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Signs You Are In An Abusive Relationship

Posted by Live Love Mom on January 7, 2021 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)
by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Whether you are reading this because you want to know whether you are in an abusive relationship or not, it's always good to be informed and aware. Feel free to link this to your loved one if you've noticed some disturbing behavior from their partner. Remember, your health and wellbeing comes before anyone else's. If you are being harmed or are unhappy in any way, you have every right to leave that situation no matter what. You are a free person and no one can force you to do things you don't want to do. 

Here are the different types of abuse listed by category.




Financial abuse can rear it's ugly head in many different forms. If you have an income, whether it's welfare or from working, there are ways your partner can use this to abuse you. The partner may demand to know your bank card number and pin, and change it without your consent. They may demand your online banking password and change that as well. Spending your money without your consent is also financial abuse, and so is stealing your money. What some partners will do is keep their victim's money for themselves. Sometimes, the abuser will give their victims an ''allowance'' off of the victim's own salary. More often than not, this amount is barely enough, or not enough, to cover the very basic expenses of life. Abusers use money to control their victims and to keep them from leaving. 

If you don't have an income, your abuser will withhold money from you. They will refuse to spend money on food for you, or to share what they bought with you, such as hygeine products, clothes or food. When you are married, you are considered under your spouses's charge and care, and it is expected that they provide for your needs. They accepted that fact when they married you, there is no excuse to cause such gross neglect. Abusers even do this to their children, confiscating their earnings, stealing their money or withholding them from the basic neccessities of life. It's cruel and is absolutely abuse.



Physical Abuse is the most commonly recognized form of abuse. Abusers will strike, punch, hit, kick, shove, push, or throw their victims. They can go even further and stab, strangle, or break limbs. They can attack and beat their victims, their children, or their pets, even their family members or friends. This is the abuser wanting to exert control over their victims. They want to scare their victims so they are too afraid to leave. The abusers want their victims to do exactly what they tell them to, and use threats and violence to get their way. 

Physical abusers are getting smarter. They assault their victims in places that is usually hidden with clothing. If their victims often wear bikinis, they will strike their victim's buttocks and demand that their victim wear a full buttocks-covering for a bikini bottom. They can stab or punch in the head which is hidden under the hair. They can bite, scratch, twist, pinch, poke, or do anything that is harmful to their victim. To keep their victim with them, they will apologize and offer gifts and say they will change and go to anger management or therapy. This is all lies and when their partner takes them back, they begin the assault again. The cycle continues. Abusers go so far as to kill their victims, and beatings get worse one after another. It causes lifelong damage and even paralysis.



Mental Abuse often consists of gas-lighting, accusations, lying, deflective, defensive behavior. People nowadays call this ''mind games''. Abusers will often put their victims through a series of ''tests'' to prove their love, devotion or loyalty to their abuser. Abusers do this to make themselves feel superior to their victims. They can also invent scenarios they say happened, or will happen, when it never did. They can put you in a false sense of danger, such as lying about being in a gang and that a rival gang has a price on the abuser's head. The abuser can threaten that their friends or family would harm their victim. They yell at their victim in front of everyone, wanting to create a reputation that their victim is not a good partner. They threaten to ruin their victim's reputation and spread rumors about them. They get a thrill out of watching the mental anguish this causes their victim. They want their victim to seem like the ''bad guy'', and the abuser wants pity and sympathy from others. This may be a way to destroy their victim's confidence so that it makes the victim believe that police would never believe that the abuser is abusive or did anything bad. 



Psychological Abuse is one of the unseen forms of abuse. It often consists of threats or any attempts to frighten, isolate or control the victim. It's also called emotional abuse or verbal abuse. This includes verbal aggression, intimidation, manipulation, and humiliation. Most of the time, this form of abuse unfolds as a pattern of behavior over time who's aim is to destroy another person's sense of dignity, identity, self esteem and self worth. Victims often end up with anxiety disorders as they are subjected to this trauma.

Often the abuser belittles and insults their victim. They say these insults often so that the victim will start believing them. They say that no one else will ever love the victim, or that they are not worthy or deserving of love, or anything else that they need or want. It's truly soul-crushing.



