy a test.’ ‘For what? I have an IUD. There’s no way!’’: 19-year-old mom has surprise pregnancy on the pill, second baby with IUD, ‘I can’t imagine my life any other way’

“WHAT!! How?? I had an alarm on my phone reminding me to take my pill every single day! She insisted I test anyway…sure enough, it was positive. ‘This isn’t a baby yet. You have options.’ Once I saw the baby on the ultrasound, I knew my only option was to give our child a chance at life. I knew God had a plan for me.”

‘You need help.’ I got her from preschool, pulled over ‘to rest,’ and woke with officers knocking on my window.’: Mom-of-4 finally gets sober after being institutionalized over 20 times, learns she is ‘not alone’

“This started long before ‘wine mom culture’. Earlier that morning, I was running errands alone. I pulled into a grocery store without thinking. That’s all it took. Horrified, my husband said, ‘You’ve got to stop. Emily, you need help.’ He breathalyzed me daily while taking away all access to money. I was greeted by judgmental preschool moms. These were the same women who cooked dinners every week for my husband and kids while I was gone.”

‘How selfish! Men looking at you in your leotards?’ On the outside we had it all. I was trapped.’: Woman finally escapes abusive relationship to pursue dancing dreams, ‘No one should fear for their lives, especially not in their own home’

“‘I knew you wouldn’t be able to control yourself. You’ve proved you can’t change to be a nice girl for me.’ Hours later, I found myself bleeding and alone, thrown from the car. Thankfully, a stranger happened upon me. She called the police. The man I had fallen for was gone. Finally, I broke. I was emerging from the nightmare.”

‘I picked out songs for your funeral,’ my sister told me. I feel nothing. I start shooting heroin into my IV.’: Young woman survives harrowing heroin addiction, says her son ‘hands down saved me’

“’How did I get here? I don’t want this life.’ I walked by the gun case and decided to take one rifle. My parents called the police. I downed an entire bottle of antidepressants and shot up the rest of my heroin. I sat on the edge of my hospital bed, sobbing. My doctor knew what I had been doing. She knew I had a syringe in the cabinet above my bed.”

‘My family said, ‘I told you so.’ Why didn’t I notice it? I wanted to pretend it never happened.’: Mom first denies son’s autism diagnosis, now advocates for ‘acceptance, inclusion’

“We vacuum when he’s not home, use the blender in the garage and I can’t blow dry my hair unless he’s asleep. Once he sees the appliance, it’s an instant tantrum. Truth be told, I’m scared. Scared he’ll be bullied for being different. I’m so, so, terrified of that. ‘Is he going to live a ‘normal’ life? Will he get married, have kids?’ I still feel broken at times.”

‘I am meant to be a heroin addict forever.’ I truly believed it. ‘What happened to me?’ That damn needle.’: Woman overcomes opioid addiction, fulfills childhood dream of becoming pro wrestler, ‘I’m living my wildest dreams’

“Senior year of high school. I felt sick. It spiraled completely out of control. I’m sniffing heroin and smoking crack cocaine like it’s going to get me into Harvard or something. I looked at my father and told him, ‘I need help.’ My dad wanted nothing to do with me, he was done. That really hurt.”

‘I’m single, and I haven’t had sex with anyone, but I’m pregnant.’ After the shock, they were happy.’: Single-by-choice mom births son with Down syndrome, ‘I thought I chose Matthew, but he chose me’

“‘You can be a Mom. You don’t need a husband.’ I couldn’t ignore how her words resonated with the deepest part of my heart. ‘Can I really do this?’ I asked the nurse, ‘is everything okay?’ She shook her head and said, ‘no.’ I was disoriented. ‘What are you saying?’ This pulled a strength out of me I never knew I had.”

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