My story... part 1
Who the heck am I?
Well, my name is Nicole Brazzale, formerly Nicole MacLeod. I’m turning 29 years old in a couple weeks. I’m a mom to an almost 10 year old boy. I recently married the man of my dreams and we just moved to a brand new city (for me) to help my Mother in law.
I’m a fitness and nutrition coach for women. My mission is to help women live their best lives, on their own terms. I believe in creating a lifestyle that you love.
My journey began 10 years ago, when I found out I was pregnant at 18. It was unexpected, as you can imagine, given my age. I literally saw my life flash before my eyes when that pee test said positive.
I remember the fear like it was yesterday. I remember automatically thinking I couldn’t do it, that we couldn’t do it. I was still living at home, my parents were paying for college! The father and I had been on and off again for a couple years leading up to this point.
But, my boyfriend was elated, he said all the right things…
“We’ll be a family! Everything will be great!”
So I went with it, I started getting excited.
Then I had to tell my parents. I didn’t expect their reaction; I had always had a really great relationship with my parents, so when they responded with anger, I was taken aback. My mom told me she couldn’t stand behind my decision and she barely said anything to me for the next 9 months. My dad stood by his wife, as you do in a marriage, and I went through my pregnancy without much support.
I tried to appease my mom by looking at all my options. We went to our family doctor and she remarked “kids having kids” while handing me a pamphlet for the Women’s Clinic, on all the options available to me. I went to the clinic and spoke to a counsellor about abortion, but knew in my heart I couldn’t do it. I had committed at this point and I see things through.
The next 9 months were challenging. Aside from my friends, and the father when he felt like it, I had no support. I had no idea what I was doing and I was terrified.
Finally my son was born, my parents came around and fell in love with my son, things seemed like they were getting better, except now I was a mom and that comes with it’s own set of challenges.
My life wasn’t my own anymore, it was constant feedings, diaper changes, cuddling, comforting, and the father wasn’t much help. I was up every two hours to feed my son; I remember vividly one night being so incredibly tired, that I woke up to my sons cries, went the couch, whipped out my boob, and couldn’t figure out why he hadn’t stopped crying- only to realize I hadn’t gotten him from his crib.
Moms, I know you feel me here.
The day my son turned one month old I found out that my boyfriend had cheated on me, when I was pregnant. His way of saying sorry was leaving me with our one month old son while he spent the night at his friends house.
I remember crying on the floor in my sons room, not knowing what to do. I had convinced myself that I couldn’t be a single mom, that my son needed his dad in his life, that I wasn’t capable of doing anything on my own.
I forgave him.
I tried so hard to make our relationship work. I would have dinner ready when he got home, I tried to keep the house clean, and I tried to dress up in sexy clothes for him, only to be shot down. I felt like shit about my postpartum body, felt like I would never be pretty enough or good enough. My self esteem sunk so low that I ordered diet pills off the internet (I didn’t take them, I was afraid they would kill me and I needed to stay alive for my son... I can be a bit dramatic sometimes).
Six months later he broke up with me, went to stay with his friend, and left me alone to take care of our son.
I started talking to other people, which he wasn’t okay with. Apparently if he couldn't have me, no one could... even though he was the one always breaking up with me.
He came home one day, threw his keys across the kitchen, shattering a glass, while my son and I sat in the living room. He proceeded to kick a hole in our bedroom door, destroy our coffee table, and punch a hole in the bathroom wall, all while screaming nasty things at me. He finally left me “for good”. Left me with rent to cover and damages to fix.
Thank God for amazing people in this world. My landlady was one of those amazing people; she offered to watch my son while I figured things out and she let me break my lease early without charging me a dime.
My parents took us in and my mom watched my son while I found full time work. I will be forever grateful for those months with them.
The crazy thing with domestic abuse, is that it’s always a cycle.
My ex came back around apologizing, saying how much he regretted what had happened, and how much he loved me and our son. He proposed to me and told me that he had changed.
I was still convinced at this point that I couldn’t be a single mom, that my son needed a dad in his life, and that I couldn’t do it on my own.
So I took him back, and we moved in together again.
It was a couple months before things went sideways again. He was out of town for work, and I started realizing how much easier life was without him around. My son and I had the best time together, we had an awesome routine, and there wasn’t any negativity in our house.
He came back one day and told me he didn’t love me anymore.
I didn’t cry this time. I told him that this was the last time we were breaking up, there wouldn’t be another chance, I was tired of the back and forth.
He went back out of town the next day and I felt incredibly free. Sad, but free.
Little did I know, this was only the beginning of the most challenging and traumatic time of my life…
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, please seek help. I know how scary and lonely it is, but I promise you you are not alone, and there is help for you. If you live in BC you can find more information here.