Stopping the Cycle of Abuse {I Am Strong}

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.

birth without fear
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.

family birth without fear
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.

bwf blog


  • Brandy

    Thank you- you are giving women sitting in those shoes being abused right now thinking they will never make it- that they can’t do it -that there is no light – YOU ARE PROVING THAT THERE IS… Your story is so personally inspiring I wanted to thank you for being brave to post… It is so difficult for any woman to leave it is even harder for mothers but few understand the the difficulty that comes with those that have larger families… It’s not just money but housing, cars, etf you suddenly have to figure out alone plus recover yourself while emotionally helping your children recover…

    You are an amazing woman- graduating, producing life on your terms, finding and succeeding at love!!! I for one look up to you – I hope I am as successful as you are…
    Thank you – I needed this model of strength.

  • Stacy

    This brought tears to my eyes!! You are SO strong and you should be SO proud of yourself! What a beautiful family and story to tell.

  • Lara

    Bravo! My hat goes off to you and your husband. Goes to prove you don’t need to let your circumstances or past govern you, nor do you need to allow people who call themselves “family” to stunt your happiness.

  • Helen

    I am at a loss for words… Amazing? Incredible? Inspiring? None seem enough… Such determination and courage at such a young age… Taking on the responsibility of a child who’s not your own at the age that you did? You are truly special. And your husband, embracing so many children not his own… Again, at a loss. You two are perfect for each other, and I hope you have a very very very happy, wonderful life together!

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