I remember the tears I cried after my first son was born.

My kid hated me. I was a twenty-one year old mother. I was the approximate size and shape of a human fire hydrant or an overgrown Oompa Loompa. My friends had, thanks to aforementioned son’s screams, all but run for the hills. I barely slept. I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing – only that this wasn’t supposed to be the way of things. I had no goals. No ambitions. I barely recognized myself in the mirror.

They were bitter – these tears – because I’d spent my entire life knowing where I was going and what I was doing. There was never the slightest hint of hesitation in my step.

Finding myself lost, questioning my every decision, wondering what I was doing wrong (because clearly the problem was with me), well, these were new for me.

My life confused me.

Luckily, with a few suggestions from an old friend, I was able to figure out the What Next and Move Ahead with my life. My son was autistic – I wasn’t a rancid mother. I had to scrap medical school for nursing school. School allowed me to succeed and feel pride in myself again. Slowly, those baby pounds melted off as my son found his voice.

Once again, I was back. My steps were confident and certain, my life on a new track.

It took a lot more this time, to bring back that useless girl. Migraines. Antenatal depression. Encephaloceles. Postpartum depression. Financial instability. Workaholism. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Uncertainty. Anxiety. That purposeless feeling pervaded.

Certainly, during the day, I was fine – I had my blog, I had my Pranksters, I had three wicked cool kids, I had new friends who didn’t mind babies screaming. I had purpose then.

But at night, when the rest of the house was either sleeping or working, those feelings crept back in. Slowly at first. Soon, I spent my nights weeping the kind of soul-shaking cry that only comes with utter heartbreak. I suppose, looking back, I was heartbroken.

I had it all – everything I had worked for, and it simply wasn’t enough. The strings it came with had turned into a noose.

Everyone else seemed to be fine – flourishing even – so the problem, well, the problem was clearly my own. *I* was the problem. Broken beyond repair. Useless. My steps once again a shuffle.

I cannot tell you, Pranksters, how long I felt this way – convinced I was, indeed, broken. Months? Years? I’m not entirely sure.

I cannot tell you either, Pranksters, when that feeling dissipated. Because it has. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know when that empty space was filled for the first time in my life. My footfalls now echo with confidence and occasionally stupidity. My future is not a question of “if?” but a question of “when?”

I can see now that I was never useless. Never less than. Never without.

And never, ever, ever – not even for a moment – broken.

29 thoughts on “Unbroken

  1. It’s oversimplified, but Barney Stinson had it right. Sometimes you just have to stop feeling sad, and start being awesome.

    Granted, it’s not that easy, but it can be done. You, and many others in The Band prove it on a regular basis. Major kudos to you for being a beacon to many in the dark.

  2. See, we always knew you weren’t actually broken or useless, but sometimes you have to find it yourself. I’m so glad today is a good day and you’re able to see it. HUGS!

  3. AB–you kick ass. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Including those annoying, asshat inner voices that can find the best of us when the world goes quiet and dark.

    Just think of how many people you have touched with this post. Forget broken — you helped put THEM back together.

    Cheers, babe…

  4. What Brandon said. And trust me…even when everything goes right, having a baby can knock the wind out of you. But you’ve been an inspiration to me — you manage to be a damn fine blogger and raise three kids *at the same time*. So I have hope that eventually I will be a semifunctional adult again. Rock on, AB.

  5. Wow, what a post! Good for you for coming though the fire intact and understanding it, and boy do I have some people to pass this on to. And I will.

    We all feel beaten down or broken some days, and Unbroken is the path to follow and the way to be!

  6. I think that most women struggle, and fall apart (break) and then rebuild themselves.

    We kind of have to don’t we?

    Sometimes, it’s good to fall apart…it’s good to shatter and rebuild. As long as you are strong enough to rebuild every time.


  7. It’s like Glinda the Good Witch said, you had the power to feel unbroken the whole time, but you had to learn it for yourself.

  8. I know that feeling–I coudn’t put my finger on what I did to get out of the grips of anxiety years ago, but I did it. Many years later, I understand the feeling of broken. Working my way back from that now. Thanks for sharing.

  9. This is just beautiful Becky. I’m so glad you’ve gotten through and you never really were broken. We all go through so much shit sometimes, but we’re never truly broken. It may feel that way for a time but we’re so freaking special and wonderful. YOU my friend are a true gift to this world.

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