Sometimes I do wonder, 'Who knows what's yet to come?'

Magali’s family fell apart when her second baby was born: “I’m trying to find a new balance in a life I wasn’t prepared for”

“When we first broke up, there were times I heard a car outside and thought, ‘Maybe he has come back to say he’s changed his mind.’ I kept hoping that he’d realise what he was throwing away. That’s the hardest part, the loss of my family. I’ve not just lost my partner and husband, but the entire base is gone. In the beginning, I found it hard to enjoy my alone time with the kids, because I preferred parenting together. But now I feel like, ‘Okay, I can do this alone too.’ And I know that V and I are better off apart. I’ve seen such an awful side of him. I guess it goes both ways – we’ve long forgotten who we were when we were happy together.”
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Alicia is on a mission to share everything she's learned about motherhood

Alicia struggled with the emotions of a young mother, but consumed every bit of information out there: “Embracing all the changes make you feel better equipped”

“So many of us get caught up in choosing onesies or the colour of the baby room, but those things won’t help you after birth. Preparation will – that’s something a mother does for herself and benefits the baby too. I discovered the concept of ‘matrescence’, the transition from a woman to mother. For me, it felt like an identity crisis. I used to wear so many hats – ‘wife of’, ‘friend of’, ‘employee of’. All of a sudden, I was reduced to ‘mother of’, which was new, scary and at times uncomfortable. I couldn’t recognise my sporty, smart, supportive self anymore – she’d been replaced by an organic milk machine with greasy hair and painful hips. In the meantime, I’ve learned to embrace the change. The other versions of me haven’t died, they’re temporarily on hold.” 
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Veerle & Nicholas in front of the town hall of Seekonk, Massachusetts

Veerle saw her life transform within 6 months of moving to the US: “I make the most of every opportunity that crosses my path”

“It’s a warm, humid Wednesday afternoon in February. Nick and I are in a dense forest, part of a nature park in Florida. While we discuss the next steps of our business, I take in the countless shades of green and exotic palm trees surrounding us. Mere minutes ago, we ran into an alligator – which symbolises the life I’m currently leading: no day is ever the same. Even business meetings look nothing like the way they did before.”
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Ann and Mike in Berlin

Ann moved to Berlin for love and re-evaluated her career: “When you make plans, you’re often pushed into a different direction – one that might be better than what you had in mind”

”Almost a year in, Berlin has come to feel like home. The street scene is extremely diverse: you see women with half-bald skulls or green hair going for a run, or 50-year-old men with mohawks cruising by on their Harley Davidson bikes… Nothing is too crazy or too wild. I appreciate the freedom of possibilities that reigns here; all Berliners can be themselves. Due to the pandemic and lockdowns, I haven’t missed out on much in Belgium. I do miss my family and friends, but we call each other often – more than before. I used to believe I had to attend every event in order for my friendships to be strong. I’ve let that go: I realise it’s not the quantity, but the quality that determines how intense or deep my connections are. Nowadays I’m more focused on my priorities – the people and things that are important to me – and trust that the rest follows in due course.”
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Marie got married and divorced within a year

Marie got married and divorced within a year: “It’s a mark of shame I continue to bear”

“I’m staring at the floor while running my fingers over the softly faded cotton sheets of the hotel bed. Nothing feels familiar in this strange room, in this strange town, in this strange country. “Maybe we shouldn’t do this.” My voice sounds hoarse. As soon as my words land, she stops rummaging through her suitcase and turns around. Her face reads surprise. “You can’t be serious!” She gets up from the floor and shakes her head fiercely. “My entire family is here already.” I sit in silence. Hours later, while wearing a white dress and a pale face, I look her in the eye. I take a deep breath and hear myself quietly say “I do”. When I leave the city hall with a new civil status and a tight wedding ring, I shake ten pairs of hands. None are those of my family or friends. My marriage certificate reads the name of an old Danish lady who lends her signature to people like me – who are on their own.”
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