We, at PinkSky Magazine, have this amazing story of triumph and courage to share with you all. This amazingly talented woman who overcame some the most difficult and challenging events, but later goes on to become a huge success inspiring and empowering others.
It is a story that one could not even begin to script write. It has been difficult to put together for you all; I could not do it without a few tears myself….
Bec’s story is real, its raw, its heartbreaking, it is harrowing, yet it is also filled with the inspiration of her strength, courage, and determination.
Many people have experienced their share of dark times or experiences, and after the storm has passed, most often that darkness disappears, and things start to look light again in life. However, for Bec McMillan, the piercing black of the night seemed never ending and all-encompassing. One tragic blow after another hit so fiercely it left nothing but devastation and destruction.For Bec, this was the harsh reality. A real ‘dark night of the soul’ in which the dawn, it seemed, failed to show.
As a young girl, Bec grew up in the rough environment of Sydney’s western suburbs. In her teens, she was overweight, suffered from depression and anxiety, and if that was not enough, she also suffered a debilitating low self-esteem.
In an attempt to protect her sensitive heart and survive, she got caught up in the drug and party lifestyle as a means of escape.
She felt that if she could just be as rough and tough as everyone else, no one could hurt her. This idea made her feel somewhat powerful – even though inside she was still a scared young teenager trying to survive. Making some poor choices, attracting toxic experiences, becoming addicted to drugs and spiraling downwards. She did not know how to escape.
The young Bec fell pregnant at 21 and began to withdraw from her toxic lifestyle. She had to do this, alone and unaided, not fully understanding how to achieve this. During her pregnancy, she suffered had an incident which caused 2nd and 3rd-degree burns on 20% of her body. This hit the nerves in her legs, and she endured painful physiotherapy while seven months pregnant, to learn to walk again. This left Bec with horrific scars that lead to paranoia, self-consciousness and the hiding of her legs for many years.This experience resulted in PTSD in which even someone playing with a lighter would cause a panic attack.
Soon after her beautiful boy Jaiden was born, and she knew something had to change, but just didn’t know what or how…. it took being in an abusive and violent relationship that gave her the strength to pack up my car and move to the Sunshine Coast with the hope of creating a new life for herself and her gorgeous little boy Jaiden.
The next few years were very up and down for her. In some ways, she was building up her inner strength and trying to make a new life and trying to be the best Mum she could be, BUT those past traumas would come back to haunt her and pull her back into depression and anxiety which then lead to toxic choices.
Bec found relief in self-medicating on weekends by partying in an attempt to mask the turmoil that she was still experiencing inside. A few years later Bec found herself pregnant once again! This time with her second son Jayce. Bec rekindled an old relationship and was doing her best to create a wonderful life for her and the boys. She struggled somewhat when Jayce was 2 ½ months old, suffering from colic and leaving Bec exhausted but she soldiered on without much support.
Some of her friends and family encouraged her to go out and have some fun for the first time in over a year and a half. She felt it would be good to get out of the house, have some adult company and conversation again, and just let her hair down with friends. Being a mother to two young boys can be tough work! So Bec organized for her mum to look after Jayce for the night so that she did not to breastfeed, and could enjoy a few drinks and spend time with her friends.
When Bec arrived home later that night, her mum made the fateful decision to put Jayce in with Bec, thinking that she was ok and then went off to bed, not for a moment realizing what a tragic decision that would be.
Upon waking the next morning, she got out of bed to go and check on Jayce whom she thought was with her Mum. She felt something beneath her shoulder and was completely shocked to see Jayce in bed. She had no recollection of how he got there. In horror, she realized that she had smothered him and that he was not breathing. The next hours and days were filled with everything that encapsulates a parent’s worst nightmare. From the hope that flared when Jayce was resuscitated, the confusion and panic as he was rushed to hospital and worked on by a roomful of doctors, the helplessness as his internal organs all began to fail, to the sheer devastation when he was declared brain dead, and she had to make the inconceivable decision to turn off his life support. No one can ever be prepared for the awful shock and depth of pain that comes with the loss of a child.
