Episode 51

Shame will tell you your existence is wrong because of however you believe you caused the abuse, the abandonment or the neglect.

And it will tell you you’re a horrible mother because you don’t show compassion and empathy as easily with your children as you do friends or strangers because you didn’t receive it in your home, growing up.

But you can tell shame to shut up!

You sure can. Let’s get into how in Episode 51 Shame Off You! Find show notes and today’s Food for Thought below.

The Motherhood Unmasked podcast with Vanessa A. Harris Episode 51 Shame Off You!

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Shame Off You!

Hey there Mama Bare and welcome to a new season of the Motherhood Unmasked podcast. And I mean new in every sense of the word. It’s the beginning of a new year, the first episode of season 6 and a new direction for this podcast! I’m so glad you’re here!

After five seasons of speaking with compassion, candor and clarity encouraging moms to own their pivotal role in the lives of their children and the generations that follow, I realized there’s a category of moms I overlooked.

Moms who are dear to my heart because I am one of them. Moms whose traumatic childhood experiences weighed on them in addition to the typical demands of motherhood.

Moms with unique challenges no one’s addressing because everyone expects moms to make everything better, not have issues of her own.

So the focus of this podcast is changing to zero in on you. The mom battling the effects of your childhood trauma and the unique parenting challenges you face.

This podcast is not about me counseling you through your issues.

I’m more coach and fellow survivor letting you know I see you under the mask meant to convince the world, your family and yourself that you’re fine. When in reality you struggle being comfortable in your own skin while you try to raise children to be comfortable in theirs.

You’re not alone.

And this is where you get to drop your mask and be understood as well as empowered to start or stay on your healing journey.

I’ll share from my own story and from what I’ve learned on my healing journey along with gems of wisdom from Jesus sprinkled throughout.

And to set the tone for Motherhood Unmasked going forward, I’ll start with this “shame off you!”

That’s right. Shame off you. Someone says “shame on you” because it gives the impression that they’re so high above you, they could never be caught in the same struggle.

But what happened to you could have happened to them. It doesn’t matter who you think you are, the rain falls on everyone.

I know what it’s like to be violated as a child and for whatever reason, feel like I was to blame for what someone did to me.

So little girl me packed my secret and my pain away—or so I thought—and accomplished great things with every intention of having a healthier family than the one I came from—only to find it’s a lot harder than I thought.

Because the silence blankets you with a shame, you may not know is there, but leaves you feeling unworthy, unwanted and at fault—none of which is true.

The fact that you’re still here shows you have a will to survive despite what you suffered. And because you’re still here, your story’s not finished.

In fact, shame is on the list of things Jesus hates and to paraphrase Hebrews 12:2 for today’s culture, He gave the shame He suffered the side eye as he focused on the joy in seeing you free of it.

And because I know his heart, I know He wants to do for you what He promised me—to restore you.

And like any good restoration from furniture to precious metals, it starts with removing the tarnish—all the stuff life in a messed up world did to try and ruin your purity and luster as a child.

And I’m a living witness there’s nothing you’ve been through that can undo your value. So I’m coming along side you today with an invitation to dismiss shame with a side eye to focus on the joy and peace ahead of you.

And I know what you’re thinking, joy is a luxury emotion when you’re surviving work, family, your past and the emotions surrounding it all. And while I wish I could snap my fingers and remove the residue of shame off you, you and I both know it’s not that simple.

The soundtrack of shame has played softly in the background of your mind for years. And if you’re like me, you didn’t even notice it. It takes time, intention and maybe a counselor to swap it out with truth.

You are not ruined, you are not unwanted and you are not a mistake. You are stronger than you think, you are loved more than you know and you have been entrusted with children of your own!

Based on my experience I shouldn’t want the beautiful family I have. In fact it would have made perfect sense for me to doubt I’d be an attentive parent—since I didn’t feel safe enough as a child to tell my parents the teenage son of a family friend molested me.

But when I think of the joy my family adds to my life and the miracle it is to be part of theirs, it fuels my healing journey to show up as my best self for them and for me.

A big part of shedding shame was forgiving myself. Shame will tell you your existence is wrong because of however you believe you caused the abuse, the abandonment or the neglect.

And shame will spread to your children if left unchecked.

If you think about, you have to believe your life is foul to abandon, abuse or devalue a child in any way.

And if you think you’re awful because it happened to you, you’re more likely to wound your own children. In the wake of that, what is your child left to believe? That something’s wrong with them.

And shame claims another victim.

But you can slay the cycle of shame in your family by forgiving yourself. Nothing about you invited or deserved the trauma you experienced as a child.

There’s nothing you were supposed to do to stop it. You handled yourself based on the limited perspective and emotional intelligence you had as a child.

Your life isn’t a mistake and you are not ruined. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

And the best is still ahead of you.

If you’d like more food for thought on freedom from shame, check out the show notes for this episode at motherhoodunmasked.com/episode51.

That’s motherhoodunmasked.com/episode51.

With a new direction for Motherhood Unmasked came a new website. You can find this episode and more at motherhoodunmasked.com.

Well Mama Bare, the first episode of this new season is in the books. And I couldn’t have asked for better company.

I hope this episode encouraged you, but it’s no replacement for someone trained to help you process your traumatic childhood experiences. There is no shame in asking for help, Mama Bare.

So as you think about releasing shame and enlisting the people to help you on your healing journey, please remember.

When it comes to being the mother of your children, don’t assume there’s someone better suited than you. You are the woman for the job. I’m rooting for you. Take care.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast should not be taken as medical advice. The content here is for informational purposes only, and because each person is so unique, please consult your health care professional for any medical questions.

Food for Thought…

In today’s episode we talked about the role forgiving yourself plays in removing shame’s power over you. Sharing your story also disarms shame. Whether with a safe friend, one on one with a therapist or in a group therapy session, honoring yourself by giving voice to what you’ve lived through disrupts the silence where shame thrives. I’ve found that vulnerability, even in small steps brings freedom. Will you drop your mask and the shame behind it?

Need Help?

Let’s Stay Connected

Do you know why I call you Mama BARE? Because you’re unmasked and unapologetic in admitting motherhood is tough, and you appreciate conversation that honors that.

So, connect with me for more support, empowering the best version of you as a mom.

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