Spiritual Abuse, also known as religious abuse, is when an abuser prevents his victim from practicing their religion. The abuser stops the victim from going to their place of worship or speak with any members of their clergy. They will mock the religion and it's customs and practices to make their victim feel ashamed to do anything spiritual or religious in front of the abuser, or at all. The abuser will impose their beliefs on the victim and may force the victim to participate in the abuser's own religion or spirituality, knowing full well the victim doesn't believe in it. They can prevent their victim from speaking about their religion or spirituality, performing prayers or rituals, and even force-feed their victims when they are practicing religious fasting. They can sabotage their victim's plans to go on a pilgrimmage, visit a holy place or even attend their confirmation, baptism or ba(r) mitzvah. Abusers know that worshippers can claim sanctuary or go to a faith-run shelter if they want to flee the relationship. This is their way of cutting off their victims' ties to further trap them into a relationship with the abuser.


Freedom of religion is a basic human right. To be deprived of one of the basic ways one can express themselves and devotion to their dieties or ancestors is horrible. If you recognize anything in this text, you are being abused.


Cultural Abuse is when an abuser prevents their victim from participating in their own culture. For example, Native American children were forced to wear colonist's clothing and not permitted to paint their faces, speak their native language and their hair was cut short despite the cultural significance of their long hair. Even to this day, people demand that immigrants speak the nation's official language in public, and not their own native tongue. Abusers will also prevent victims from celebrating cultural holidays such as Cinco de Mayo, Dio de los Muertos, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, or anything else that is important to the victim. Abusers will do everything to prevent their victims from getting tribal tattoos as pacific islanders do, to get piercings like certain tribes do, or even very modern and basic things like breastfeeding and baby-wearing the victim's own child. 

Often cultural abusers will force people who are not of their own culture to assimilate. They will try to wipe out their victim's culture and heritage and prevent the victims from repeating this. If they have children together, the abuser may even lie to children saying their victim parent does not come from that place, and prevent that parent from reciting cultural tales, songs or rites. 



Sexual Abuse can come in many forms. The abuser sexually abuses their victim when they sexually harrass their victim, molest, rape, or traffick them. This includes genital mutilation such as amputating the clitoris, sewing the vagina shut, castrating or amputation of the penis and forced sterilization or pregnancy and birth. This is one of the most sadistic forms of abuse. Centuries ago when people were forced into slavery, the abusers would force their victims to have sex with each other, even their own family members in order to cause pregnancies to make more victims of slavery. It's where the term ''mother-fucker'' comes from.


The abuser can also purposefully withhold sex from their partner as a form of punishment, reprimand, discipline, or a way to control their victim. This is often a form of manipulation to get their victim to do what the abuser wants. The abuser may also spread false information and rumors about the victim's sexual talents or body to ensure no one else will desire their victim. Abusers can also infect victims with STIs on purpose to trap that person. They can also lie about their own sexual health in order to more easily infect their victim. Abusers can also wear a condom during sex, but then secretly remove it without the other person's knowledge or consent. All of these and more are forms of sexual abuse.



Do any of these behaviors or actions sound familiar? Then, unfortulately you are in an abusive relationship. Pack a few things and get out of there as soon as you can. You deserve better, and you are worth more, and you are loved.


I Stand With You

Posted by Live Love Mom on June 1, 2020 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (4)

by: Stephanie McEndree




I can't imagine what mothers of children of color are feeling right now. Can you imagine being afraid every day for your child to die? Can you fathom a world where unarmed people of color are shot and killed in their own homes? Can you imagine that the very people you call to help you, those who are supposed to serve and protect you from harm, end up killing you, a family member, a friend? Can you imagine hundreds of years of racism, and even during these times where people are realizing they were wrong in different aspects of prejudice, people of color are still facing racism so bad it's deadly? Can you imagine seeing the police as judge, jury and executioner as they gun down innocent black chilldren, men and women? Can you imagine these people being put on paid leave and temporary suspension, if any? This is the world we live in.


The only way I can possibly relate is to try to imagine what mothers of color are going through. But the fact of the matter is, I will never understand. No white person ever will, because we are born with a privilege. It's not right, and it's not fair. However, we need to use this privilege to stand up for and protect for our black brothers and sisters. We need to speak up because their voices aren't being listened to. We need to make sure their voices are heard. We need to do absolutely everything we can to protect them. 


Here is what you can do to help. Please add to this list in the comments if I have forgotten anything.


Join the protests. Peacefully join protests. Carry signs, join chants, walk. Stand in protest. Show you support the black community. Show that you are not okay with the deaths of innocent black children and adults. Show you are against police brutality.


Assist them. Form a human chain around them with others. Protect people of color. Especially during the protests, stand between them and the police. Do not let any harm come to them. The police will not use accessive force against you, especially if you are unarmed. 


