Episode 67 Prioritize Support

There’s no shortage of people ready to comment on your parenting skills.

But they don’t know what you step over in your soul to show up as a mom.

They don’t know the skeletons in your childhood trauma closet that you’re battling in therapy. And they don’t have to—as long as you have a squad who does.

Are you a mom in need of safe people?

Vanessa’s talking about building a supportive circle in this episode of Motherhood Unmasked.


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Healing the Girl in You


Real talk about how your relationship with your father affects how you show up as a woman and in your relationships—including your relationship with God.

Identity, security, confidence—it’s all covered here, highlighted by Vanessa’s own story and those of other courageous women who experienced childhood trauma and overcame.

Ready to get real and start to heal?


Here’s a controversial statement.

People say it takes a village to raise a child. But I think it takes a village to support the mom raising her children—especially when she’s experienced unresolved childhood trauma.

She needs a circle invested in supporting her healing journey so she can show up as the mom her children need.

Who should be in that circle is what we’re talking about today. And I’m so glad you’re here.


Y’all it’s the end of October. So that means it’s the end of National Book Month and the beginning of the holiday season.

Before you know it, a new year will be here. The time we typically think about reinventing ourselves.

But instead of reinventing in January, I encourage you to reinvest in you now—you, who, by the way, is more than enough.

Books are a way to do just that, especially when they help you recognize how the heart hurt experienced by the little girl in you, trips you up as a woman today.

Women who struggle with insecurity and anxiety, and try to compensate with performance, found freedom, confidence and unconditional love through the truths in my book, DADDY’s Girl Forever.

If reading a book sounds like a fantasy these days, I’ve got you covered. You can listen to the audio version, narrated by yours truly, on Audible.

Don’t have Audible? No worries! You can enjoy a free copy of DADDY’s Girl Forever and a free 30 day trial to enjoy other books on Audible by using my special link bit.ly/dgfaudio. That’s bit.ly/dgfaudio.

And for paperback copies of all the books I offer, go to vinelifefaith.com/books .

Listen, in all of your giving this season, give yourself the gift of being seen, known, and loved. Now let’s get into today’s episode!


Hey there Mama Bare! While you chew on my controversial statement about who needs a village, let me take a moment to welcome you if you’re new to the podcast.

I’m sure you could use a break from being everybody’s hero and the pressure to have it altogether. So, come on in. Leave your mask at the door. We’re all friends here.

In the Protect Your Peace episode, I talked about prioritizing your peace by pulling away from people who do things like promote doubt, speak discouragement, provide an unwanted distraction from your healing process, or drain you while you’re trying to heal.

And as promised, in this episode, we’re considering the people you need on your team. And yes, you need a team.

No woman is an island and, as my Inner Circle mentor, Chrystal Evans Hurst loves to say, we’re better together. 


I’m recording this on a day that happens to be my friend, Michelle McKinney’s birthday and let me tell you why she’s so special.

I met her years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest in a ministry called Queen Esther.

And if you know your way around a Bible, yes, that Queen Esther. If you’ve never heard of Esther, she has a book named after her in the Bible and it’s a captivating read. You should check it out.

Anyway, the ministry is about discovering the queen in women coming out of less than ideal situations into the kingdom of God. And how, like Esther, we can rise to become women born for such a time as this. 

We were in the same class with several other women. And that class is where all of us stuck our toes into the water of transparency because we collectively looked at our issues and gingerly unpacked them with each other while learning to encourage each other from a biblical perspective. 

We’re all still sisters to this day, but the essence of that community is what’s necessary for you today.

You need a band of women, not necessarily in terms of number but in terms of commitment level.

Women who are going through their own healing journeys and yet can hold you accountable to your journey.

Because we’re not all healing at the same rate.

You’re on your path at the pace of grace given to you.


But I digress. Let me get back to Michelle for a moment. What’s great about Michelle is at her core, she is an encourager.

In fact, she goes by the title of Dream Architect.

Her jam is helping women discover and own their purpose so their dream becomes reality—not just wishful thinking.

And she does it with her vision board meets planner that she calls the Vision Play Book, because without a vision, whatever you’re looking forward to will perish.

