Love What Matters

‘I broke things off with my husband. It was a shock to my family. I hid my unhappiness well. Then I met Sean.’: Teen bride finds ‘unconditional love’ after realizing she didn’t want to be ‘pastor’s wife,’ is ‘grateful for second chance at happiness’

“I was 18 when I married my high school sweetheart. I hesitantly resigned myself to becoming a youth pastor’s wife, and told myself I’d learn to bake casseroles and become the epitome of domesticity. I told myself this was who I was. I never anticipated the crash.”

‘Doctors: Don’t expect him to crawl, talk, walk, or feed himself. Cash: Hold my sippy cup and watch this.’: Down syndrome mom feels ‘lucky’ to parent son with ‘extra chromosome’

“The doctor was cold, rude, and uncomfortable. He ignored my husband every time he tried to speak and suggested we ‘put him up for adoption.’ Yet, NO ONE agreed he had Down Syndrome. We looked at his little almond-shaped eyes and back at each other and just KNEW. Our lives didn’t ‘fall apart.’ We didn’t ‘mourn’ the loss of a ‘perfect’ baby. We were just so in love.”

‘She may never walk again,’ my doctor said. ‘Like hell,’ I thought. I was 17. I’d been in a car accident.’: Single mom overcomes crippling car accident, alcoholism, daughter’s autism diagnosis, says ‘don’t count yourself out’

“I was about to move out, but I found out I was pregnant. I was running on fumes. I felt like I’d made a huge mistake becoming a mom. I wasn’t good at this. I drank to cope. My marriage ended explosively. I finally decided enough was enough when my daughter started copying everything I do. She reached for my beer, and I remember deciding, it was time to be done. For good. That was 8 months ago.”

‘The adoption date changed. Then the unthinkable happened. My darling husband collapsed from a seizure.’: Husband dies 2 weeks before twin adoption finalized to become ‘official family of 5’

“I knew from the moment I saw this tiny dynamic duo, they were mine – the love at first sight squeezed my heart as I looked into their squishy, brown faces. I was immediately a goner for these kids. We were a force to be reckoned with. I was a mom on a mission, and I was prepared to do anything to seal the deal for our family. Then yet another bomb detonated. My husband Peter fell ill with a vicious terminal disease.”

‘Where’s my phone?!’ My arms, legs began to shake. I lost my vision. I lay on the bathroom floor, alone, no cellphone.’: Woman says mental illness ‘humbled’ her, reminds us ‘it’s okay to be different’

“I woke up feeling a little off, but brushed it off. I signed my kids into their classes, headed upstairs to find a seat in the auditorium. Then, I felt the shift. ‘This is where I needed to be.’ I had commitments, and I needed to be okay. But heat flooded my body. The beautiful music became an overwhelming noise. I decided to escape. There was no warning, no time to prepare.”

‘Excuse me, my child has a question about your face.’ Others pulled their kids away like I shouldn’t be looked at.’: Woman with Craniofacial differences reminds us to use ‘kindness’ to approach uniqueness

“In middle school, kids started to stare and ask, ‘Why does your face look smooshed? What’s wrong with your nose?’ My mom would tell me how pretty I was and I’d always say, ‘You’re my mom, you have to say that.’ I’d spend so much time buying cuter clothes, different makeup, more jewelry to overshadow my face. But when I stripped it all down, my confidence was gone.”

‘I struggled with the thought of being in a hit and run. I’d have panic attacks. I was convinced any bump I hit was a person.’: Woman’s emotional battle with OCD, feeling ‘defeated,’ and how she’s calmed her anxieties

“I realized my issues were bigger than I could handle alone. I reached out for help. I found the therapist to be unprofessional and insensitive. I left the session crying and not wanting to go through that again. It’s extremely difficult opening up to a stranger and telling them the most vulnerable experiences you’ve had in your life. I felt defeated and overwhelmed.”

‘You’ve been lying to me.’ My frantic husband was pacing the room. ‘What’s really going on?’ Tell the truth.’: Wife admits her own infidelity, promises your marriage is ‘worth fighting for,’ says ‘you can gain trust again’

“My phone was in his hand. I was half asleep. He’d found a thread of messages to a friend of mine. I’d been telling her I felt like the other guy was the one for me. Not my husband. As you can imagine, he was blindsided. ‘Tell me what happened,’ he kept repeating. Tears streamed down my face. If I said it, then that made it more real.”

‘What happened, buddy? What happened?’ I laid down next to him, held his hand. An eerie calm came over me.’: Father pleads ‘hug your kids, don’t work too late’ after regretting ‘missing out on things’ with twin son who suddenly died in his sleep

“The evening before was normal. He was healthy and engaged. We had kids over for dinner. We all jumped on the giant trampoline. He got bossy with the other kids and started telling everyone they were playing the game wrong. I pulled him aside. I was stern with him. Too stern in hindsight. And I made him cry. It’s one of the last interactions we had, and I’ve beaten myself up for it. I can still see the tears rolling down his face. ‘But you’re not listening to me. No one listens to me.’”

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