Record it. If you see a person of color being mistreated, pull out your phone and start recording. Yell at the police officer or whoever is attacking them, to stop. Call attention to this mistreatment. Don't let them get away with it. File a complaint. Even if the cops tell you to stop recording and are being forceful, keep recording. You can pretend to stop recording and put your camera down, but have it still pointing to the abuse if you can. If not, at least keep it going so sound is still recorded.


Protests have been the peaceful way for centuries to show opposition against unfair policies. One of the most famous ones are the Boston Tea Party, and also Martin Luther King Jr's marches, and Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat for a white man. 


To every person of color out there, I am with you. I support you. None of you deserve to die. What happened was wrong. I stand with you.

How To Socialize During COVID-19

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 19, 2020 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree



It's harder now than ever to socialize with people during the coronavirus pandemic. Plenty of people, especially extroverts, are finding these times trying and very difficult. Without further ado, here is how you can keep connected with your friends during COVID-19.


Social media. Scroll facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, pinterest, and whatever social media accounts you have. You can keep up with your friends and how they're doing by reading their posts. You can also like their posts and comment on them to let them know you're thinking of them. For those who are anti-social or introverts, this can be the best way to reach out to your loved ones without being emotionally overwhelmed.


Online games. There are plenty of games out there where you can socialize with your friends, loved ones and even strangers. There are plenty of games on social media you can play with someone else. You can also get involved with more complexity such as MMORPGs. They are computer role playing games and are very popular. You can also bust out your PS4, or your Xbox or whichever gaming platform you own and start a friendly game. 


Video calls. Zoom, Skype, Facebook or more can be used to video call with your loved ones. You can do it either through your phone or on a computer. For computers, make sure you have a mic and a webcam so you can effectively communicate. Be sure you also have a good internet connection or the video will cut out a lot.


Emails. For the more old-fashioned people and for those who have elderly friends or who aren't used to the whold fuss about social media, emailing can be a familiar platform for communication. Send emails back and fourth and it can be as quick as instant messaging. 


Instant Messaging. Also known as IM, this is found virtually on every social media platform. You can IM on yahoo, google talk, facebook, pinterest, tumblr, instagram, twitter and more. Just make sure the both of you are online and start chatting! 


Phone calls. Scroll your phone and find the phone numbers of people you would like to talk to. Call them and if they don't pick up, leave a nice message. It's especially important during these times to check in on our elderly friends and family. Call your grandparents, your neighbors, your great-aunts and uncles. You can even offer to get them some groceries at the same time as your own to save them the trouble. Not sure what to talk about? Talk about current events, the weather, whatever you can think of!


Letters. For those special friends who live across the ocean, or even someone who enjoys recieving mail, write a hand-written letter. If you don't like your handwriting or it isn't legible, type up a letter and print it. Be sure you know the person's address so you can mail it to the right place. 


Have any other ideas? Comment below!

Put Your Kids Before Your Marriage, Here's Why

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 11, 2020 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (6)



I have heard and seen over and over on social media, the phrase ''put your marriage first always'', and to put their kids in second place. Having been raised in that exact environment, I have to wholeheartily and completely disagree.


As some of you know, I am no longer with my children's father. The relationship was toxic, and I am very thankful that I ended up out of it. If I had stayed in that relationship and stuck to the ''put your relationship first'', then I would maybe still be with him. I would have taught my children that it's okay to stay in a relationship you are unhappy in, and that it's okay to be mistreated by someone. They would have learned that this is how you treat someone that you love, and it would have reflected on their future relationships. Growing up in a toxic environment like that is good for no one, especially the children. Can you imagine growing up in a place where it's tense in the air, mommy is crying, and daddy is yelling? It's not something I wanted for my children, nor for myself. They say, happy mom, happy baby. So I did what I had to do, and I let go for good.


Now, having grown up in an area where my parents prioritized their marriage, I felt second-best during my highest moments. My dad made it clear that my mom was more important to him than me, his own flesh and blood. I remember crying to my grandmother about it. I remember feeling like, no matter what anyone did or what happened, they would stay together. And I was right.


My father started hitting me. My mom, prioritizing her marriage over her kids, stayed in the marriage that entire time. She never left him, she never called therapists or child protective services for help, never even came to comfort me when he was done. She just let it happen. It has affected me very negatively. I harbor a lot of anger not only against my father, but against my mother for not protecting me or leaving. She should have taken me and left. But she loved him too much, and was financially dependent on him. And she learned to put her marriage before anything because in the end, when the kids left the nest, she probably didn't want to be alone. She probably figured she was spending the rest of her life with my father, not me. 


