Beautiful Prison

Vanessa Broers
5 min readMay 12, 2021

[A preview of my upcoming book, We Are One: How one woman reclaimed her identity through motherhood]

I locked myself in the bathroom in the morning. I didn’t want Pepper to see me crying.

I was locking myself in the bathroom, crying in the closet and in the shower, more often these days.

If I were given the option to snap my fingers and end up in the exact life I had pictured for myself (which was different than the one I have) and it wouldn’t affect anyone I love — I wouldn’t do it.

AND — this is not the life I pictured for myself.

I LOVE being a mother AND I did not picture myself a mother.

Despite how much I love this kiddo, I am not very good (yet) at this ‘working mom’ thing.

Some days, I have almost no time at all to dedicate to my business. Some days, I have plenty of time and waste it, finding ways to sneak off to ‘check’ on Pepper. Some days, I sit in my office and work and listen to Sibe and Pepper giggling together and feel so jealous to join them. And days that I have dedicated to Pepper, I miss and feel anxious to be with my work.

Tuesdays, in particular, fuck with me. Tuesday mornings are one of my mornings with Pepper. And I wish I could enjoy them more. But the truth is, it is hard for me. I want to be working. I want to be creating. I find that I struggle to be present with her because my energy and attention are drawn toward the projects I have going on.

And then I notice that she’s a little restless because she can sense, even subconsciously, my lack of presence. Or at the very least, my lack of direction. I often end up trying to do both, which ends a complete disaster.

And then there’s Opi. Jesus, that dog. She is such a trigger for me. She demands constant attention, whining all day for more. She is unimpressed with the little that I have available, taunts me when I don’t want to give, when I prefer to put it somewhere else.

Most days, it’s okay. Some days, it’s great. And the other day, it was just too much. I cried and cried as I left a voice message for my mastermind group as Pepper literally pulled on my pant leg and Opi howled next to her. Only making me more upset, angry that I didn’t have space to myself, and guilty for how Pepper might have interpreted that moment.

Sometimes I am completely swallowed by the bliss of my time with Pepper, Sibe and Opi, I can’t even imagine how anything could matter more. It’s my greatest source of joy, inspiration and contentment.

And sometimes, Tuesday mornings make me feel like I’m failing at a life I never asked for.

I’ve always struggled with the pain of feeling separated from my potential. I remember years and years ago, I would arrive at my job at a restaurant, tie my apron, and then go lock myself in the bathroom and cry.

And while the bathroom I’m crying in these days is much nicer, the pain feels similar.

But I’m learning that the pain of feeling separated from your potential doesn’t mean that you are actually separated from your potential. It’s simply life’s invitation for you to surrender and expand into it, now.

Parenthood is a completely unreasonable assignment. But then, life is not reasonable and spiritual expansion certainly doesn’t operate within reason.

Unreasonable is actually the ‘key’ to escaping what sometimes feels like a beautiful prison. Unreasonable. As in, beyond reason.

It’s unreasonable to think that you can do both at once. So stop trying.

It’s unreasonable to think that my current mental paradigm of how I try to manage and create is workable — so I have to evolve.

Love is bigger than reason. Infinitely bigger. From within reason, you can’t figure out how to make it work.

And so you must evolve into being unreasonable. Evolve into thinking from love. Not reason.

Love demands the impossible. And if you surrender to love, you can create the impossible. But not from within reason.

Only from a surrender to love.

Every single day is a practice of surrender and expansion.

Surrender to the fact that I now have a priority much greater than the work I do in the world.

Surrender to the fact that I must begin to identify as more than the work I do in the world.

Surrender to the fact that I do not have limitless time, nor want limitless time, to create.

Expanding into a person who can hold a bigger life vision than the one I had before.

Expanding into a person bigger than the identity I had before.

Surrender. Expand. Love.

Create an unreasonable life.

This book is not about motherhood. It’s a book about identity. It’s a book about using life’s unexpected circumstances as a lever to open you up to the most authentic, alive, powerful version you can create yourself to be. In my case, motherhood.

Motherhood, for those of us for whom it was never in the cards, can do no less than shift the tectonic plates of your being. In the process, it can feel like it levels the life built upon them.

Embracing this will rock you, shake you to the core, and catalyze an expansion that would swallow the life you left behind whole — and allow you to live the full richness of life, heal the deepest parts of you and emerge anew, not redesigned, but renovated. Brought back to your true essence to create magic in your life in a way that you never anticipated, and arguably, could not have accessed without this massive ‘disruption.’

Our culture teaches us that it’s about balance. Finding time for yourself, making sure you take care of your own needs.

I call bullshit. Balance isn’t going to cut it. While logistics play a major role in the daily challenges of parenthood, for the kind of women this book is written for, it’s not about time management.

It’s about energy management, soul management. It’s not about balancing your checkbook and budgeting your time, it’s about creating a radical shift in who you are. Shedding your old identity and shifting who you are at the deepest, most expansive level.



Vanessa Broers

Vanessa coaches high achievers and coaches to create beyond what they imagine as possible. She believes in CREATING clients vs finding them. Ask her how.