Note: The following piece is powerful and important - some may find it triggering.
It is a real story from a real survivor.
Since I’m wondering what I’m doing living with my mother - with 2 kids weeks before my 30th birthday after 10 years plus of independence, I figured I’d just type it out, just to try to make sense of it all.
So I guess I’ll start at the beginning. 6 years ago. A movie date. In hindsight, probably not the best choice but my radar wasn’t as finely tuned then and my standards weren’t the highest if I’m being honest. Just the existence of his wallet and a vehicle (with EZ pass, girl) made him seem like a catch. He was exciting. New. Mysterious. Which again, had my radar been a little better would have been alarming. But anyway...
It was alluring at the time. He lived an exciting life. Trips, parties, the High life. While I was living my regular little single mom life, working hard to provide a stable environment to my 2-year-old son. Just the fact that he was interested in such a life was incredible to me. It was casual at first. I had strict rules about who and what I allowed into my home because of my son. His father and I split while he was an infant and we had a good but brittle co-parenting relationship. I wasn’t ready to expose him to...anything, really. Let alone this man that I barely knew anything about. Come to think of it, though, NO One knew anything about him. Everyone knew him. But didn’t KNOW him. He was “private”. But again...would later find out the better term was “secretive”. But I was hooked.
And he appeared to be equally smitten. First respecting, then overcoming my strict rules about interacting with my son. Spending time...even if it was a quick “hi” on the back porch. As cliche as it sounds...our relationship blossomed. The sex was amazing, the home cooked meals served adoringly and the nights turned to days turned to weeks. And then we were “a thing”. But he wasn’t ready to give up ALL of his vices. The traveling and partying with his semi famous bestie, but somehow that little bit of unavailability added to the allure. For the most part we had a functional relationship.
I let him in. I think I knew I was a goner when I was attempting to potty train my son-unsuccessfully. HE got him trained. I trusted him with my most cherished possession with the most private task possible. And he nailed it.
He became controlling possessive-but in little ways that aren’t so little in hindsight, but at the time I liked them. He did things like copied MY house keys and reorganized my closet making room for his belongings... both without any preceding discussion. The 2017 me asks “aren’t these things we should have a conversation about first (and besides Mom would kill me if I gave out her house key)” but 2011 me thought it was endearing and showed how much he desperately wanted to be with me.
We talked of our family life and adding to it, promptly picked out a cute little house for rent and in the process of moving got a positive pregnancy test. We were over the moon, ecstatic! I went to the Doctor for the routine 8 week work up. “Something is off...maybe your dates”, the doctor said. She decided to order an ultrasound to get a better look, which only confirmed there was an underdeveloped sac in my uterus, a blighted ovum. No baby, and in the most scientific delivery possible, the Doctor said, “you can expect what feels like a painful period and then it will be over”. I was devastated, more than I thought possible considering I never met this “tiny life”. I felt silly because I only learned of what I thought was going to be our baby weeks ago and there I was, on the floor of my Doctors office feeling like the wind had been knocked out of me. And it had. I was completely unraveling and there was no sign of saving me. But he saw this and immediately sprang into action to comfort and console. He spent the entire day catering to my every want and need, making sure I was comfortable, full, and distracted by all my favorite movies. We spent the day on the couch, just being.
But then night came and he became ... well, weird. His behavior changed a bit, almost distant, and he said he was going to shower. I assumed he was just getting ready for bed, until he began picking out and comparing outfits. I asked where he was going, and this familiar question received an even more familiar response; “out”. Now I was trained to not ask questions ... don’t ask the details of “out” because I trusted him, and if I trust him why does he need to explain himself? He’s a grown ass man (duh!). But considering the circumstances my curious mind wanted to know where could be more important than home with me taking in our loss. Wrong question to ask and it brought out a side of him that I never saw coming.
He became enraged. He began screaming at me, pinned me down on the couch calling me an insecure bitch, spitting on me as the words flew out of his mouth. Now, my standards might’ve been low(ish) but I’ve never been one to take shit. So I shouted right back that I didn’t think leaving me alone through this was fair, and that earned me the first (of many) smacks to the face. I collapsed. I couldn’t believe after the day we had, clinging to each other over our shared devastation, this was happening. Who was he? Who did he become?