Bec went home feeling numb and empty, with no clue what to do next or how to face each day without her baby in it. The grief overwhelmed her, but she was determined not to fall apart. She still had Jaidan to care for, and so she focused all of her energy on making sure that all those around her were okay. Especially her poor mother who was overwhelmed with guilt, as well as her own grief of losing her grandchild.
Bec started a charity in honor of her little boy Jayce to raise awareness and assist other parents whose lives had been devastated by unsafe sleeping incidences, and she raised $5K in one day and focused on helping and educating others. Although by this time, Bec had some fantastic support with her charity, she could not have been prepared for the onslaught of small town gossip and whispers that became a nightmare.
“Murderer” and “baby killer” were words she would hear whispered or have sent to her via social media….
The online bullying and resulting stress eventually forced her to close down her charity and donate the raised money to SIDS and Kids Queensland. The judgment and criticism she sometimes faced were so severe she ended up with extreme social anxiety I would disguise herself as a male when going out in public. We know these days that people have committed suicide after suffering such abuse. Just as Bec was trying to deal with this latest blow, her nana died, and she lost her relationships with her elder sister and best friend of thirty years.
Even in the darkest night, there shone a ray of light. Bec found she was expecting another baby! This pregnancy was marred by the fact that she learned she was expecting twins but one died leaving Bec to carry both twins to term.
Bec got married, but her husband was not around to support her, choosing to work away and come home for 12 weeks in total a year, so once again she found herself pregnant, alone and wondering how she would survive the darkness her life had become. Still grieving the loss of Jayce, with her deceased twin still in her womb, grieving also for her Nan, sister and best friend, she then lost Pop and discovered her father had terminal liver cancer and only three months to live! Unable to cope with the onslaught of grief Bec suffered a nervous breakdown in which had her bedridden for a month. She contemplated suicide many times but feels she owes her survival to her son Jaiden, who was her reason for living and making it through another day.
She begged her new husband to come home to support her through this time, at least until the end of the pregnancy but he refused and left her seven and a half months pregnant, suicidal and alone with Jaiden. Bec’s heart was shattered into a million pieces once again, and not long after this, her Dad died leaving her more alone than ever and verging on the edge of despair. A few days after her fathers death her 3rd son, Chance was born… named as an expression of hope that life was offering them all a second Chance.
Bec was in survival mode. She had 3 hours of broken sleep a night, struggled with post-natal depression, suicidal thoughts, crippling anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder – yet there was no one around to support her–though she knew she needed 24hour care and support.
During the worst of it, Bec sometimes saw her baby Chance as her deceased baby Jayce, which led to panic attacks and anxiety. She would close her eyes just to approach Chance afraid she might see him dead. To top it all off, she contracted glandular fever, which was completely debilitating. Becs darkest time approached. Exhausted, desperate and alone, she one day for one moment had a thought of smothering Chance when he was crying for hours and hours although no sooner had the thought come up, she was horrified and filled with complete shame for even thinking such a thing. Bec could never imagine doing such a thing. This became a condition called “intrusive thoughts” which means the opposite to what you would ever want to think or do, but the mind fixates on that thought instead of erasing it. Although this commonly happens in some women suffering post natal depression too. Often these women are too ashamed to tell others what they are going through.
From this moment on Bec could not even look at Chance in case she thought that horrible thought. She then became suicidal herself as the thoughts started to overwhelm her. She believed that her own children would be better off without her, and she could see no way out of this self-loathing and guilt. She began to make plans to ‘check out,’ putting things in place so that her boys would be cared for.
The following day, Jaiden came home from school and just showed her such unconditional love and acceptance, that it changed everything. It was at that moment that she decided to live – against all the odds and despite the darkness she had already endured.
She breastfed her little Chance boy for the last time and checked herself into a mental hospital in Sydney, determined to do whatever it took to finally be free of this darkness that was threatening to destroy her life. She was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis and put on 24-hour watch. Bec was so scared, alone and missing her beloved boys; she wondered if she was indeed crazy and if this is what the rest of her life would be like. Finally, completely exhausted both physically and emotionally, she finally slept.
