This is the first picture I have holding my son. It isn’t your typical post birth picture where the mom is glowing, dad is smiling, baby healthy and bundled up. Its a defeated dying mother holding a premature little baby, without a dad. R had attacked my sister when he was questioned about why I was throwing up blood for 5 days and he didn’t take me to a hospital for help. He was removed from the hospital. Nurses then saw the bruises on my arms, hips, and stomach. They put the pieces together and started investigating deeper for domestic violence. R was banned from returning to the hospital after my mom read through my cell phone finding the horrible life threats R had made. My family came to the realization that their daughter and only grandchild might not survive because of an abusive monster. Beau and I were put under secret names for our safety, completely off the hospital registry, and my room had been changed. My mom took this picture incase I didn’t survive so that my child had a picture with his mother holding him. This is the reality of domestic violence. I was getting transferred to a different hospital over an hour away from my child for more intensive care. I was expected to die. Domestic Violence doesn’t care who you are, where you come from, how much money you have, the color of your skin. It can happen to anyone. It breaks my heart that my mother had to think of taking this picture so that if I were to not wake up, my child had a memory with me. I feel horrible that my family had to endure the stress and heartbreak of my secret. I had carried it on my shoulders not wanting to burden anyone. I thought that I could handle it. As long as he only abused me and not my child it would be okay. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. There is this psychological hold our abusers have over us. I honestly thought that I deserved every attack. I did something wrong and he was punishing me for messing up. I thought that a “family” had to have two parents. I didn’t want my child to grow up with an absent father. I was so brainwashed to believing every negative thing R ever told me. I wasn’t going to be a good mother, I wasn’t a good girlfriend, I was stupid, ugly, worthless, a bitch. This picture represents the beginning of my journey. While it hurts me to see it, it makes me so proud. I am strong and healthy, My child is so happy, strong, and healthy. God saved me and sent be the best gift anyone can ever receive.