If you did the homework associated with episode 64, then you know about the importance of having a vision even for the healed version of you.

But you know what? Michelle and I started on our paths to wholeness almost 20 years ago.

And I’ve watched her go from level to level of healing, all the while cheering on her Queen Esther sisters, other friends and her clients.

We don’t live in the same state anymore and we mostly text, but when we do communicate, we speak life to each other—supporting each other from a distance.


And she’d be the first to tell you she couldn’t and wouldn’t enjoy the healing and success she’s enjoying right now without Jesus, her vision play book, therapy, and a crew of women over the years who encourage her to go and grow—especially when she doesn’t feel like it.

And to see the healing you want, you need a team.

One that supports you, is a safe recipient of your transparency, and who keeps you accountable to your wellness journey.

The team should include someone who’s supportive.

A woman who relates to your childhood experience and is trying to work through hers to become the best version of herself as a woman, a wife, a mother, a co-worker—you name it.

Or she’s a woman who has compassion for you though she had a healthy childhood. And yet feels called to your recovery.

And no matter who’s on your team, everyone should be committed to transparency.

There’s no healing where you can’t risk exposure. When you have a physical wound, you cover it at first.

But then there’s a time you remove the bandage and let oxygen go to work.

On your healing journey, you can’t be a secret squirrel.

You should have a few good women you can be real with. This is not about oversharing with strangers on social media.

I’m talking about women who know you and are safe to share your story and your journey with, and you being a safe person for them to do likewise.

Because it’s in the transparency that you build mutual trust.

That means no one in the circle gets to be the strong friend. You know. The one everyone else relies on to rescue them, but she never gets to be human.

No. Every woman in your circle should have their turn to be weak, because that’s the reality of life.

A very wise man once said, two are better than one because if either falls, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

And when they pick you up, these women should have the privilege of serving as your mirror.

What do I mean?

If you’re sharing sounds more like self-pity, they should be able to call you on it without fear of offending you, because you understand these women are committed to your victory.  

And that’s part of the third attribute: accountability.

Because as we talked about in the: This Is Gonna Get Ugly episode, there will be times you’ll be overwhelmed by the ugliness dug up in therapy sessions.

What you’re remembering, how it’s making you feel, the thoughts you’re contemplating, and the good you can no longer envision for yourself because you’re overwhelmed by it all.

There’s all kinds of feelings you’ll contend with along the way. And one of those feelings is: I quit. Get me off this ride!

And at least one of the women standing with you needs permission to say, “You’re not going down on my watch. I’m going to help you get to the other side of this because you matter to me and I’m committed to you.”

That makes a world of difference when you feel like you can’t take another step. 


Now, let me tell you. This trio of characteristics is difficult to come by.

And you may not come by support, transparency and accountability all in one person. In fact, you probably won’t.

That’s why you need a team, because different people have different strengths.

So, though you may have trust issues, you need to prepare for the reality that no human being can be everything to you.

Everyone has different temperament blends and their unique expression of them, making them more suited to some roles than others.


The supportive person may not be the same one who holds you accountable because you can’t schedule overwhelm and her social calendar makes it so she won’t be readily accessible when you need to talk.

Or maybe she is more of a feel good person, who can’t tell you the truth if it’s going to hurt.

She’s the cheerleader who says you can do it! But she won’t tell you the hard things. And guess what? She’s still a necessary piece of the puzzle.

For tough love, you get someone in your circle who is also compassionate, but understands that sometimes you have to hurt someone to help them.

And she’s willing to get her hands dirty—so to speak.

She’s the one you call when you’re tempted to go back to unhealthy ways of coping with your pain because she’ll call it out for what it is, and redirect you to a better alternative, even it means intervening in person.

You know how you ask your child what they want to be when they grow up and the answers change as they get older?

Well, because I’m a doctor, there was a season my daughter thought she wanted to become one.

And while she certainly has the compassion of a good doctor or a nurse and she’s loves helping everyone feel better, she doesn’t have the stomach for the part pain plays in healing.

So I told her how many kids I made cry when I drew their blood for testing or when I placed an IV to rehydrate them or had to do a spinal tap looking for meningitis.

All of those things hurt them, but were necessary to find out how to heal them.

