Personal Narrative: The Rubber Squishy Toy


the rubber squishy toy: how motherhood has made me resilient

I’m a rubber squishy toy.


My toddler keeps me in her pocket, covered in lint leftover from her stuffed-toy dissections. She drops me from time to time, loses me in the couch cushions, finds me later covered in cracker crumbs and cat hair; drops me off outside in the dirt until I’m washed by rain and found again. She scrubs me in the sink with handsoap and lotion until my skin is shiny and new again. Sometimes, she tucks me into the folds of her blankets at night to keep me warm while she sleeps. But most of the time, she forgets I exist. I am there for her comfort and leisure; not a person, just a toy.


And yet, no matter how much I’m bounced around, dropped, dirtied, lost, and loved then neglected, I still hold my shape. Resiliency is my strength. 

a child cupping a squishy toy sun with the quote "motherhood has tried to break me but it can't. resiliency is my strength."
Motherhood has made me more resilient than I ever thought possible.


This is what I remind myself as motherhood has tried to tear me apart time and time again. 


When my body expanded to carry the weight of her life into this world as I was confined to a bed, restless, a shell whose only existence revolved around the vulnerable, growing creature inside; when I split myself wide open just to see her face for the first time, one half of me immobile, the other half reaching to hold her as her cone-shaped head was being smushed back into place by the nurses too far for me to reach; when my existence was once again confined to a seat on the couch, arms cradling my newborn to my chest, careful not to wake her from her precious few moments of peace as my breasts leaked and bled and ached, burned like a furnace upon my chest, I still held my shape.


I lost myself in motherhood, neglected my needs, forgot to eat and couldn’t sleep. I reduced my needs to satisfy hers, put my dreams on pause, and pretended to be satisfied with less. I cried alone and silent in between naptimes and feedings, drowning in a despair I didn’t deserve; how selfish it is to grieve for all the people I used to be and all the lives I’d lived that I would never be nor live again. Didn’t I want to be a mother? Why wasn’t I more grateful for this?


My thoughts kept me up at night, long after the middle of the night feedings and the incessant, wailing screams of sleep training. Sometimes, I would drift off, only to be torn from sleep with a pounding in my chest and the certainty something, everything was wrong, in danger, or gone. My mind raced with a panic so thick I couldn’t breathe, arms flailing above waters too deep. I had to ask for help, and swallowed my pride with a pill every day just to keep my head above the water long enough for my feet to find the shore again.


Motherhood has tried to break me, but it can’t. My skin is made of rubber, pliable but thick. I bounce when I’m thrown, I bend and twist, and remain impenetrable when pricked. Even when my daughter discovered the power of scissors, hacked to bits by her curious hands, my full shape remains. In fragments, perhaps, my slippery insides exposed, but a shape nonetheless. And it’s a shape that can exist now in multiple places at once. There is more of me. Not less. I may be scattered, but I am still strong.

quote "there is more of me. not less. I may be scattered but I am still strong."
There is more of me. Not less. I may be scattered, but I am still strong. 💪

I am a rubber squishy toy. 

Not just a person but my daughter’s joy.


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