Now as women we are raised that divorce is for losers, that we have to stay in a marriage no matter what. We are accused of not trying hard enough, of giving up too easily, that we should stay for the good of the children. As women are raised and conditioned to believe that being married and staying married is the ultimate goal, men are getting better and better at hiding their abusive tendencies. They wait until after the wedding to show signs of abuse, or they wait until the woman is pregnant, or he has alienated her family and her friends away so she is isolated and completely dependent on him. It's a gradual process, and it is a vicious circle. Women who have been raised in an abusive household will more than likely end up with someone toxic.


I decided to break the cycle. I want better for my children, and I will keep that mentality the rest of my life. Because in the end, could you live with your children hating you? Your children will most likely outlive your spouse, and they are the ones who will take care of you when you get old. They are all that will be left of you when you are gone. Do you really want to send them out into the world with emotional baggage already? You can get a new lover or partner anytime, but you can never replace your child. 


My advice to you, as someone who was raised in an abusive household and someone who had children with someone that was abusive towards me; put your kids first. At the first sign of foul play towards you or your children, run and never look back. Do it for yourself as well as your kids. You and your children deserve to be loved, happy, and most of all safe. Make the right decision.



How To Save Money During COVID-19

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)
by: Stephanie McEndree



With businesses shutting down, many people are getting laid off, losing their jobs and put on unemployment or welfare, money has become tight. It has thousands of families re-visiting their budgets and wondering how they will make ends meet. Rainy-day funds won't last forever, and savings accounts will be drained, it's all a matter of time. So how can you cut down on your expenses to last as long as possible during this outbreak? Here are ways you can save hundreds of dollars by changing your lifestyle and cutting back.

Compare prices. Go to the dollar store and compare prices with your grocery store, and it's very likely lots of the items at the dollar store come cheaper. Buy every low-priced item you need at the dollar store. Whatever you can't get, go get at the grocery store.

Discount and surplus stores. There are even discount and surplus stores for groceries! Shop there when you can't get your groceries at the dollar store to get the most bang out of your buck. If you also need some clothes, be sure to go to a discount store and second-hand stores.

Use your reserves. Got canned goods and your freezer is full? Time to dig in. Frozen goods and even canned goods all expire eventually, and it's time to get through those foods. You won't need to go to the grocery store for a while, which will also prevent you from catching an illness.

Get it cheap. Focus on buying foods that are cheaper for now, such as pastas, ramen and chili. This too shall pass, but for a few weeks it can't hurt to go back to the basics. Also, get no-name brands or off-brand items. They may taste different than what you're used to, but the lowered cost at the cash register is sure to put a smile on your face.

Get multiple use objects. To cut down on costs, get 2-in-1 items. For example, get a bottle that is both shampoo and soap. This will avoid you from getting two different containers, hiking up the cost. It's also time for your kids to graduate to adult shampoo and body wash. It's less expensive and more efficient for cleaning. This goes for clothes too. Get reversible coats if you need a new one, a shawl you can use as a scarf, a hair brush with a comb, etc. 

Hang your laundry. Stop using your dryer and hang your clothes to air-dry them either around the house, outside on a clothes line, or both. This saves a valuable amount of energy and can cut your electric bill.

Have shorter showers. If you can go every other day, do that too. Some people in extremely tight monetarial situations lather up their bodies and hair with soap and shampoo, then turn on the shower to rinse off, and they're done. Use lukewarm water if you can, especially with the weather getting warmer. For baths, fill it up just enough to cover your legs, or your kid's legs. Bathe your kids together if they are young enough so you can save on water. 

Turn down the heat. With the weather getting warmer, you don't need your heater set up so high. Even lowering it by a couple of degrees will save you some money you can put elsewhere. If you get too cold, bundle up in your favorite sweater, thermals, or cuddle up under some blankets. 

Brick it. Put a brick in the water tank in your toilet. This reduces the amount of water that your tank pulls in, reducing your overall water bill. When money is tight, every penny counts.

Lay off staff. If you have services at home such as a nanny, cleaning lady, cook or babysitter, it's time to let them go. You can clean your own home and watch your own children. Note: if you have a nurse or home health care aide, it's recommended you keep them on unless you have a trained family member who can care for you. Speak to your doctor about any changes.