Immediately he stopped himself and fell to the ground hugging me, apologizing repeatedly and promising it will never happen again. Once I was calm, because that was what his touch had always provided, he slowly disappeared out of sight. Next thing I knew he had picked me up, slowly and intimately undressed and kissed me, then placed me in a warm bubble bath, continuing with his apologies. I ate them all up. I thought the miscarriage caused him to lose control, this was a new type of stress for us and we didn’t know how to deal, surely this won’t happen again. He loves me, he’s sorry. And before the tub was empty, he was “out”.
This became a cycle. Another positive pregnancy test. Another miscarriage. Another beating. Or was it the other way around? It was a blur, it’s hard to say which of the two came first. We were hosting a Labor Day barbecue and by the end of the day I was a bleeding, sobbing mess on my bathroom floor, another miscarriage. He was supportive, then distant, then violent and back again. But, as always he roped me back in. I couldn’t resist him, I really didn’t want to. And before we knew it I was pregnant again, almost immediately. I was cautiously optimistic as the days, then weeks passed by. Finally I was in the clear, out of the first trimester and moving smoothly along to the second. Excitement was setting in.
13 weeks and 4 days. I planned a dinner with an old friend...without permission. He had reached a new level of “controlling”, choosing my friends for me. My closest ones either barely made or didn’t make the cut at all, and he had even taken it a step further and hand selected who it was acceptable for me to associate with. The friend I planned to have dinner with was not on that list. 13 weeks 4 days, and he flew into a rage after I found the keys that he hid to prevent me from leaving the house. He chased me outside the house barefoot in the middle of January and grabbed me with both arms around my waist yanking me back into the house. He entwined my hair around his hand to drag me and slammed me into any available surface-walls, doors, floors, then wrapped his hands around my throat, giving me a case of laryngitis...or severed vocal chords ... either one. My voice didn’t return for 6 months.
I never made it to dinner that night. And I didn’t make it to an obstetrician for another 3 weeks for a scheduled ultrasound. My baby was dead. The one that stuck around until the second trimester. That magical place where the threat of miscarriage drops to less than 10%. The one that had a 90 or better percent chance of being born healthy. My second son. Dead. That dinner was supposed to happen at 13 weeks 4 days. Estimated time of fetal demise? My Doctor said 13 weeks 5 days.
One would think this was enough for me to run. Right? I had my son to think about. Eventually he would notice Mommy’s bruises and busted lips, and the screaming at night was bound to start waking him up. Maybe not though. I was able to convince coworkers the bruises were from a new blood disorder, and besides I did bruise easy, he never meant to hurt me. I convinced myself it wasn’t that bad, and we could work through it. It just continued to get worse.
Two months later despite my better judgement (there goes my weak radar again) we were still together, walking on eggshells clinging to yet another pregnancy. By now I was scared ... of him, of my body, of the unknown. I was just frail, not myself anymore. I loved him and wanted him, but I also started wanting ME back. After another series of arguments resulting in strangulation, smacking, spitting, slamming, death threats...the list really just goes on; I felt my pregnancy symptoms fade. Little by little I felt less and less nausea and since I was an expert at this I knew I should still have symptoms at 11 weeks 3 days. I drove myself crazy until I was sitting in my doctor’s office begging for an ultrasound. I never told her of the abuse, just said I was worried because of the previous unexplained miscarriages and to just please please please check. She was a saint. With a sigh she grabbed the Fetal Heart Doppler and started searching for my baby’s heartbeat...and found nothing. After 5 minutes of repositioning and then reapplying she called down to imaging and got me in. She knew. As soon as the ultrasound technician got a clear picture she turned the screen away from my view. She wouldn’t answer my questions. She had tears in her eyes, this was her 5th time going through this with me. The doctor confirmed another miscarriage.
I was inconsolable. Another baby...gone? But was this a sign? Were we just not meant to be? How does this happen? Maybe this was my way out of the relationship. Along with the sadness came some new, unfamiliar feelings. Relief. Then guilt. Because that’s NOT how losing my 5th unborn child should feel. But that’s what I felt. Relieved.
