Prayers for Christa — A Tribute to a Shaken Baby Who Survived for 3 Years

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How I Responded to His Toxic Behavior

Instead of leaving, I was so brainwashed into thinking he loved me and wanted to work things out, that I married him not long after I found out I was pregnant. Now hear me out, it’s not like every single day and moment was bad, which is why I held on to the hope that he would change and that he would one day truly love and care for me. He was a good guy deep down, but most days his addiction took over and made him into a very scary and unpleasant person. Our daughter was born in November of 2014. I can remember on the day that was supposed to be a day full of love, I was filled with bitterness towards my husband because of his actions that day. I had a difficult time healing after giving birth, and I thank the Lord my mother was available to help me with my newborn baby. I moved back in with my mother and remember thinking to myself, “This can not be my life, this is not how it’s supposed to be.” Marriage and having a baby is supposed to be a sacred bond between the husband and wife, and I felt the opposite. I felt so alone those nights I would stay up taking care of our newborn by myself. I felt like a single mother even though I was married.

I remember feeling like all of my hopes and dreams for my life had died. I was 20 years old, pretty much raising a baby all on my own, living in a small room with my mom and, at the time, stepdad’s house. I eventually got a job as a caregiver even though it hurt my heart to have to leave my baby. My husband and I finally moved back in together after she was several months old, but the arguing continued. I felt like I was stuck, and that I loved my husband and couldn’t handle life as a single mom. I was living in denial. One day I came across an idea for myself to be able to make more money. I went to school to become a licensed massage therapist. I was working a 40-hour per week job and going to school full-time Monday through Friday. I worked 16-hour shifts on the weekend and one eight hour shift during the week. I was exhausted but determined to better my life. My friends knew something was going on in my life outside of school, but I was so ashamed that I kept most of it a secret. I didn’t even tell my mom most of the things that happened between my husband and I because I knew she would beg me to leave him, and I wasn’t ready to. I didn’t feel strong enough.

Time went on and I began working as a licensed massage therapist. My husband had been acting his worst at that time. Deep down I knew he was using drugs, but my heart didn’t want to admit it. I longed for things to work out between us, and for us to be a happy family. I would forgive so quickly and move on ignoring how badly my heart was aching. I was out of touch with reality because I refused to believe that he didn’t love me as much as I loved him. Finally, though, I came to a point where I said, “Enough is enough.” I left. I moved into my grandmother’s home. I told my husband that if he didn’t go to rehab, I would file for divorce. He went to rehab. After he was there for a week or so, I got very sick. I had a gut-wrenching feeling that I didn’t just have a stomach bug. I was right. I found out I was pregnant with our second child. I remember lying in bed crying for hours. I thought to myself, “I have to give this baby to someone who can care for him or her. I can not bring this child into this mess I am in. I have to choose adoption.” I was devastated. Time went on and I grew to love her. My husband spent around 90 days in rehab. The entire time I was left with almost no income. I held on to my last ounce of hope. I read so many marriage books and listened to advice on how to handle a situation like mine.

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