The tremendous Terri Lynn Casola and Parker (3.5). Terri and her sons father got married in November and found out they were pregnant just before Valentine's Day. She had ovary issues and expected to have a difficult time conceiving so the news came as quite a shock, though a happy one. Her pregnancy went very well without any hiccups along the way initially. At 30 weeks, she learned she had a hernia that was getting bigger and was given the option of repairing it then or having a cesarean birth when the time came to repair it simultaneously. Her son was due October 15th and she chose to have surgery at the beginning of July. All went well and she was put on bed rest until her due date. In early September, she realized she was leaking every time she stood up but her midwife reassured her it was likely nothing. When it was still happening a week later she decided to go in to have the fluid tested. Sure enough, it was amniotic fluid and she was sent right to the hospital. Parker was born 5 weeks early but all went well with a midwife facilitating his birth in hospital and a doula by her side.
Terri Lynn says it was after they had Parker that everything fell apart. Throughout the pregnancy, the support from her husband was okay but after about two months into parenthood she realized she was doing it all by herself. He had become complacent and unwilling to help and she was struggling. For about 6 months she took it upon herself to raise their son. During that time, the comments started - he told Terri Lynn she was broken after having their son. He would pinch her stomach and thighs and tell her she was fat and needed to be fixed because her body was ruined. She was told she was unattractive and he didn't want to be intimate with her anymore.
Terri says that she "only breastfed for 4.5 months" because she had to go back to work. Her job was to take care of someone else's home and someone else's children and while she was grateful to be able to take Parker along, she was working 60 hours a week and coming home to the degrading and hurtful behavior from her husband. She was exhausted and became incredibly depressed. It was all she could do to change her sons diaper, feed him and then she'd have to lie back on the couch. It got so bad that Terri was having suicidal thoughts and when she told her husband she was scared and needed help, he packed his bag and left her alone with Parker for the weekend. It was then she started to think about leaving to go back to her family where she had help.
Parker was about a year old when they formally separated and she moved back with her family. Following the separation there was still communication and as a young mother she was worried about being alone to provide for her son. She didn't have a job, she didn't graduate from college, she didn't feel she had anything in the world but her son. And all the while her sons father was telling her to come back, that he'd change, that he wanted to be with her and their child. So, she went back and over the next year they tried to make things work and even tried to have another baby. In March 2013, she found she was pregnant but lost the baby soon after.
Terri Lynn says her next breaking point was a night out when she hadn't realized how much he had to drink and he wouldn't give her the keys. As they drove, she realized he was drunk and they got into an argument and he tried several times to run them off the road. It was after that she left and has never looked back. She moved, has found a job, a counselor, and a boyfriend who have been very supportive. So much of the hurt and scars have been undone over the past year. Being a single mom is still a struggle but she says the struggle is more worth it when the alternative is daily abuse that could be passed along to her child.
Terri Lynn was terrified by the thought that if she left her husband she had to do it alone. When she left for the second time she realized that wasn't true. That there were people everywhere who were willing and wanting to help and she needed it. She wants to let other women know that above all else - they are not alone and they don't ever have to do it alone.