In contrast, he finally broke. He was devastated. This one brought him to his knees. He sobbed uncontrollably, demanded answers as to how or why this could possibly happen to us again, insisted we didn’t deserve this type of torture. Fast forward to a few days later. The day of my d&c. Outpatient procedure scheduled for a first thing in the morning. This meant a 6am arrival which required early morning childcare. While getting ready, my son mentioned wanting to bring his pillow with him to go back to sleep at the babysitters. For some reason he opposed. At this point I was seriously wallowing in my own despair and barely holding it together but I needed to maintain some sense of peace for my son, and since the rest of my life was so far out of my control, I was determined to at LEAST control this. My son, my rules; the fucking pillow was packed. I got my son settled on the sitter’s couch (with his damn pillow) and kissing him goodbye, I made my way back to the car. It was like walking the green mile. For multiple reasons. I knew he was seething that I opposed him, and by now the abuse was so routine so I knew what to expect, but I figured considering the circumstances, I’d get a pass this time. Wrong. As soon as I strapped my seatbelt he whipped his hand around my neck and slammed my head into his car window, twice. We drove in silence on the way to the hospital. When we arrived I told him to just drop me off at the entrance. I wanted out, I needed out.
I suppose we didn’t have enough going on, you know with the abuse and miscarriages and now him totally resenting my son due to the loss of his own(s), not that my son wanted anything to do with him now. Adding to that we had some uninvited guests in our already failing relationship. Infidelities. Plural. Checking his phone had pretty much become a part of my daily routine. Well, seek and you shall find right? He insisted that the conversation I read was actually from when his best friends phone died and he had lent him his for a couple hours. Riiiight. Around my sons 5th Birthday I told him to pack his shit and leave, this wasn’t going to work, he’s not what I want. I’m afraid of him and so is my son. Well, not exactly like that. I took the cowards way out-understandably. I asked for space, mostly blamed the miscarriages. The whole “It’s not you, it’s me” thing. It worked, for the most part.
That was December. I made it through the holidays and around Valentine’s Day, he started contacting me again. He was sorry, he acknowledged his wrong doings, opened up about the miscarriages, pressure from his job. I resisted, because the cheating was something my pride doesn’t let me tolerate. The abuse I could take, but not another woman (women), which of course he continued to deny. But once he said he wanted to be with my son and I whether we could have a baby or not my guard was right back down and he was back in. I agreed to a date after talking on the phone and texting for a couple weeks. Sure enough, by mid-March we were just about in full swing. We were starting over and doing it right this time. He was once again the man he was when we first started dating! Who am I kidding?! He was better. He turned on all the charms to win me back, and I couldn’t be happier.
After a few months of what appeared to be him proving to have legitimately changed, we were living together again. I was also (surprise) pregnant again-this time with twins. This was our blessing. I always believed that everything happens for a reason and God obviously handed us that platter of disaster to strengthen us and finally he’s giving us what we deserved.
Or maybe he was just giving me what I deserved after taking this dude back time and time again. Cramping and Bleeding, heavily, in my first trimester caused panic. A 6th miscarriage, just when things were going well??? He was distraught, we both were. But an ultrasound the next morning confirmed 1 very strong heart beat still present. Baby 2 did not make it through the first trimester. Maybe it was natural selection, the weaker baby-which is common. It could have been my body rejecting him or her. Or maybe it was the beating that came when I asked why his ex was FaceTiming his work phone that was kept locked in his car. I guess we will never know. (yes I DID say things were going well...it could be worse, other people have it worse I’d always tell myself). What I did know is that I was ecstatic to still be pregnant, but nervous that it was only a matter of time before the other baby “disappeared” because I knew I’d do something to set him off. After all of the loss I experienced, I needed this baby. But I was petrified of him, of my body, of the cycle.
The pregnancy progressed and so did we. Family and date nights became a regular occurrence, there were no fights to speak of, and he was just about flying home to be with us by the end of his work days. Things were what should be considered “normal”. The further along the pregnancy progressed the stronger our connection became. I started second guessing the problems in our relationship, blaming myself for all of our previous fights. With his help, I convinced myself that my insecurities stressed him to the max and pushed him away causing such a volatile climate. But hold up, this man was actively cheating and had the nerve to say I was insecure ... and my actions drove him to the above...I digress. At the time, I ate it up.
Our relationship reached a new level of comfort. We had never been more bonded to one another. He was even mentioning marriage and all the ways he’d profess his love for me at our wedding. It was basketball season so he had to work late...a lot. The kids and I made our expected appearances at his games. Really just making our presence known since he was too “private” to do so himself.
