Petra Monaco - A true story of courage and hope

Petra shares with us her inspiring life story of how she transformed a former turbulent life of abuse and neglect to contentment and success.

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Petra Monaco Believe in Yourself

Petra Monaco  |  @petramonaco  |

I was raised in foster care since I was 2 years old. During that time, I lived in two group homes and one foster family. During that time, I experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse by the people who were supposed to love and take care of me. I became a rebellious adolescent and tried to fit in with the wrong crowd. At the age of 16, I emancipated and moved in with my biological mother and worked as a veterinarian assistant. I moved to the US from Germany when I was 18.

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The one thing I yearned for as a child growing up in foster care was for someone to love me for who I was an not for who I pretended to be.

For someone to love me for who I was and not for who I pretended to be. [Click to Tweet]

The lowest point in life

The lowest point in my life was when I caused myself to drive under the influence of alcohol.  It was a tough time trying to be a single mom, fitting in and feeling all around lonely in this world.

The event that triggered to break free and prove all the people who labelled me as ‘one who wouldn’t succeed’, wrong:

When I was 8, my foster family told me that I was stupid and I would be worthless and that I would end up like my parents. I told myself then, I wouldn’t be like them, but it wasn’t until my youngest son was diagnosed with a rare and potentially fatal genetic disorder that I realized I needed to really step up and show up in this world.

Challenges and hurdles along the way

As a foster kid, it would have been easy to fall into the trap of living on welfare and have everyone take care of me, to continue to drink myself into an abyss.

What I needed to do was love myself and give myself that respect that I deserved because no one would or could do it for me.

Leaving my ex-husband was a huge hurdle because I was dependent on him for everything. As a then co-dependent person it was hard to think about not trying to make him happy even though I was miserable. Once I made this move however, a new world showed up.

I was in a 9-year relationship after that and probably during the toughest time of being a parent. My son underwent 3 liver transplants and had less than a 50% chance of surviving due to many unforeseen and unpredictable challenges. At the end of his recovery (he is now as healthy as he can be), I realized the relationship was also driven by co-dependency. I moved into my own place and am now single parenting my children.

It really boiled down to getting out of my own way and starting to believe in myself that I can do what I need to do as well as live a life that makes me incredibly happy.

Inspirations that helped me take these challenges head on

I always believe there is another way. I’ve always had big dreams and believed in the life of possibilities. I listen to a lot of music and one day I heard about this one singer being a foster kid, and I was like “Yes, this is how you do it”.

But my biggest inspiration, I draw from my kids. I always wanted more and better for them. I worked hard at being the kind of parent they needed and I wanted to be, one filled with compassion and understanding – knowing how tough the world can be.

My youngest son inspires me every day because we’ve lived through some crappy times but here he is, waking up singing every day and that is how I want to live my life.

The struggles that come with transition from a tough childhood of abuse and neglect to becoming an individual who has a balanced personal life and successful business:

It has taken so much work on my part. Working through my own beliefs about myself, the messages I received as a kid and the belief and stigma around foster kids was a hard one. Once I recognized that my parent’s rejection and abandon wasn’t about me and more about them, I was able to be on the way of healing. I challenged my own behaviours and analysed them to help me understand myself better.

Once I became clear about who I was and what I wanted in life, but more importantly why I wanted it the steps to take showed up.

It’s really about getting out of your own head and removing all those thoughts and beliefs everyone told you to think and feel.

How my past has been instrumental in shaping my ‘go get it all’ attitude and the success that has come with it:

Because people told me I can’t or I wouldn’t. I think there was only one person in my younger years that told me that I wasn’t stupid and I could become who and what I wanted to be. Also the message my foster family taught me is that I would be my parents- a failure, and I simply refuse to be that. Of course, none of us are failures but we don’t always see that so clearly.

How I feel now as an independent woman who has achieved success in both personal and work life:

My life is amazing! I have a great relationship with my kids, I have friends who I love and I live my life how I choose to live. It’s nice! I’ve always dreamt of being in this space I am in now, but I never really knew how to get there, so this feels incredible to me.

What I'd like to change about the world

For people to have more compassion.

Everyone’s path is different and we all have different experiences that shape us. [Click to Tweet]
Judging how someone grew up or lives their lives is really none of our business!  [Click to Tweet]

The little things in my life that make me do a happy dance

When clients have a break through, it’s like the best feeling when I know I helped someone move forward. Oh and when my son comes into my office and starts dancing, that’s the best really!

Quote that best represents me right now

The same one I have been using for years: There is always a way! 

I believe that from the bottom of my heart, we just have to be open to it.

Words of inspiration for the Mothers Joint tribe

We all can have the life we envisioned. Be it working for someone or as a business owner, we can create the freedom we seek. Freedom can mean many things such as emotional freedom or financial freedom. We chose how we want to live and being in the moment is one of the best ways to do so. Living a life with no regrets means we’ve taken in every experience and learnt something from it, it has provided us with that growth we need to step into the person we are supposed to be – and are in our inner core.

Believe in yourself, especially when no one else does! [Click to Tweet]

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Petra Monaco from

Petra Monaco is a Freedom Fighter and Boundary Strategist. Through her blog posts, free challenges and coaching, she’s here to help you set boundaries - while making it feel like an act of love to self. And when she is not helping people create freedom, you can find her indulging in coffee, wood-burning or crochet while fulfilling her love for rock music. Social Media Creative Manager | Bringing your business to the people bit by bit | Artist | The Art of Handmade |