Re-think your packages. Call your phone, cable and internet companies and get rid of any extras you have that you don't need. You don't need your house phone if you have your cell phones, and if you have internet on your cell phones you don't need internet at home. You can always do this as a last resort, but if it's between these bills and homelessness then it's best to cut it out until things return to normal.

Reuse. Whenever possible, reuse items. Don't throw away some scrap paper or cardboard, keep it so the kids can cut it, paste it, paint it or color on it. Keep them busy and make this a cool indoor vacation time for them at the same time, without costing you supplies. It also cuts down on the electric bill as they're crafting and not watching TV.

Shut off the lights. When you're not in a room, close the lights. During the day, open your blinds and curtains and let the natural light in. Unless you have rooms with no windows, there is no need for lights during the day. Only turn on the lights at night and if you really need it. If you have more than one light in a room, use only one. 

Eat fresh first. It's important you eat all of the fresh food in your fridge before it goes bad, so it doesn't go to waste. Eat all of your fresh food before you open any non-perishable goods, even if you have to have salad for several days in a row.

Wear it twice. You don't have to change your pants or sweatshirt every day if they're clean. Wear them again so you can save on laundry and water costs and energy.

Shave it off. To remove costs of shampoo altogether, as well as beard oils, just shave your hair off. This works great for men who aren't particularly attached to their hair or beards. Use battery-powered clippers if you already have them as they don't cost you anything in the electric bill. For just a bit of stubble, use some razors.

Have any more ideas? Comment below!

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To My Ex: Coparent With Me

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)
by: Melinda Humpherys


To my child's father:

I wish you would look past my flaws and stop bringing them up. Ever since the day our son was born, it stopped being about you and me. It became all about our little boy, and we no longer mattered.

Yes, you and I didn't last and we broke up. But we still made a child together. We need to work together to parent that little boy, because that is what's best for him. Our son deserves both of his parents.

I want you to know I never wanted this for us. I never imagined our son would have two homes, two toothbrushes, two bedrooms, two birthdays, two sets of clothes and toys. I thought you and I would be together forever. I don't know how our breakup will affect him, but I hope it will have no impact since we broke up before he was born. At the same time, it's important that we come up with a parenting plan together. 

Our son is a smart, lively little boy. He loves to play and he loves to laugh and he eats a lot. He is getting so big. These years are the most precious for any child and we need to treat them as such. No matter what happened in the past, we need to stand together now. We need to be on the same team for our son. I know you love him as much as I do, so we need to do this for him.

To my ex, I know you don't like me. I know you harbor some hard feelings about us breaking up. I know you don't feel comfortable about my husband being around our son. But remember, you have a wife too and she is around our son all the time. I wish you would give me the same respect as I give your wife. Our son has four adults that love him so much. The more love, the better in my opinion. He has a dad, a step-dad, a mom and a step-mom. He is one lucky kid to have so many people he can fall back on and can take care of him.

I know you feel your position as father threatened because our son has a step-dad. I want to let you know that you will always be our son's father, just like I will always be his mother. Nothing can ever change that. In the end, our son needs everyone to get along to be happy. It's better we split up then stay in a relationship that we were both unhappy in. I don't want that for him, to learn to stay in an unhappy relationship. i know you don't want that either.

So let's come together and give our son the best childhood he can have. Let's spoil our little boy and shower him with love and affection. Let's offer him stability and comfort so he can feel secure in this big world. Let's have him feel safe and loved no matter what. Let's come together, for our son.

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To Those Who Shame Pregnant Women For Her Belly Size

Posted by Live Love Mom on August 15, 2019 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree


You who sees a pregnant woman’s belly…be careful what you say.

 

You don’t know what situation the woman is in. Don’t touch her belly without permission, especially if she’s a stranger. Don’t ask personal questions. It’s none of your business.

 

Imagine how heartbreaking and uncomfortable it is for a mother to answer to these questions when she’s experienced a loss.

 

“Is this your first pregnancy?” a stranger asks to the woman who had a miscarriage the previous pregnancy. What does she say? Does she lie, in order to avoid more personal questions and the awkward silence that would inevitably follow the truth? Or does she tell the truth, only to risk the person saying something furthermore insulting?

 

“Are you nervous about the birth?” asks an aquaintance, to the expecting mother of a stillborn baby. How does she put into words the mind-shattering pain and crippling anxiety that history will repeat itself?

