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Surprise

Surprise!

‘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.”

‘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.”

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