My name is Ashley, I am 30 years old, and I am strong.
I am strong because I was 16 when I became pregnant with my first child. I am strong because I chose to keep him instead of giving him up for adoption.
I am strong because I stayed in school, worked part time to pay for his needs, and graduated with a 3.75 GPA.
I am strong because I gave birth to his little sister when I was 20 years old. I am strong because I took my children and walked away from an abusive marriage when I was 23.
I am strong because I later married a man who was in the military. I raised my two children and his from a previous marriage full time while he was constantly away with work.
I am strong because while I raised the first three children and was a full time college student, I got pregnant with my youngest daughter.
I am strong because I fought to hold my family together as my husbands preference for his job instead of his family pulled us apart. I am strong because I was mentally, verbally, and emotionally abused for 4 years and I still fought for my family.
I am strong because when I saw the emotional and verbal abuse begin to happen to my children, I said thats enough.
I am strong because I walked away from a second marriage with 4 children in tow (yes, his son came with me), as a full time college student, one semester away from graduating.
I am strong because I reconnected with a childhood sweetheart just shortly after my marriage ended and he accepted and loved all of my children like they were his own.
I am strong because shortly after we started dating, we found out we were expecting a child. I am strong because despite the nasty comments from family members, we chose to keep our baby and we ran away and got married.
I am strong because I found a man who was supportive of my birth choices and educated himself on home birth, circumcision, and all things pregnancy.
I am strong because at 37 weeks, I finally walked for graduation and received my college degree.
I am strong because I carried our baby to 42 weeks. I am strong because I labored at home for 5 hours before I felt the urge to push.
I am strong because I pushed for 4 hours ignoring my gut feeling that something was wrong.
I am strong because I finally listened to my gut and asked to transfer to the hospital after realizing I was bleeding every time I pushed.
I am strong because I fought against my body to stop pushing during the car ride. I am strong because once I was in Labor and Delivery, they told me my cervix was extremely swollen and I was only dilated to 7.5.
I am strong because I continued to fight my body’s urge to push and breathed through every contraction until I was dilated to 9.5 and the Dr. said I could push.
I am strong because after just a few pushes, I delivered my baby boy. His cord was wrapped twice around his neck, once around his arm, and had his left hand pinned to his face.
I am strong because after I delivered his placenta, I hemorrhaged. My husband stood by my side and helped the Dr. externally massage my uterus to slow my bleeding.
I am strong because my bleeding stopped just on the brink of needing a blood transfusion. I am strong because I was given my newborn son and allowed to have unlimited skin to skin with him.
I am strong because after planning a home birth and an unplanned transfer I had an amazing hospital stay and wonderful nurses.
I am strong because I have 5 beautiful, healthy children and an amazing husband who made the transition from bachelor to full time Dad with complete ease. He works so hard every day to support our family so I can stay home and raise our children.
I am strong because I have overcome abuse from a young age and refuse to let the circle continue.
I am strong because I always have been. I just never realized how strong I truly was.