In this episode, we discuss her marriage that was filled with domestic violence, her leaving her marriage and going back, getting pregnant, single motherhood, getting pregnant and placing the baby up for adoption in 2017 and again in 2019, divorce and how her life is now and the things she’s learned along the way.*

Shannell Stewart - IG Post

Shannell grew up in a small town and was one of 10 children. She said she didn’t have a ton of friends because she was always with her family. (She was lucky and had built-in friends!) Once she graduated high school, she moved to the city for College. At that time, she met the man that would become her husband. Things progressed quickly. They were engaged in February and married by March. Only a month into the marriage, Shannell ended up leaving because of the violence. She came back home, but realized she needed to go back to the city for more opportunities. Shannell tried to file for an annulment. When she moved back to the city, she continued to date him on and off, while also trying to date other guys. Later she mentions the annulment never went through and she ended up pregnant, so she moved back in with her husband. The violence got worse and she only lasted another month and a half. She moved back home and went through the pregnancy without the father.

Once she had the baby, she agreed to marriage counseling and was driving back and forth to the city a couple times a week. After a little while of that, she decided that her and the baby would move back in. Things went well for a little over a year. They were sealed in the LDS Temple and Shannell was a stay-at-home mom. But then things just coming out here and there – a bunch of little things that eventually turned into big things. Once again, she decided that things just weren’t working out, so she moved back home. She filed for a divorce at that time.

Shannell was trying hard to move on with her life and began dating the man that would become her second daughter’s father. After a few months and lots of issues, she decided to break up with him…. On a 9 hour car ride home from California. On the way home, they stopped at a gas station and she took a pregnancy test. She just knew. And sure enough, those two pink lines showed up. So in the car, they got back together and decided they could make it work. Then on Valentine’s day, the “magic, magic” happened and she said yes. Two weeks later, she wondered what she was doing and ultimately decided to end things.

During a deep state of depression, she Googled “adoptions in Utah.” She entered her info on and started applying for some jobs back up in the city. She moved in with her estranged husband’s mother. After looking at only 8 family profiles, she found the ones that were meant to be the parents of the baby growing in her belly. Her divorce was final in May of 2017 and she had the baby in October of that same year.

Shannell Stewart - Quote 1

After having the baby and doing the selfless thing of adoption, she just felt renewed. At this time, she began dating again. She ended up dating a guy through the summer, but broke up with him and then found out she was pregnant for the third time. They tried to get back together, but it still wasn’t working. Shannell had planned on keeping the baby and would just co-parent, like she was with her first. The dad of this baby was not supportive of adoption and so she felt like she had no options.. Until, she decided to reach out to her adoption agency just to see what options she actually had. The baby was due in May of 2019 and she had decided in January that she should probably place him for adoption. She reached out on Instagram to someone she knew and asked them how their adoption journey was going. They had had one fall through the previous November and were still sad about it. Shannell told the woman that she was willing to consider them for her baby. They accepted and did end up taking her baby boy.

Shannell Stewart - Quote 2

Listen to the episode to hear all the details!

*Please note: this is the guest’s story. Their story is how they perceive it. It is not my judgement or responsibility to determine whether or not this story and the things said are true. Please be open minded when listening to/reading these stories.


-Do what is best for you and the baby. Try to see the long run picture – not just the first few minutes.
-I love where she mentioned that her dad grounded her and told her “I know you’ve always wanted to write a book, so when you’re done, you can be ungrounded.”
-Do it scared. Let your good be good enough. You can perfect it as you go.


Shannell’s adoption agency
-Shannell’s blog: Ms. Reclaim
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Shannell’s Instagram
-Brene Brown Books: Daring Greatly, Dare to Lead, The Gifts of Imperfection, Rising Strong, I Thought It Was Just Me, Braving the Wilderness
Fine Chocolate
Makeup Remover Cloths
-Favorite Song: Arrows by Trevor Hall and Palms by Allman Brown (listen on the Hard Knocks Podcast – Guest List on Spotify)
-Ending Song: I Don’t Do Lonely Well by Jason Aldean (listen on the Hard Knocks Podcast playlist on Spotify)


“When it is all finished, you will discover it was never random.”


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