In spite of many complications and concerns, 40 weeks of fear, we gave birth to a perfect, healthy daughter. He was elated and we quickly outgrew our house. Shortly after my daughter was born we upgraded to a beautiful home in a suburban neighborhood. This allowed more space for the kids to play, a humongous yard and best of all a better school district for my son who was starting 2nd grade. Image was everything to him and we looked good. Perfect home and family, gainful employment, we should’ve been all set. Then some familiar unpleasantries started to pop up. Basketball season required late nights, which I understood. But basketball season ended and his late nights didn’t. As any exhausted mom would, I pointed out his absence and requested more help around the house and with the kids. I’ll let you guess what his response to that was. At one point he tackled my tiny frame onto my daughter’s pack and play, bending the metal bar with my back and then proceeded to shake and strangle me until I was choking on blood from the tooth that cut through my lip. I needed stitches but I didn’t go. How could I explain that? My entire body was covered in bruises, my lip doubled in size, and more red fingerprints stained around my neck. When asked what happened, I said I slipped getting out of the shower. My stories weren’t even believable.
We were both too stubborn to walk away. I think we might’ve believed that finally having a child together meant we needed to “work through our issues”- issues being infidelity and abuse, neither of which he was showing signs of slowing or stopping. There was enough space between his attacks for me to regroup, blame myself for saying or doing something I shouldn’t have, and convince myself that if I changed my behavior, his organically would too. The more I silenced myself in search of what he wanted me to become the more comfortable he was overpowering my being. I became a shadow of who I was before him, before this.
I guess a month or so had passed before I got the nerve to ask another touchy question ... (it’s alarming to think of how much I accepted then to avoid a fight). After a trip through his text messages, I asked exactly who was supposed to be reporting to his office to be bent over his desk. It was terribly confusing since the messages appeared to be from his best friend, but of course, when I dialed the number it was not his voice that I got. “She” wouldn’t give her name but was terribly sorry, that he told her we hadn’t been together since before the baby. In our 5 years together this is the first time I actually caught him. Any other time was hearsay and he had an arsenal of excuses that I mostly believed (I had to for my sanity). This time there was hard evidence. No denying it. No excuses. He cheated. I confronted him with the question of “who” and began to tear apart his closet, removing as much of his clothing and shoes from the closet as I could. While doing this I talked the most shit, calling him every type of bitch that existed. Talked about how he was gonna get the fuck up out of my house TONIGHT, even if we went half on bills now...I put down the $4k to move in (draining my entire paltry retirement savings). Having his clothes out of the closet wasn’t enough. I began cutting zippers out of pants ... they were of no use to him anyway, snipped the tongues out of his shoes, then I took my pile of liberation and began chucking everything neatly(ish) across our beautifully manicured lawn. This obviously sent him over the edge. Gripping my throat he single-handedly tossed me back into the house and onto the floor, climbed on top of me, pinning me down and strangling me. All I heard him keep saying was that I was going to die tonight. I was convinced I was. All of this commotion woke my daughter.
My son was at his dads so I figured once I got my daughter settled and back to sleep we would finish what had just started. As I sat on the couch with my daughter he started going off about not leaving and paying bills too. I wasn’t budging, cheating is my limit and working it out was a definite no. I was positive I was done. My response was simple. I reiterated that he needed to go, I was sorry about his clothes and shoes but he just couldn’t be here anymore. I wasn’t nice about it, I also wasn’t sad about it and I wanted him out. Well that wasn’t an option, he informed me that he wasn’t leaving and that we’d fix it now or die together. These were the threats that didn’t scare me, they should’ve considering how many times I could’ve died in the course of being strangled or having my head slammed into windows, walls, doors etc., but they didn’t. I don’t fully remember what happened leading up to him running and grabbing the knife but before I could move he was there pointing it at me. This was different. He never got this close to me with a knife, and I’m holding our daughter. I immediately realized he was in a new space, one we hadn’t reached before. He had the sharp of the knife pushing into my bellybutton, I started begging, pleading with him to stop, promised to drop it and pretend it never happened. With a look I’ve never seen before he cocked back and plunge.
