The last time I tried to leave the father of my kids, he tried to kill me in front of my children. He beat me up because I didn’t make him something to eat fast enough.  That’s when I knew I had to get away for good. I woke up the next morning trying to figure out if I was still alive or not, still numb from the shock and hurting from the bruises. I was a mom for the second time, still breastfeeding a young baby and basically doing it all on my own, with no help from my boyfriend. I realized I didn’t want to live this way for the rest of my life. I was scared to tell anybody what was really going on because I worried my kids would be taken away and that’s the only thing I was holding on to, as selfish as that sounds. It took three years after the first time their dad hurt me to finally decide I couldn’t do this anymore. I kept feeling guilty that the kids would hate me later on for leaving their dad, but I knew they deserved better than watching him hurt me. I had told myself for so long, “I’ll leave tomorrow.” I finally realized I might not be alive tomorrow. Finally, I told my mom and my family what was going on; I stayed in a hotel for a bit and then was referred to SSHA.

Moving to my apartment gave me a chance to stop having to always be figuring out how to come back from a loss and find a life where I didn’t have to keep taking them. It wasn’t the first time I had left their dad and I doubted I would be strong enough to make it my last- but I did it. With the help of my case managers, I kept the no contact order in place and finally broke the cycle. The kids stopped having to check on me to make sure I was ok and they got back to being kids again. I don’t want my kids to ever have to grow up and think its ok for anyone to hurt them. My case managers helped me write a resume, get a job, and even encouraged me to start my own hair and eyelash business. My kids loved playing outside and with the neighbor kids. Everyone at SSHA understood us; nobody judged me because of what I went through. It’s like I felt pretty and worthy of being normal again you know? Y’all helped me see that it’s  doable and having a stable safe place for the kids to call home means a lot and I saw so many things falling into place. I couldn’t have made it without you.