So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

I am an avowed true crime junkie and I am not ashamed to say it. Give me all the true crime podcasts, Investigation Discovery shows and Dateline episodes. For whatever reason (and much to my husband’s chagrin), I AM HERE FOR ALL OF IT. So naturally, when I heard Netflix had a documentary coming out about the horrific 2018 murder of Shanann Watts, her unborn child and her two daughters at the hands of her husband, Chris, I did what crime junkies do. I set a reminder, poured myself a cup of coffee and turned it on at 7:15 a.m. the morning it appeared on my Netflix feed.

The Shanann Watts documentary is extremely unique: it is made up entirely of social media video clips, police interrogation and body cam footage, and home videos.

There are no formal interviews at all. It is as if you are watching the drama play out as a physical bystander. It is powerful, shocking, and most of all, deeply tragic. The emotions as I watched Shannan, Bella, and CeCe’s story turned very, very heavy. I wanted to understand how this seemingly perfect family could have imploded the way it did. How could a man kill his own children with his own hands?  

The documentary did not bring me any understanding. Shanann had painted a very rosy picture of their family life with her social media posts, and I don’t think anyone could have seen the murders coming.

But a social media post published after the documentary aired shed some light on how these things can and do happen, and they are really not rare.

According to a viral post by Facebook user Jessica Angelica, Shanann is one of three women killed every single day in the United States by a romantic partner. Pregnancy adds another risk factor: homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women, followed by heart disease. 

Did you know that? I didn’t.

RELATED: Silence Fuels Domestic Violence, So I’m Speaking Up

Jessica Angelica’s post on signs of domestic violence is now going viral, and for good reason. While she notes that Chris and Shanann Watts’ relationship does not appear to have been affected by any of these factors, I believe it honors Shanann and her children’s memories to share them as Jessica did.

Here are some important points her post makes that all women should be aware of:

Shanann said this man was her rock in May. He killed her and all their children three months after she posted this picture. (Her family has left it up for awareness, Netflix has made a documentary, American Murder: The Family Next Door.)
Men who commit familicide:
  • Previous domestic violence history (prior domestic violence history is the #1 indicator)
  • Generally non-Hispanic white male
  • Own/access to a gun
  • There are 1 million women in the US who have survived being shot or shot at by an intimate partner.
  • Roughly 3 women are killed every day in the USA by an intimate partner. Between Oct 1, 2020 and Dec 31, 2020 that’s another 276 of you. By this late in the year he’s already shown you the signs. Get out.

One thing Jessica’s post and the Netflix documentary about Shanann Watts points out is that we never truly know what’s going on behind closed doors in someone’s life.

Our social media highlight reels can be authentic as can be, or they can just be one big cover for all the things we don’t want others to see. I hope that we all learn from the Watts’ story to ask our friends and loved ones what is truly going on in their lives and to be that safe person anyone can open up to.

RELATED: From the Other Side of Survival

If you are in a domestic violence situation, please get out while you still can. Jessica offers some resources and encouragement in her post and I will repeat them here:

24 Hour National Confidential Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
“Stay Tough. Stay Alive.”

Your life is WORTH it. Please reach out for help!

Jenny Rapson

Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.

I’m Done Feeling Guilty for Struggling with My Mental Health

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman walking down a sunny road

My mental health hasn’t been great for the past week. I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on, I just knew I was struggling. My whole body felt like I was squeezing, holding in the building tension of life, trying not to burst on innocent bystanders in my path. It took me days to finally clue in that it was my anxiety, a handful of little things combining to create a perfect storm. The endless cycle of sickness hitting my family, parenting pressure, and pain from past trauma. In retrospect, I guess it wasn’t little things at all,...

Keep Reading

Even as an Adult, It’s Hard When Friends Move Away

In: Friendship
Woman looking out car window

I grew up in an anomaly of a small town where no one moved away. Seriously, I can count on one hand the number of friends who left during my childhood. Granted, most of us hightailed it out of that one-stoplight town as soon as we had our high school diplomas in our hands, but I’ll forever be grateful for the friendships I made there. It never occurred to me how much it would hurt down the road when, as an adult, my friends would move away. RELATED: The Heartache When Your Friend Tells You She’s Moving I remember reading...

