Let’s talk mom shame. I say shame, not guilt, because I subscribe to Brenè Brown’s definitions of both. Shame is a feeling that challenges our worthiness, guilt is our conscience letting us know that we screwed up and spurring us to action. Guilt can be transformative, shame is paralyzing and isolating. One of the best antidotes to shame is to name it and to talk about it. So here I am, talking about my daughter’s hair.
Self forgiveness is not something we hear often in our society, where being hard on ourselves has become something of a humble-brag. As with so many things, this feels like a defense mechanism to beat others to the punch.
But life doesn't move backwards. Life moves forward, and it takes its toll. Pregnancy yes, but also sitting at a desk or running marathons. Car accidents and days at the beach. Cocktails and coffee and cancer and hauling ass to catch the train.
We are at a moment in America where we celebrate minimalism as a class indicator - to live an uncluttered life is to be confident that you can get what you need when you need it. We implicitly and explicitly contrast that with hoarding, a mental illness predicated on the fear that you will be without. And of course, there is no middle ground. You are a minimalist or a hoarder. You live carefree or in shame.
If you’re a teen with ideas that can change the world, WW is here to ensure that instead you destroy your relationship with your body, comply with societal norms, and spend all your brain power figuring out how to get enough to eat without breaking any of its rules.
And I believe, unequivocally, that the way we use stories is one of the most powerful, unspoken tools of white patriarchal supremacy.
Underlying my physical illness was immense guilt that I couldn’t make myself better and that somehow, I had brought this on myself.