Four days later a team of doctors brought Chance brought to see her, and witnessed the profound love and caring she had for him. After questioning her they realized that her prior diagnosis was incorrect, that she had just needed rest, support and new medication, and that she was suffering from postpartum depression, severe sleep deprivation, PTSD, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, trauma and multiple griefs.
Bec was faced with driving Chance and herself back home to the Sunshine Coast via a twelve-hour trip. Chances father refused to escort her and the baby home safely even though she begged him to help. Sensibly Bec decided to stop and to rest for a couple of days at holiday apartment to regain some strength and sleep and celebrate that she was not crazy.
During this time, Bec was reported to the department of child safety after an anonymous call, stating she was not fit to care for her baby and had been reported for abuse. Bec immediately called DOCS as she knew she had nothing to hide. Bec had simply requested help and support which is a courageous act as well as being something all people should be entitled to. As a result, Bec felt confident that this was a gross misunderstanding and would be cleared up once they realized there was no grounding for these claims.
To her horror, she discovered that this was not the case. Even though Chance was found to have suffered absolutely no abuse, and it is apparent to all the staff at the hospital that she was a doting and loving mother, her precious boy was taken away from her with security guards around them and denied the right to kiss her baby boy goodbye. This was a particularly cruel action for someone who has already undergone huge grief. Chance was given to the same husband who had earlier denied both Bec and their son support. The ‘husband’ who left her pregnant and suicidal, the ‘father’ who was rarely around to raise his baby and who is not around to this day!
Bec was devastated once again, but that did not last long as her mothering instincts kicked in and she got in her car, drove back home, obtained a lawyer and fought with all her might to prove her innocence and within a week had her boy back in her loving arms. Dominique from DOCS Queensland Bec feels is her and Chance’s ‘guardian angel,’ as she is the woman who saw the beautiful Bec for the mother she is and put support into place to help her and Chance get the care they needed. Finally!
Bec began doing charity work and inspiring others by sharing her incredible story of resilience, strength, and courage. She created her own line of designer crystal necklaces, started her own business called Inspire By Bec and What’s Hot TV, lost 22 kgs, and co-authored a book called The Inspiration Bible. Bec also does inspirational speaking, modeling and has become a well-known media personality.
Bec has also been Globally published as a woman of Influence on our planet, a Cover Girl, several magazine stories, and pod casts Globally and feels very grateful to all who see her as the woman she is today and who is also yet to become.
Through all the darkness, through all the pain and heartbreak, all the rejection and judgment, Bec has discovered her purpose, and that is to help inspire others who are struggling with mental illness. Her biggest lesson was to learn to value herself and to forgive herself. She learned not to be ashamed of her mental health issues and that she did not need to be defined as a bad person by her past. Bec admits that she still struggles from time to time, the last thing she wants to portray that all is good and easy in her life as she is still on her healing journey.
Bec’s long-term goal is to help as many people as possible to realize that mental health is not something to be ashamed of, that not everyone has their shit together all the time but we to be able to help others, just as Bec does. She is determined to make a difference in the world by creating a vast improvement in the mental health systems and society, by leading by example, empowering people to know that it is ok not always to be ok.
Bec says, ‘There is always hope, even when you feel like there is none. If the stigma is lifted from mental health, we can begin to create change where it is so desperately needed. We can put in place support systems that actually work, where sufferers and their partners and families are loved and supported.
Bec is on a mission to be Real and to continue to be an Inspiration to others. ‘To empower them to know that it is ok to be a mess sometimes, it is ok to need help; it is ok to fall apart.
Even the ones we look up to and admire have their moments of doubt, fear, and messiness… I know I certainly do. ‘I hope whoever reads this has been Inspired to NEVER GIVE UP!’ Love Bec xx
Written by Tania Hawting and Bec McMillan
If you or someone you know is depressed or needs to talk please see the numbers below.
Lifeline 13 11 14 or their website is https://www.lifeline.org.au
or PANDA Call 1300 726 306 for women with postnatal depression or related struggles.
PANDA website is https://www.panda.org.au/