 

“Is this your first child?” a passerby can ask a pregnant woman, who’s last child died in infancy. Does she say yes to brush off following questions? Does she say no and endure the painful subsequent inquiries?

 

These are dilemmas that no one should have to face.

 

Please be considerate when you see a pregnant woman. Feel free to appreciate the budding new life in private, or just say a polite “congratulations”. It’s safer to offer compliments than to ask lots of questions. In fact, just that small gesture of appreciation can make a swollen, nauseous, sweaty, bloated, hormonal, pregnant woman’s day.


 

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You Still Haunt Me

Posted by Live Love Mom on June 7, 2017 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree


A woman is raped every 6 minutes. This statistic is according to only reported rapes, which is 36%. Often, women are shamed, told they deserved it, they had it coming, that they caused it. Victim-blaming is incredibly real. Even when the rapist is found guilty or pleads guilty, people say it was consentual, that she changed her mind, that she regretted it, that she’s lying. The fact is that these victim-blamers are probably unwilling to wrap their heads around the fact that the world can be a cold, cruel place and someone they know can be a monster. They choose to stay ignorant, stay in the dark, to keep themselves sheltered from reality. In doing so, they further destroy the victim…and this is not alright.

 

Sentences for rapists are increasingly lesser, and more and more are getting away with it. Many sex-offender registries no longer have the person hold lifelong registry requirements. Many rapists get off on probation, having never seen jailtime.

 

In retrospect, what message are we sending to our daughters? That even if you report your rape, your rapist will most likely escape justice? What message are we sending to our sons? That you can rape, because society will shame the victim and you will get away with it?

 

Rape itself can have women confused, if it was actually rape. People’s individual definitions vary, but what matters is the legal point of view. Here are some (BUT NOT ALL!) situations where the law deems it rape:

 

You were forced or intimidated to have or endure intercourse.

You were forced or intimidated to have or endure unwanted actions such as oral stimulation, manual stimulation, or sodomy.

Someone committed actions on your body of a private nature while you were asleep.

Someone committed private actions on your body while you were drunk or high.

Someone committed private actions on your body, and you are disabled.

You were touched and penetrated with someone’s sex, hands, mouth or a foreign object without your consent.

You consented to sex, then withdrew your consent or told the partner to stop, and they continued.

You consented to sex, and said no to a particular sexual activity, and they do that activity anyhow.

You are a minor and the other person is of age.


The person that had “sex” with you is in a position of power over you, such as a teacher and you’re a student, a prison employee and you’re an inmate, a higher ranking military person, etc.


A family member sexually assaults you.

If your friend, family member or yourself have been raped, here are the steps to take.

 

Call the police. They will likely tell you to go to the police station and file a report, which is highly recommended that you do.

Do not shower, do not brush your teeth, do not even wash your hands.

Do not change clothes, but pack a change of clothes. The clothes worn while the rape was happening, will be examined for evidence.

Go to the hospital. A rape-kit can be performed that collects evidence against the rapist, that can help jail them.

Have photos taken of your injuries.

Rape has devistating concequences, no matter the age. No matter the punishment or justice to the rapist, the victim has the short end of the stick. (S)he has to live with the flashbacks, the memories, and the feelings of violation, disgust, and fear for the rest of their lives. It can affect their love lives, their sex lives, even their interpersonal relationships. Rape ends lives. Some are murdered after or before a rape, some commit suicide after being raped, and all of the time the person who they were before the rape dies.

 

A rape takes away your security, your feeling of safety. It removes your confidence, murders your ability to trust. No matter who it is that raped you, you feel dirty. You blame yourself, you wonder if you could have done anything differently that would have prevented this. It’s a living nightmare. No one deserves this. No one ever will.


 

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Mastitis

Posted by Live Love Mom on May 30, 2016 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree


It’s not fun. It’s red, bloody, and gross. It makes you feel like you have a horrible case of the flu. It often also involves clogs. Ladies; I am here to talk about surviving mastitis.

 

Symptoms:

 

Breast tenderness or warmth to touch.

Generally not feeling well

Swelling of the breasts.

Pain or a burning sensation continuously or during breastfeeding.

Redness of the skin, often in a pattern wedge.

Fever of 101 F (38.3 C) or more.

A painful, hard mass

Pus oozing from the affected area or nipple

Milk clots or clogged milk ducts

 


I personally am on my last round of antibiotics for the worst case of mastitis that I have ever had. I was fortunate enough to never have it with my first child. With my second, I narrowly missed mastitis when my baby was a few days old, by pumping and expressing around the clock and massaging as well. This time however, I woke up with it.


