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Life WAS GOOD!! Barely 18 years old, I had my own place, a great job, many friends (YEAH), and I had met my PRINCE CHARMING! He was handsome, attentive, romantic, and he swept me right off my feet! We were engaged to be married before I knew it.

   He proposed to me in a nightclub we used to go to all the time. We knew everyone there, including the DJ; he dedicated a slow song to me and we danced. When the song ended, the crowd parted and a spotlight shown brightly upon US, he got down on bended knee right there in front of hundreds of people and asked me to marry him. How could I say ‘no‘? He was, after all, the man of my dreams.

   Very shortly after the engagement, I learned that I was pregnant, so we married right away and settled into our 2 bedroom apartment awaiting our bundle of joy.

   That’s when tragedy struck. I delivered a stillborn. This devistated me and sent me through a tailspin of emotions that led to another depression...more severe than I had ever felt before. I couldn’t go anywhere, see or talk to anyone. I couln’t even watch television as every time I would see a child or a baby I would begin to cry uncontrollably.

   My doctor advised me to get pregnant again right away as the stillborn was a result of a cord incident (choking) and not anything to do with my ability to carry and deliver a baby, that is what I did. Within six months time I was expecting my oldest daughter.

   But it was too late. My marriage was already over. Turns out that sometimes Prince Charming is only charming when times are GOOD. He wasn’t able to handle my depression and he, too, changed...BIG TIME! It started out slow; he was less and less attentive and gone a lot more. I began not to trust him, and with good reason as I would later learn that he had been cheating on me. Verbal abuse escalated into physical abuse and became and almost daily occurance.

   Five years and two beautiful daughters later, I finally said ‘enough is enough’ and took my kids and left. I was so sick by this point that I had lost so much weight I think I weighed about 80 pounds or so and it was all I could do to take care of my girls, let alone myself.

   I had no choice but to stay with my parents, so my kids and I moved in there and I worked nights and stayed up days and took care of my kids. LORD knows I didn’t want them to do it. I would put them to bed and then leave for work at night.

   Then, as usual, another bomb fell. After our first custody hearing in court, he was awarded temporary custody of my children on the grounds that I was mentally unstable at the time! WHAT??? HE WAS THE ONE WHO DROVE ME INSANE THIS TIME TO BEGIN WITH AND THEY ARE GOING TO INTRUST THE CARE OF MY CHILDREN TO HIM????

   The real kicker was the way I found out. I left for work one night and came back to kiss them, and they were gone! He had brought the police and his temporary custody papers to my parents home while I was at work and taken them!

   I WAS FLOORED TO SAY THE LEAST!!! This time, however, instead of crumbling to the floor like a wilting flower, GOD gave me the strength I needed to FIGHT!! THE WAR WAS ON!

   So who won this battle? Stay tuned for Part III


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