perseverance

‘At 15, I became pregnant with my daughter. I had to raise a child while still growing up myself. I received hate and rumors spread.’ Teen mom beats the odds to graduate college and ‘reach success’

“Everyone recognized me by pregnant belly, rather than by my face. I dealt with dirty looks and whispers in the hallways. In college, I got pregnant with my son. It wasn’t easy. I have been in abusive relationships, been days away from planning a wedding, only to find out I was ‘only an option.’ I wanted to give up, on everything. But I was strong for my children.”

‘I want to live!,’ I was screaming. The cops were on their way. I was trying to get out of the bathroom, trying to get my boyfriend off me, trying to hide in the tub.’: Single mom’s empowering story of surviving domestic abuse with infant daughter

“I had 3 months to figure out my escape. I stopped fighting back with my daughter’s father and kept calm. He was losing control, and it drove him crazy. ‘You’re not gonna take her from me,’ he’d say. I’d wake up to him pacing the kitchen talking to himself. I stayed quiet and texted a friend who said, ‘Wait 10 minutes, and then you call the cops. He could be lying.’”

‘MOM YOU DID IT!’ I had gone from a married stay-at-home, homeschooling mother, to a single mom of 4 and nursing school graduate. And then it finally happened. I cried.’: Single mom’s empowering journey navigating ‘messy divorce’

“When my marriage imploded, I didn’t shed a tear. Up until the split, I had been a stay-at-home oilfield wife. I home-schooled the children. It started to hit me. Great big tears poured from my eyes as I walked across the stage. I turned to my kids in the crowd. We did it, together.”

‘I am Retarded.’

“One of the staff members decided it would be beneficial for her to wear a medal around her neck that read this. She suggested the staff member wear a medal around HER neck that read, ‘I am Ordinary.’ She was a legend.”

‘My father would dress up for dates with other women as my mother cried, ‘Please stay. I’ll forgive you!’ He’d disappear weeks at a time.’: Woman claims ‘the cycle of abuse can end with you’

“His secret life became an open book. My mother would wake me at 3:00 a.m. on school nights to sneak my father’s phone from the bedroom. I’d translate endless emails he wrote to various women. He was unfaithful. She’d collapse at my knees and sob. One day, I walked into the office. I opened the filing cabinet and flipped to the very back. There, I uncovered a large yellow folder. My innocence was ripped away.”

‘My stepdad always told me I was bad luck. I never fit into his picture-perfect family. To avoid fights, I’d lose myself in a book or math problem. School was my safe-haven.’: Woman determines what the ‘American Dream’ means for her family

“I didn’t care what school I went to as long as I could get away from home. I later dropped out of high school and started working the night shift at a restaurant. Weeks later, my school counselor called. ‘If I work something out with you, would you agree to come back?’ It was my second chance at life.”

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