natalie brenner

‘I cannot follow you anymore. You seem hellbent on being negative, on grieving a man you divorced.’ I was at the gym when I got the message from a woman I barely know.’: Woman insists by living her truth she’s ‘hellbent on being honest’

“‘Dear Natalie, I have followed you for years. I adore your boys. I love seeing your beautiful face when it is joyful. But I owe it to you to let you know, I cannot follow you anymore. You seem to be hellbent on being negative when you so clearly have so much to be happy about. I cannot have all of your constant negativity in my feed anymore.’ I was at the gym when I listened to the full 3-minute message left in my Instagram Direct Messages, from a woman I only knew through her comments.”

‘I would NEVER drug my child.’ I was appalled. ‘Too much for me?!,’ I exclaimed. It was a nightmare that broke me.’: Foster mom’s children are removed after son gets into medication, ‘It felt like battle’

“My son climbed onto the counter and got into some medication. This launched an investigation of abuse on me. The state caseworkers were trying to prove I purposely overdosed my son because he was ‘just too much for me.’ ‘Too much for me?!,’ I exclaimed, ‘These kids are everything to me.’ They replied, ‘We believe you’re too stressed from a recent divorce. We need to make sure you are safe for your children.’ I felt the fire consume me. It was all so much.”

‘Which bird is mine, mama? This one?’ My boys point to my tattoo. ‘But mom, who are THESE birds?’: Mom’s sentimental tattoo helps 3-year-old sons learn about ‘the babies in my tummy that died’

“‘They died? Why?’ Ira asked, concerned. ‘What happened?’ He shrugged his shoulders and looked at me. ‘Where they go? After they dead?’ ‘You know,’ I said tickling them, ‘You two are miracles. Our babies that didn’t make it out of my tummy alive are in Heaven.’ My boys would usually be distracted by now. ‘It has streets of GOLD. There is no crying, no sadness. No families are broken…we all live together. ‘We all live together there? Daddy too?’”

‘Are you going to give your adopted son back, since you’re going to have your own child?’ Ummm nope.’: Mom declares ‘adoption is not what impregnated me,’ enraged strangers would assume he’s ‘not wanted’

“Her words were confident as she loaded the belt with groceries, one by one, BEAMING. I smiled. ‘Oh! That’s not how it works. My bio son isn’t some weird reward for adopting.’ A lady actually argued with me. She told me pregnancy and biological babies are always the goal, ‘congrats for me.’ He was always our plan.”

‘I refuse to be in a relationship that sucks my soul dry. I’d rather be single forever.’ I said this square to his face. I meant it.’: Woman succumbs to dating after divorce, ‘I will not be shamed for who I am’

“Divorce was the death of all I knew. ‘I’m not going to date anyone this year, if ever.’ I said those words with confidence. And then I met Kevin. ‘I’m only getting married once,’ he said just as confidently. I was reserved. I was cautious. But I also didn’t want to say goodbye. Then one day, he called me. ‘I love you. I’m IN LOVE. I can’t hold it in anymore.’”

‘I was just pulled over, for no reason.’ He’s black, I’m white. My heart raced. We get the CRAZIEST looks.’: White woman dating black man says ‘it’s an honor he’d choose to be with me, it blows me away’

“‘How many white women have you actually dated?’ I asked. ‘None. That makes you like…a pioneer. lol.’ I read his response, a knot forming in my stomach. ‘I’ve never really trusted or felt safe around white people.’ He’s HUGE, towering over my 5-foot figure. We get the CRAZIEST looks when we’re with our kids. His are biracial, my youngest is white white WHITE. I imagine people wondering if I cheated on him.”

‘Where do I go?’ His voice cracked. My ex-husband slept on my couch, I’d lock my bedroom door and leave.’: Mom recalls ‘awkward’ co-parenting while her ex-husband slept on her couch after marriage split

“‘I don’t want to keep doing this. I can’t.’ I was sitting on the floor of our dream home. ‘What?’ His voice cracked. I could hear the pain and disbelief. ‘Is this really happening?’ I knew in my gut I wouldn’t recover in this marriage. I needed space. I needed to find out if I could survive this hidden trauma. I’d been lying to the world, but worse, I’d been lying to myself. I hated sharing my new home.”

‘Divorce isn’t an option. 19-year-old bride, you begin slowly dying. You feel so trapped.’: Young woman feels ‘shame’ for wanting to end ‘picture perfect’ marriage, but had to ‘save’ herself

“‘I met the man I’m going to marry,’ you told your friends. You’re 19 when you first lay eyes on him. From the moment you learn he’s going to be a pastor, you know this is the life for you. Neither of you knew what you were signing up for. You thought if you found a Christian man, one willing to wait to have sex until marriage, life will be perfect. Now, you flinch when touched.”

‘When they flinch from the stapler dropping, it’s because they weren’t sure if you’re throwing it at them.’: Foster mom pens powerful note to teacher warning of her children’s trauma

“They come from a really, really hard place. The kind of abuse you think can’t be real. They duck for cover. You’ve heard of fight or flight? There is also freeze. One of my kids responds with ‘freeze.’ Her eyes grow wide and her voice silences. It’s how she’s trained herself to survive. My kids need to know you are safe.”

‘To my ex-husband on our wedding anniversary, I’m angry at my 19-year-old self for marrying you.’: Woman admits she was ‘barely surviving’ in her marriage, says ‘we both sucked at loving each other’

“A year ago today we rented an Airbnb and had dinner at some hip restaurant. We were parenting 4 children and adopting a fifth. We had just moved into a big, beautiful home with lots of space for our growing family, close to our best friends. We looked like the perfect little family, but we were fooling ourselves.”

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