Triumph Through Motherhood

Becca Austin, her son, and her fiancé.
Becca Austin and Family | Provided Photo

Becca Austin has learned to trust her instincts. The 32-year-old Walkersville resident and business owner has been through a lot in life, having undertaken a remarkable journey to recovery from the throes of addiction and trauma.

Though there have been times in her life when things seemed hopeless, Austin says she has gotten through her roughest patches by trusting herself, speaking about her experiences and establishing a stable support system.

Today, Austin owns the vehicle cleaning service Epic Detailing LLC with her fiancé, Dylan Flannery. The two of them also have a three-year-old son, Trevor.

In honor of Mother’s Day on May 12, Austin shares the journey she took to reach what she considers her biggest triumph: motherhood.

“With everything I’ve gone through, everything I’ve done thus far in my life, my biggest accomplishment and my biggest blessing is my son. I’ll continue to strive to be the mother and positive role model he needs,” she says.

But it’s been a long road to recovery for Austin. Following the death of her father, she struggled with addiction, which led her to be incarcerated at the age of 21. Austin recalls that she frequently engaged in self-destructive behavior, unsure how to deal with her grief and her mental health issues.

During her six-month sentence, she met her fiancé, who was also incarcerated at the time, through a letter-writing program. Austin was also in addiction recovery while in jail, and the combination of those two factors helped motivate her to pursue a stable life after her release.

“We wanted to prove everyone wrong,” she notes. “He helped me keep my head level and make it through a program that changed my life. And I did the same for him. I was able to go from a menace to society to a productive member of society.”

But Austin’s struggles were far from over. She had a miscarriage in 2019 and found out that she was pregnant again nine months later. The birth of her son was a fairly traumatic experience, as the doctors could not find his heart, and she was in labor for 33 hours.

Because of this and what she describes as dismissive treatment from other medical professionals, Austin had trouble trusting within the medical system.

“I saw a midwife for abdominal pain and mental health issues I was having postpartum,” Austin recalls. “She pressed on my stomach, left the room and came back. She told me she knew what was wrong—that I was faking my symptoms because I didn’t want to go back to work, and that I needed to exercise more. That I wasn’t taking [motherhood] seriously because there were other women who did have these symptoms. It made me feel like I was a horrible person.”

It took a while for Austin to be comfortable with seeking medical treatment again. Unfortunately, this can be a common experience for women. A 2008 study published in Academic Emergency Medicine found that women who went to the emergency room for severe stomach pain had to wait longer than men who came in with the same symptoms and were less likely to receive painkillers when treated. Doctors often dismiss women’s pain as hysteria, a phenomenon Austin experienced firsthand.

“I found an amazing nurse practitioner. I’ve realized that it’s important to be completely comfortable with your doctor and feel like they’re actively listening to what you’re saying,” she adds. “That they don’t just treat you like another number and they aren’t dismissive of your experiences.”

She also notes that talking about her postpartum depression and the physical symptoms she experienced as part of her pregnancy helped her cope with processing them, and she encourages others in similar situations to do the same.

“A lot of women struggle [with postpartum depression], but it’s not OK to sit and struggle in silence and stay in your head,” Austin says. “I feel like more women struggle with it than don’t, but not enough women reach out about it. Everyone needs to know that it’s OK to reach out. It’s OK to struggle, but it’s not OK to struggle in silence.”

Treat yourself this Mother's Day with an easy homemade face mask recipe, found here.