Somehow I miraculously blocked the knife from penetrating my stomach with the hand not holding my daughter. Blood was spraying everywhere and began steadily pumping out, he had sliced through my middle finger right down to the bone. He was in shock, just stood there holding the knife. Not me, I immediately began instructing him to get a kitchen towel to apply pressure to the wound, and to call 911 because I could see my bone and blood was pumping out so quickly I was afraid he pierced a vein. Once he called 911 I told him to hurry up and grab some Clorox wipes to clean up the blood spatter. I wiped the blood off my daughter’s forehead while she sat on my lap. She didn’t cry, just watched. I had already called my best friend, I needed someone to sit with my daughter while I went to the hospital. She should be here in a few. I made sure he knew that the story was, “I was washing our new knife set”. Clearly that explains why the entire knife set had toppled over, spread across the entire counter and floor.
The ambulance located .5 miles away was taking longer than expected. I asked him to call back because my hand was going numb. He said they’d be there and just kept muttering about what happened to HIM- “I’m going to jail, my life is over ... why would you grab the knife?!.”- Well no, you aren’t going to jail. I’d have to actually be smart enough to press charges, and I grabbed the knife? Why did I grab the knife? Did I do this?! All serious questions I was asking myself. I called 911 back and the dispatcher said they never got a call. Never. Got. A. Call. He never called, staged an entire call to 911. Good Lord I swore I was going to die. He must’ve called my daughters God parents (these were people that I grew to love but were from his side) because they showed up right after my friend and the EMT’s. It was obvious I needed stitches and my friend agreed to take me to avoid running up a bill I couldn’t pay with the ambulance. He snuck out right behind the EMT’s, my daughter’s god parents stayed with my daughter, and off to the hospital we went. The whole drive there I was sick, completely disheveled, shaking and shivering over everything that just transpired.
Lying to the hospital staff in front of my friend was especially difficult. I routinely lied to her about the source of all the bruises and fat lips, not that she’d ask. We’d known each other since we were kids, so she knew I wasn’t nervously biting my lip to the point it swelled as I told her I had, and she also knew there was no blood disorder to speak of. If anything this confirmed all that she had mentally questioned before and I knew that. We didn’t speak about it. But I was finally done with him so I didn’t need to hide this from her. She even went along with my lie about washing the new knife set, not that anyone believed it. This was too fucked up to fix.
14 hours later he was back home. I didn’t even resist. I needed him to be sorry, for the cheat(s) more than anything. I thought the more resiliency I showed to his violence, the more he’d understand how unconditionally I loved him. Sticking around through that was how I showed him my dedication, my unwavering love. I would love him through this pain until it didn’t hurt anymore. I accepted all the apologies and even offered my own. After all, I was the one that grabbed the knife, he wasn’t REALLY going to stab me, right? We were “fine” for about a week and then things really started to unravel. Well they continued to, rather, just more aggressively, I guess.
Conversation was strained to the point of almost nonexistence. For the most part we didn’t talk at all unless we happened to be in the house at the same time and even then it was just a quick, “can you sit with the baby” or “your plate is in the microwave” (yes I was still feeding him, I just wanted shit to be “normal” again). Text updates, check-ins and quick “hi” phone calls stopped entirely. Somehow I was clinging to him more than I ever had. I still craved and even begged for his attention. It was sick-almost like an addiction. A habit I couldn’t (wouldn’t) kick. We still pretended to enjoy sex with one another but I usually had other things on my mind the whole time. Little things like where exactly his dick spent its time during the day, who the woman was that he was bending over his desk, was he even there with me or was he fantasizing about “her”-or even worse a different “her”. Still, I refused to let this fail.
By this time things, had come to a boil with my son and he began confiding in his school social worker-a nice lady working in a very suburban (translation: with almost no racial diversity) school. She called me a couple times with concerns (most of which she had likely never encountered, but secretly expected from us), all of which I brushed off as him being a sensitive kid and not liking or understanding even the slightest conflict. I described the conditions in my home as minor and being addressed, knowing full well they weren’t. Back then I thought my son was oblivious to what was happening-at least that’s what I told myself. He was only 4... (then 5 and 6). But ushering him into his room right before I tasted blood wasn’t protecting him from anything. I know he heard the screaming and house shaking. He wasn’t oblivious at all. I was making MYSELF oblivious to his awareness. He’s always been smart, curious and intuitive. Of course he knew. I am just now imagining how afraid he must have been. He began talking about God. Saying prayers. Having nightmares. Well, shit, he was living a nightmare. It’s so hard for me to realize how terrified he must have been with visions of his mother dying constantly in his head. I didn’t protect him. My one job as his mother was making my son feel safe. And I was failing miserably.
