I was born in San Antonio, Texas to a woman who was said to be my mother. She did in fact give birth to me but she proved it was possible for a woman to not to have the “motherly Instinct.” I don’t remember ever getting a single hug and kiss from her. I always assumed it had something to do with her childhood and how she was raised and the trials she went thought prior to motherhood … but I’m not really for sure.
I didn’t have much of family growing up. It was just my sister and I. My mother worked a lot and was hardly home. When I was really young and when she was home more, it was never a good thing. By the age of 5, I had been abused physically, sexually and emotionally and ended up placed in a children’s shelter because I had witnessed a horrific incident. Life only got harder the night we were taken away. I had witnessed my mother in a drunken rage almost kill two woman in a black-out right before my eyes.
The first few nights in the children’s shelter were scary for me. I wouldn’t talk to anyone nor would I eat. I was eventually placed in a foster home which surprisingly was the woman my mother attacked. The court ordered my mother to do multiple things before she could get custody of my sister and I back.
Years later I was released to live back with my mom. She was clean and sober but still I feared her. Family counseling was the routine for the next 2 ½ years but it never did much and I barely spoke. I was too afraid to say the wrong thing. It may have sparked flashbacks I would have from earlier in my childhood. If a memory would ever pop up, I usually was quick to stuff it back down but I started to think about them more and even question them. They never made sense to me so I asked my mother about a few ….
One was me walking the streets in nothing but a diaper or pull-up, dirty, no shoes and scratching my head because I had lice. I remember only being 2 or 3 and we were homeless, walking the streets. Then there were the “other” flashbacks I would have … the sexual abuse from someone outside the family. I would never speak to anyone about that, I was too ashamed of it.
I started dating around the age of eleven or twelve. I experimented with sex at a young age for all the wrong reasons. I was pregnant at 16 years old. The whole reason of HOW I got pregnant is kind of long but basically I was getting revenge on a cheating boyfriend of mine so I had a momentarily lapse of judgment and got with his best friend to hurt my boyfriend. Complicated right?
A few months later I kept getting sick and the father of my son would joke and say you’re pregnant. I never wanted to believe it but it turned out to be true. I was labeled all these horrible names by many people. I was terrified. Once my mom found out I was homeless pretty quick. I ended up getting kicked out of school because I was already several grades behind. The pregnancy was considered high risk so I spent a lot of time at the hospital. I had no where else to go so soon after I was living with the father of my son until we both ended up homeless. We tried staying with friends when we could but it was a constant struggle. I remember not having anything to eat for three days during that pregnancy.
A month before my son was born we managed to get an apartment and get the basics of a crib and my bed. I almost died giving birth but so thankful to God I’m still alive. My family wouldn’t speak to me except for my grandma. My relationship with the father of my baby was good for a while. We even had another child with our third on the way, but slowly things would turn ugly. Emotionally, mentally, and physically we abused each other.
I fell into a deep depression. It seemed that every event in my life that I had tucked away was finding any way it could to come back out. I felt constantly attacked by my thoughts and memories. My (common-law) husband would tell me hurtful and awful things all the time. It was a crazy cycle of us breaking up and then getting back together … until the last time. We got into a huge fight that ended really bad. He pulled a knife on me and then put it on himself. T That night I lost everything my apartment, my job, my belongings, everything I had worked for. My kids and I drove off in the back of a police car. Luckily no one died that night.
I met April one day and she introduced me to Embrace Grace. I had been struggling with night terrors and battling extreme anxiety. I did not have a good prognosis on my pregnancy and I was told I would die if I gave birth by my doctor. I struggled with deep depression and had so much fear in my heart.
The first class Embrace Grace class I came to, I was nervous and unsure of the whole thing. I heard some stories from some of the girls and realized that I do have some things in common with some of them. I realized the entire events in my life that I have spoke of and the events not even mentioned clearly had a purpose. God had been there the whole time. He never left my side. I saw how He was there for me throughout it all. That one class changed my life. That night I gave my life to God. When I left I had no fear in my heart, only love and joy. I cried in my car for a little while by myself, not sad tears but happy ones. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to complete all of the classes due to moving away temporarily but the best thing of it all is what I learned and how only one class opened my eyes to the bigger picture and how much God truly loves me. Women who didn’t even know me, encouraged me and assured me of my future.
It’s such a beautiful thing just to have support and hear it’s going to be okay and not be judged. Now I just started attending Embrace Love and I couldn’t be happier. I am so thankful that I am a part of this group and church. It’s really amazing. I know God has a plan and purpose for me. Thank you Amy for not forgetting me and April for introducing me to this great class.
Written by Mercy Lauriano