Episode 69 Help A Sista Out

No one likes to bleed all over people. And when you first start counseling and old wounds reopen, you may feel like you’re doing just that.

So, except for your support circle, you hold back a lot.

But as your wounds heal, is there a way to serve from your scars? Does it make you an imposter? Does your story even matter?

Let’s talk about it.

The Motherhood Unmasked podcast with Vanessa A. Harris Episode 69 Help A Sista Out

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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?


One lie of Imposter Syndrome, in fact the lie, is that before you have any right to speak on a topic, you should have some piece of paper certifying you’re qualified to do so.  

And while it is true, there are fields where someone should not be giving advice if they are not trained.


There is something to be said for the school of life and having gone through an experience or set of experiences, where they have become your teacher.  

And if it’s true, as I often say, that mistakes are learning opportunities in disguise. And if it’s true, that what happens to you can be made to work for you.  

Then that means there’s an opportunity for those encounters to teach you about who you are and who you can become.

And with that, you absolutely have the privilege of sharing that information with others.  

Because the things that you go through are not just for you.  


As I’ve said before, you are made for community. We like to think of that in terms of cheerleading sessions focused on celebrating the highs, but there are others, especially in your support circle, who benefit from your lows.

The experiences you learned in your lows that you share with someone else, so she doesn’t have to go through what you did.  

It’s what you do with your children.

You teach them out of your experience because you know they are going to make mistakes, but you want them to make new ones, while learning how they can avoid yours.

And so when you think of your journey to healing from childhood trauma and present day traumas, it’s not that you have to arrive before you can share what you’ve discovered with someone else.

You can share it along the way.  


Because you’re not telling it from a standpoint of “I’m good now. I have it altogether, so I can tell you what to do.”

No. You’re offering it as a heads up because you’re a little further down the road than her, so you can tell her where the speed bumps are and the stop signs you ran through because you didn’t see them.  

Simply because you’re further down the road than her, even though you’re both still on the journey and have not reached your destination. 


There’s a guy named Simon who was famous for running his mouth (see Luke 22:31-34, 56-62). He was always the first one to answer a question, to offer his opinion, and to make glowing declarations of loyalty.  

And one day his esteemed friend said to him, “Here’s the thing, Simon. Something’s going to happen to me that will challenge you to show up like you’re promising, but you’re going to let me down and act like you don’t even know me.”

“And when you realize there’s a guy in you who’s different from the guy you claim to be, it’s going to rock your world. Shame will so overwhelm you, you’re going to fall off the grid.”

“You’re going to walk away from me, this band of brothers and everything we’ve built together.”

“But I’m praying that won’t be the end of your story, Simon. And when you heal from the trauma of it all, I want you to come back and strengthen your brothers.”

When I think about that exchange, I think about you.

Maybe you didn’t betray someone and traumatize yourself in the process like Simon did, but we all run into something that traumatizes us.  

You and I ran into it when we were kids.

And the idea is now that you’re facing it, you will not stay the same. You’re not going back to who you were before the trauma, you’re becoming the person you were always meant to be.  


And as you head toward that person, your next move is to share what you’ve learned with your sisters.

Why? Because you’ll be strong enough to do it and they need to hear it.

It’s what we do in the group of women I met almost 20 years ago.

When we bounce back from a setback, if nothing else, we share the life lesson with each other in a group text.

And it never fails to be exactly what some of us needed to hear.

The event or the ongoing trauma that labeled you worthless, insecure, and broken.

The identity, like a mat you once rested on, you’ll eventually have the strength to pick it up and carry it.


Then you can hold it up as a part of your story—not what defines you.  

The trauma that was once larger than life to you now fits in your hand. Because you let it grow you, along with the courage to share what you learned with others.  

So don’t minimize the importance of your healing journey by thinking it’s just for your benefit. It’s bigger than you. And sharing dispels the narrative that you are a victim.

Something you once thought would be the end of you now becomes an opportunity to give life to someone else.  

That’s beauty out of the ashes left by your trauma. 


At some point, you’ll run into a woman who’s not as far down the road as you. She’ll tell you what she’s going through because she senses you’ll understand.  

And you’ll be equipped to encourage her with something you didn’t have in your tool belt until a few months ago when somebody shared it with you.  

And just like in the movie Pay It Forward, you have the privilege of passing it on.  

You’re not trying to fix anybody. You’re not a therapist. But such as you have, you give to help a sista out.


It helps her know one of us made it to the other side.

And there’s power in a testimony inspiring another woman to say no to a cycle of trauma threatening her children’s future. 

And speaking of children, your children are the main ones who should hear about your breakthroughs.  

They don’t need the excruciating details about the trauma, but they sure need the lessons learned from it.

How you navigate negative events along with the people and tools instrumental in that. 


When I first started counseling, my therapist recommended a book titled Making Peace with Your Past. Early in the book, there are many self-reflective questions she knew would make a good starting point for our sessions.  

The book helped me tremendously, but what I found frustrating was how difficult it was to answer several of the questions because I’m so far removed from the memories of the wounded little girl who, it turns out, has been in the driver’s seat much of my adult life.  

And that’s a big reason, aside from the book being so insightful, that I bought a copy for everyone in my house.  

Because why not give my children the tools to process baggage they’ve already picked up, while it’s still fresh in their hearts, rather than waiting till they’re way down the road crushed by the weight of it all?

They need to know what to do with their pain now and I’m grateful I could give them a resource that makes their road to freedom shorter than mine.  


This podcast is another way I share, though I have not arrived. I still have therapy sessions and I am a work in progress, just like you.

They are things I notice in my responses to my children and I think to myself, where did that come from?  

Then when I unpack it, I realize it’s residue from my own childhood trauma that I need to confront with curiosity. And many of the gems I’ve discovered, I’ve shared with you.  

Because my passion is for moms to own their legacy.

Your sphere of influence shaping the lives of those shaping future generations. And that’s heady stuff.

It’s true for you, no matter the details of your past or your present feelings of unworthiness. 


So sharing is serving and there’s nothing imposter about that. 

Now it’s up to you how much you share. You don’t have to start a podcast. This podcast is another expression of my call to support the health of families.  

You don’t need a microphone to serve others, nor do you need to be an open book.

What about sharing a book that helped you or an Instagram page that inspires you or a link to a website with great resources? 

You’re just sharing tips like a great deal you found out about at your favorite store. 

And doing that, along with a supportive circle, helps build momentum on your healing journey.

Because you recognize you’re not the only one who’s had the experiences you’ve had.  

Knowing you could spare someone else—especially your children—future distress is priceless!  

The work you’re doing to process your past is no small thing. It becomes part of your purpose and your power. 

And if you have a heart to help someone else win along the way, there’s no time to start like the present. 


Oh and our friend, Simon. He baled just like his friend said he would.

But when he finally forgave himself, Simon became the poster child for the comeback kid, telling everyone the good news about his gracious Savior and friend, Jesus. 

The story of what you’ve come through can save someone a lot of heartache. Will you help a sista out? 

Well, I trust this episode inspired you to be the blessing you are. If so, I’d love to hear how in the comments at motherhoodunmasked.com/episode69. That’s also the link where you’ll find the homework if you’d like to go deeper.

Until next time, Mama Bare, share the show with moms you know and please remember. When it comes to you being the mother of your children, you are the woman for the job. 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.

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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