 

At 5 am I was shivering, and I had a painful lump in my breast. Turns out I had a fever of 103. I tried the usual tips for clogs: massaging, pumping, expressing. Nothing worked, so I tried a hot shower and pressing hard with rolled up towels, and there I saw it. Proof that I had an infection. I looked it up online, and everything pointed to mastitis. The redness was begining, and I knew I had to get seen fast. So I went to the hospital and got it looked at.


 

The doctor I saw wasn’t the smartest. As told by subsequent doctors, he should have given me IV antibiotics. Instead, I was poked and prodded twice in each arm until they finally got a blood sample and an IV of sterile saltwater in. I was hydrated, and then told that my white blood cell count was at over 19,000 and that my fever was confirmed, with elevated blood pressure. I was prescribed oral antibiotics and told to come in the next day.


 

When I returned, my infection was worse. The redness had spread from the top to the bottom of my breast. I showed this to the doctor, who immediately administered IV antibiotics, and was incredulous that this hadn’t been done yesterday. I was prescribed stronger antibiotics and sent up for an emergency ultrasound. An abscess was confirmed. Keep in mind that I went to the hospital the same day that my symptoms arose, so imagine if I had waited any longer!


 

A surgeon came in and prodded a needle into my abscess five different times. All she could get out was air, but since she punctured the abscess, it became smaller since it started spreading. I was told to come back to take a look at it in two days, to see if I would need emergency surgery to get the abscess removed.


 

Two days later, I see another doctor. She sees that the swelling and redness has gone down and my fever is gone. She says the abscess seems smaller, so it must be draining on its own. She sends me home with a prescription of the antibiotics for 10 more days.


 

As I went home I had to pump more often than usual, and hot showers helped. I found out after pumping after a hot shower, there were two clogs that came out that I didn’t even know were there. I mention this because after a hot shower, expressing and pumping was made easier and more helpful, so I highly recommend it. Blood came out into my milk as well, so that was a surprise. Turns out it’s also due in part to the mastitis.


 

So there you have it; my mastitis survival story. The lesson I want you to take from this, is that the moment you believe you have mastitis, to get medical attention immediately. Mastitis is fatal in countries in Africa when left untreated. It is a serious condition that can get very ugly very fast. Had I not gone in when I did, I would have most likely needed surgery. Word to the wise: listen to your body, call your doctor if you’re unsure, and when all else fails, seek medical attention.


 

Prevention tips:

 

Wear a bra that isn’t too tight.

Don’t sleep on your belly as this can compress your milk ducts and cause clogs which can lead to mastitis.

Nurse and/or pump often

Don’t go too long between nursing/expressing

Wear loose clothing, never too tight around the chest

Eat well to help your body stay healthy

Get plenty of rest to keep your immune system boosted


 

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My Mom Has Cancer

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2016 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie Noircent


Never in a million years, did I ever think that I would be in this position.

 

How can you ever prepare yourself for this? How could you ever see these things coming? How can you ever even fathom how to accept it?

 

Just a few short weeks ago, I got the devastating news: my mother has cancer. A lot of questions sprung up after those words were spoken. What type? What stage? What’s the plan? So far, there are very little answers, but what we do know is that she has Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

 

This is a cancer that I have never heard of before. My mom found out she had cancer from a biopsy done on a mass in her tongue. Reading up on SCC, Mayo Clinic states that SCC is a type of skin cancer. Interestingly enough, my grandmother was diagnosed with skin cancer before christmas of last year, and my great-grandfather had lung cancer. Of course, this raises a scary question…is it genetic? Could I have a higher chance of getting cancer? Or worse….could my children have a high chance of having it?

 

When thoughts start to spiral this way, it’s important to try to block the flow of these thoughts. I tell myself, we don’t know much yet, there is no point in stressing about this. Surely, answers will arise in the future. Right now, all that I know is that my mother has cancer, and I need to be there for her. I want to be there for her.

 

You see, my mom is a survivor. No one has necessarily led an easy life, but I like to think of my mom as a phoenix who rose out of the ashes. She is an amazing, selfless person. She single-handedly reconnected two branches of our family tree by doing tireless research to find them, and by reaching out and finding them. Now, we have plenty of cousing that we know about, and love! She even went so far as to dig through old photos and clean them up with photoshop, to give her first cousin a photo of her when she was a baby, which is what my cousin has always wanted. There were many happy tears shed!