And the look of distress on my girl’s face meant she is unlikely to practice medicine or be the tough love friend.

The friend who will hear your entire “woe is me” story and then come back with—so when is your next therapy appointment?

How are you doing on the homework assignments from your therapist? Oh, and by the way, are you keeping your appointments? Have you skipped any?

Miss Accountability is not the warm fuzzy kind.

She’s going to remind you of the commitment you’ve made to you because, in the end, your healing is the priority.

But everyone in the circle needs to be transparent.

That, as Michelle teases me for saying, is not debatable. Because transparency builds the trust necessary to receive support and accountability.

Beyond that, transparency is also a testimony to the reality that every woman in your circle is healing through something while meeting the responsibilities of life.

You’re watching each other take care of families and go to work. Or run businesses and serve others.

And you know what they’ve been through, what they’re still going through, the thoughts they think, how insecure they still are, and the imposter they believe they are. But you watch them keep going.

There’s power in that perspective.


So putting together a support circle is one key to success in healing. Accepting that not everyone in your circle will play all the roles is another key.

And realizing the circle takes time to develop and may not be ideal is yet another key.

As a retired military wife, I know all about this one. Our boys were preschool age when I left a major friendship circle and I never really managed to create one like it since.

It’s hard enough to make solid friendships when you move regularly, never mind the support circle I’m talking about.

Your circle isn’t just friends you label as support.

Because the reality is your friends may not be safe to tell your story too and don’t want to keep you accountable. Like Cyndi Lauper said, “They just want to have fun.”

And it’s okay to have different categories of relationships.

But healing support is next level and you may not have crossed paths with the women called to your circle yet.

And they may not all be in your city. If you’ve moved like me, someone in your circle may live in a city you moved away from years ago.

So patience, flexibility and remaining open are important, along with remembering you are your biggest cheerleader.

Your circle will not always be accessible in the way you’d like, so you need to learn how to encourage yourself.  

That said, you are created for community.


So, be open to it even though you’ve been traumatized in the past and your tendency is to resist connection or be mistrusting of people.

Part of healing is the realization you can’t do it by yourself.

Soul healing is a marathon and you need people standing alongside the path providing the relationship equivalent of water and energy snacks while encouraging you to keep going. To stay on pace.

You don’t need them at mile one, but you sure appreciate them round about mile 15.

I hope between this episode and the last one, called Protect Your Peace, you have a new perspective on why new seasons require a new circle.

And even if it’s taking a while to come together, as it is for me, it’s still worth it.

If you’d like to explore this further, check out the homework section in the show notes for this episode at motherhoodunmasked.com/episode67.

Don’t let the term homework scare you. It’s just the witty way I refer to the work you do to build your home and family—starting with you.

If you’re interested in Michelle McKinney’s Vision Board Playbook, I’ll be sure to link to her info in the show notes as well. Just go to motherhoodunmasked.com/episode67.

But before you go, please remember. When it comes to being the mother of your children, you are the woman for the job. Get that village to support you, okay? Take care.

***For more from Dream Architect and life coach, Michelle McKinney, catch up with her on Instagram.

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.

This Episode’s Homework

Need Help to Heal?

Therapeutic Tools

If you’re working through any kind of loss, the journal My Journey Through Grief and Loss helps you acknowledge the significance of your loss while honoring the memories you’ll always cherish.

And if you meet with a counselor or a coach, you need a journal to keep track of session breakthroughs and aha moments in between sessions. A copy of My Reflections Journal for guided post-session review would be perfect for you.

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.

For encouraging bi-monthly emails and exclusive access to practical resources that help YOU shine, tap “COUNT ME IN.”

The Motherhood Unmasked Journal

A Journal Worth Your Story

160 pages waiting for you to fill it with the struggles and the wins on your motherhood journey!

And she’s pretty coming and going! Available on Amazon.

Got A Minute to Pray?

Got A Minute to Pray? Prayer channel on YouTube featuring prayers about a minute long written and read by Vanessa A. Harris.

New “PrayerTube” channel on YouTube

Features prayers about a minute long written and read by Vanessa. Start your week off right, with a prayer on Monday mornings. Because prayer changes things and you have a minute to spare.

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