childhood

‘It appears your baby did not develop a left forearm or hand.’ My whole body was shaking. It was surreal.’: Mom celebrates child born with limb difference, ‘In our eyes, he was perfect’

“Our brief phone call couldn’t have been longer than 5 minutes, yet it changed everything we knew or expected for our future. I had been hoping that they were wrong. Terrified of the unknown, I put off buying anything for our baby. I smiled throughout my baby shower I didn’t even want to attend.”

‘It was pizza day in school. ‘Your face looks like a pepperoni.’ My friend got up and slapped the guy.’: Woman born with port wine stain learns to embrace her beauty, ‘I needed to be myself’

“I was born with a big Port Wine Stain, covering half of my face. They would only laser a small part of my birthmark at a time because it was so painful. My mom recalls ‘the smell of burned skin getting in her nose.’ As I got older, I felt people staring more. Adults would stop in the middle of the sidewalk. ‘Wow.’ Kids would point. ‘Look at that.’ Imagine a little girl asking a grown woman, ‘Can I help you?’ That was me growing up.”

‘How do you feel?’ I said, ‘Shocked.’ But the relief I felt was unreal. Tears streamed down my face.’: Woman diagnosed with autism at 30, ‘Autism is not something I have. It’s who I am.’

“As my phone began to ring, I noticed there was no caller ID. My heart skipped a beat, my throat tightened, and I froze. I knew this was it. Why were they calling now? This was not a good time. My report was ready. I felt the blood rush to my head. I was walking through a busy street. Tears streamed down my face. I had waited for forever. Why had we not seen it for so many years? I was 30 years old – so much of my life had been a lie.”

‘A nosy man focused too much on race. I lost my patience. ‘I have so many kids because I sleep around a lot.’ He whipped his gaze over to my husband in shock.’: Couple with biological kids adopt 2 more, ‘My soul knew these souls’

“‘If you have more children, you could spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair.’ I can still hear those words echoing in my ears. There was no panic. Just calm. They didn’t even come with a photo. We didn’t need a photo to be drawn to the baby boy and his toddler sister looking for their family. They ran right to us and gave us big hugs. They are my babies, they always have been and they always will be.”

‘Just give her time. She’ll come around.’ My mom has yet to use my correct pronouns. To her, I’ll always be her first ‘daughter.’: Trans man finds courage to live his truth, ‘Transitioning was the biggest act of self-love’

“Everyone kept telling me I was a girl. When my mom would take me clothes shopping, I found myself cutting looks to the male section, wishing I could cross aisles and pick something I’d feel confident in. I struggled so much with trying to feel ‘pretty.’ Now, I miss being able to pick up the phone and just say ‘hi’ to my mom. Years pass, with little to no communication. I’ll always be her ‘daughter.’ No amount of hormones or surgeries will ever change that.”

‘Who are you hiding from?’ I was forbidden from closing the door while I showered or used the restroom. I wasn’t daddy’s little girl anymore.’: Woman overcomes childhood abuse, ‘You will survive. Your life is worth saving and fighting for’

“My dad was a dangerous man. After I was born, he endeared himself to me. ‘I’ve seen 100 girls like you,’ he said. He found my diary. He read it. Humiliated me. They tracked my periods. They would time how long it took me to walk from the bus stop to the apartment. I hid who I really was. I got smarter. I knew how long it took to go from the bedroom window to the front door, which I’d deadbolt when he left. I hid notes in menstrual pad packaging. I tell myself, ‘You tried to break me. You told me to kill myself. But YOU WON’T WIN.’”

‘He loved me for who I am, I want everyone to see exactly who I am! I will never be ashamed again.’: Woman with prosthetic leg learns to love herself after tragic loss of husband, ‘If you live with a disability, a malformation, a birthmark–DON’T feel like you need to hide it!’

“When I was about 23, I got my robot leg. I did wear dresses but I didn’t like to wear anything too tight on my butt because you can see the edge of the prosthetic. I hated it. I was so ashamed of showing that part of my body. The shamefulness slowly disappeared, this summer when I lost my husband in a motorcycle accident.”

‘They whispered to each other. ‘How can that be?’ My heart sank. ‘He doesn’t seem THAT different. It must be a mistake.’: Mom surprised by son’s autism diagnosis, ‘We just chalked it up to ‘every kid is different and learns at their own pace.’

“He was a super chill baby and we thought we had it MADE. I started to notice the other little boys’ interactions with their moms. I began to get worried. I didn’t think anything was different about Landon at first, I just thought I was not a good enough mom. I thought I wasn’t teaching him these little things well enough. This was our first child and we didn’t know any different.”

‘I’m too scared to tell you because you’ll get mad.’ They’ve been cowering every time I ask, ‘what happened here?’ They’ve been lying!’: Mom implements ‘safe zone’ for kids after realizing she’s been bullying them for bad behavior

“I erupted like a volcano, spewing anger at her tiny 4-year-old body. I can hear the bully I am being. Then she matter-of-factly said, ‘I was too scared to ask you for a piece of paper so I colored on the table instead.’ The very first thing I said was, ‘thank you for telling me the truth.’ I noticed how mean I’ve been. I have realized I’m being unfair. I needed a change.”

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