 

This of course, goes without mentioning the fact that she survived my terrible teenage years and morally supported me throughout my teens and adulthood. Even now, she continues to be a ray of sunshine in my life. She would do anything for the people she loves. She has truly evolved, become very open-minded and accepting when others of her generation would balk.

 

So many horrible people in the world…and my mother is the one that ends up with cancer.

 

It’s so unfair.

 

Treatment against this cancer is planned, and all I can do right now is cross my fingers. I do worry. I mean, how can you not worry when you find out that your mom has cancer?

 

She is strong, kind, and determined. She has a family that loves her, and friends who adore her. If this had to happen to my mom, at least she has an amazing support system to get her through it.

 

She’s spent so many decades taking care of other people. Now it’s time that we take care of her.

 

I love you, mom. ❤


 

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What Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger

Posted by Live Love Mom on February 3, 2015 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree


It is a very real situation. It can happen to anyone. Sadly, it most often happens to women who have been abused as a child. Some realize, that no one has loved them without abusing them. Therefore, they inadvertantly see abuse as a show of love. This is ingrained into their brains at an extremely young age, so it is nearly impossible to break this chain. One in every three women will be abused at some point in her life. These are disturbing, and staggaring odds. However, not only women get abused. Men get abused as well, and are shamed to keep it a secret.

 

Abuse comes in many forms.

 

Physical abuse. This type of abuse is when physical harm is inflicted upon you and your body. This can be hitting, punching, shoving, slapping, pinching, grabbing, throwing and more. Throwing objects at you is also a type of physical abuse.

Psychological and mental abuse. This is when the person uses psychological and mental ways to abuse you. This can include gaslighting (making you believe that what you heard/saw isn’t what you actually heard/saw), destroying your property, threats, intimidation, and more. This can also include forcing the victim to cut off contact and stay away from their own family members and friends, isolating the victim so they rely wholly on the abuser so the victim cannot leave, claiming they “know you better than you know yourself” and saying you are something that you’re not, etc. Psychological abusers also isolate you further by telling your friends and family lies about you. They will tell anyone and everyone lies about you to guarentee your isolation. If someone defends you or refuses to believe the abuser, the abuser writes them off as insane and more. They can also force you to eat too much and stop working out to destroy your self-esteem and insinuate self-disgust and hate. One of the most common forms of this, is invalidating thoughts and feelings. This can lead someone to question their own feelings, if they are logical, if they are real, and makes for a warped sense of reality. This is an extremely dangerous side effect of abuse.

Emotional abuse. This is when someone purposefully hurts your feelings, makes you angry, or does things to trigger depression in order to control you or punish you. This includes cheating, kidnapping your children, making advances on family members, spreading rumors, etc.

Cultural abuse. This is when a person prevents you from being your culture or doing cultural things, or forces you to stop or to change cultures.

Verbal abuse. This includes name-calling, threats, intimidation, instilling fear in you that if you don’t do as they say you’ll come to harm,

Spiritual abuse. This form of abuse is when someone prevents you from practicing, associating with, or being your religion or spirituality, or going to related events, worship and prayer.

Sexual abuse. This includes but is not limited to; groping, molestation, unwanted touching, intimidating you to not refuse, rape, raping while unconscious (includes sleeping and being drunk, high or otherwise inebriated), grabbing, sexual harrassment, making you do sexual things you do not want to do, using intimidation and guilt to force you to make them orgasm, and more.

Neglect. This can include someone ignoring you for days, weeks, months, even years on end, locking you indoors so you cannot go grocery shopping to provide for yourself, not caring for you when you are disabled or unable to care for yourself when they agreed to, keeping you from taking basic care of yourself like showering, starving you, etc.

Financial abuse. This is when you are not given access to the money you make, or are refused funds needed to take care of yourself or pay your bills. It can also be when someone forces you to stay home and not get a job, or prevents you from working, so you have no financial freedom, therefore no way to escape.

Abuse can cause countless mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and even more if committed while the person is still a child. The child’s brain wires itself to accept this behavior as normal, in order to survive. However concequently, the child will be unable to form healthy relationships in the future.

 

I am sad to say that I have experienced abuse in all of these categories. It can destroy you beyond repair. Finding a normal, SAFE relationship is a challenge for years afterwards. It’s traumatizing going through this, and is almost impossible to break free. But, you must. Go to a shelter if you have nowhere else to go. It can save your life.


 

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