The phone calls from the school happened more frequently and it terrified me. I had no choice but to admit to some of the accusations, letting the social worker know things were indeed out of hand but that I was working on alternate living arrangements. Either he was leaving or I was leaving and I’d update soon. He decided he was staying put, so I started apartment hunting. I called and saw a few, but then my daughters God mother let me know about an apartment I could get into within the next week. Out of courtesy I’d let him know I found something-even though it wasn’t yet solidified. Maybe this was when he’d be sorry, and really mean it. This is when we would fix things, right before we lose it all. He was non-plussed. He acted like I told him the sun came out that day. Unaffected. I was disappointed at his lack of reaction and then disgusted with myself at how pathetic I became. All of my happiness and security was dependent on him. Not myself or my accomplishments, not my two beautiful children but this man who didn’t value an ounce of my being.
On Black Friday I planned to drop the kids off at daycare and get some shopping done. Before leaving the house, I had made arrangements to meet with the new landlord. I guess his lack of reaction at the initial mention of moving out was him calling my bluff. He knew me well enough to know that when I mentioned it before I was just testing the waters, but the fact that I was really taking action and going through with this threw him off. I loaded the kids up in the car and was in the process of strapping my daughter in when he jumped into the driver’s seat and put the car in reverse, stomping on the gas. I was barely able to make it into the car and shut the door before he took off down our driveway. He was yelling that we were all going to die together, I tried pleading with him while holding on to both of my screaming babies. I sneak texted
one of my closest friends and told her what was happening, gave her my location and asked her to please be on alert. I told him the cops were on their way. They weren’t, of course as I instructed my friend not to call and I knew she wouldn’t. Somehow I was still protecting him while he was driving maniacally and threatening me and my children’s lives. Remembering and retelling this story, I hate that version of myself, she was weak and pathetic. Finally the car was stopped in our driveway and he got out of the car without a word. I couldn’t move. I just sat in the backseat hugging my babies. My son was shaking, this had to end now.
But of course it wouldn’t. He emerged from the house with a knife to his own neck, standing in the doorway of the garage. Crying and saying he would stab himself in the neck if I broke up our family. Because obviously I was the one who broke up our family. Not the man who barely acknowledged my existence since he got caught cheating, who only touched me sexually or violently but no longer intimately, who resented my first child and took away 6 of my babies. It was all my fault. And he was going to kill himself if I left. Truth be told, he was going to kill me if I stayed … and if he didn’t I might’ve done it myself. I reached a new low the time I considered starting the car and not opening the garage door. I was tired. Not just energy drained tired. I was physically, mentally and emotionally mangled and I reached my “enough is enough”. The only way I could be what my children needed was to force myself out of this miserable and dangerous cycle. I left, mostly because I knew without question my son was going to report that whole incident to his school and my children would’ve surely been ripped from their home. I was not providing a safe living environment. That fear saved us. Good parents make better decisions than I was, and I wanted to be a great parent. We left and never looked back. It’s been 362 days since I signed a lease and fled. A couple of affordable apartments in very undesirable neighborhoods failed for various reasons and here I am, back at my mom’s house. Reflecting, counting my blessings that we survived this ordeal and eating a serious slice of humble pie. We are continuing to work on co-parenting our daughter, and have made strides but still have a long way to go. He doesn’t quite get the concept but we will get there. Thanks to my unrelenting (read: foolish) love, his life and career remained unharmed and unchanged, and he has even had some new successes as there are no police reports detailing any of our past. I, on the contrary am beginning the difficult process of rebuilding mine and my children’s shattered lives from the ground up. Changed careers, learned and began changing things about myself, raised my fucking standards for men, reestablished some sort of trust and normalcy for my son, set some goals for myself and wrote my story.
If given the opportunity, I’m sure he would tell a very different tale. He wouldn’t tell of the beatings, only of my insane jealousy, my desperation to keep him home at all times, the times I’d block the door to keep him from leaving and he had no choice but to defend himself, the times I packed his clothes up after he “fell asleep at his moms” or some other fantasy he would try to feed me. And it’d be true. Because I was a fighter. And I was fighting for us. I was fighting for his love. I was fighting to NOT be what we were. What I was. It’s funny how there are so many different versions of the truth. My version includes scars-both physical and emotional, falsified medical records, and dead babies, though. This is MY truth.