Keep Reading

Setting Boundaries Has Side Effects No One Talks About

In: Living
Family walking away

I cut off my brother a few months ago. Easter Sunday, to be exact. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but it was a choice I had to make for my sanity, for my family, for our peace. If I’m being honest, it was something I should have done long ago, but I’ve never been one to rock the boat. I typically avoid confrontation at all costs, but that particular day was the straw that broke the camel’s back and forced me to take action. I was prepared for the anger. I was prepared to feel uncomfortable. I was...

Keep Reading

A Mother/Daughter Bond Should Be Unbreakable, but Sometimes It Isn’t

In: Grown Children, Living
Frowning woman holding phone

It’s OK to grieve your absent parents while they’re still alive. I see so many articles or well-meaning posts from people who had beautiful relationships with their parents and are now grieving their loss. It’s amazing to read about such incredible parent-child relationships, but it also usually comes with guilt for me. “Call your mom, I wish I still could.” Yeah, me too, I want to say. I stare at my phone, my finger hovering over her name, and sigh. I let the screen go black instead. My birth mother is alive and well but I chose to end my...

Keep Reading

My Grandma Doesn’t Remember Me but I Visit Anyway

In: Living
Elderly woman embracing young bride

Today I went to see my grandma in the memory care facility she now calls home. Visits now are nothing like they used to be at her house. There is no kitchen stocked with my favorite snacks or comfortable room of my own with a fold-out bed stacked with hand-sewn quilts. It’s just her, an armchair, and a twin-sized bed that creaks up and down with a remote control so she can be bathed and dressed in the optimal position. But her face lights up when she sees me and her small body relaxes into me when I hug her. ...

Keep Reading

“Yours From the First Moment I Saw You.” Read the Tributes To Olivia Newton-John That Have Us Tearing Up

In: News
Olivia Newton-John Instagram photo

“Tell me about it . . . stud.” I’ll never forget the iconic ending scene of “Grease” when the camera pans from the shocked face of John Travolta as bad-boy Danny Zuko to his high school sweetheart, Sandy, who has literally transformed from an innocent transfer student into a leather-clad cool chick, complete with massive perm and sky-high heels. In the starring role of one of the most successful movie musicals ever made, beauty icon Olivia Newton-John stole America’s heart and never looked back over the course of an awe-inspiring five-decade career, which included both movies and musical hits like...

Keep Reading

The Rollercoaster of Foster Care and Adoption

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother daughter photo on beach

After spending most of their childhoods in foster care, Addy and her brother Dominick had never been to a birthday party or down a water slide. They missed out on many childhood staples, but it was the least of their concerns. Addy was riddled with anxiety and panic attacks—crippled with fear that she would age out of the system before getting adopted. She carried a backpack full of anxiety fidgets to cope with her uncertain years in foster care. She had such a bad case of TMJ that the kids at school mocked her for adjusting her jaw every ten...

Keep Reading

While I Wait for Another Door to Open, I’ll Hold One For Someone Else

In: Faith, Living
Woman teaching another woman by computer

I’m waiting for another door. All my life, I’ve been told that when God closes one door, He opens another. And here I am, staring at the imminent end of the business I’ve built from nothing. Closing down what I started up from sheer willpower, too much caffeine, and the bold determination to work for myself. Scratching out what I made from scratch . . . and it feels horrible. God didn’t just close this door. He slammed it shut, boarded the whole thing up, and hammered the nails in where I cannot pry them open. Believe me. I’ve tried....

Keep Reading

The Pain of Loving an Addict and the Power of Love

In: Living
Couple embracing in hallway

Mental health is no joke. Addiction is no joke. In my experience, these things go hand in hand. People often turn to things like alcohol and drugs when they are looking for an escape from reality. And people with certain mental health struggles are more prone to addictions than people without. These behaviors are a cry for help. They are not attention seeking. They are not purposely trying to hurt the people in their life. They are saying in the only way they can they are drowning and they need a lifeboat. And it is hard on everyone involved. Having...

Keep Reading

Chrissy Teigen Announces She’s Pregnant With Rainbow Baby

In: Living, News
Chrissy Teigen pregnant

Hip, hip, hooray! “1 billion shots later . . . we have another on the way.” In a surprising, but much anticipated Instagram post, Chrissy Teigen delivered the exciting news: she and celebrity musician husband John Legend are officially expecting their third baby! Endeared to millions through her genuine and unfiltered approach to sharing her life on social media, Chrissy’s announcement was quickly met with an outpouring of love and support from fans, many of whom had been following since the model shared the absolutely devastating loss of her third pregnancy back in 2020. RELATED: Chrissy Teigen Opens Up About Her...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.