Recently, my friend, Kylee sent Baby Beloved her first gift basket. The basket included a stuffed monkey, “Go The F**k To Sleep” book (I love laughing at the name of that book) and “20 Things Adoptive Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew”. When I flipped through the book I noticed the topic of “shame” prevalence. My heart broke feeling my child’s future shame knowing her birth parent’s decision to give her up for adoption.
Over the years, I clothed myself with shame many mornings before I leaving home. I’m not ashamed of my scars, but ashamed about how my body failed me twenty years ago. I’m ashamed of the long term impact my anti-rejection drugs have had on my joints and bones. Every time I think a hospital visit lies in my near future, I cringe with humiliation knowing those expected to step up to plate to help me never will; instead, I am having to lean on others to pick their failures.
Clothed in Shame
When I suffered from appendicitis, I drove myself to the hospital to avoid having to humble myself to friends and ask for their help. I walk in shame knowing that twenty years after my transplant, my body fails its basic purpose – to give life to a child. I am ashamed of how I feel like I have little to offer a future husband (even knowing that I do have so many amazing intangible traits to offer): My body — beautiful in sight; fails me constantly in function. I will fail to give my husband children. I am ashamed that I do not have a family that gets together on holidays or calls to check in when someone in sick. I clothe myself in shame.
As women, we often search our bodies for stretch marks and crow’s feet. But the signs of aging never compare to the internal damage of our shame; as a society, we fail to acknowledge that many of us walk with shame — shame often birthed out of failures in marriage, child rearing, careers and relationships.
Whispers too Deep for Words
What would happen if every time we felt ashamed, we whispered a prayer of forgiveness to ourselves? Giving our inner self permission to forgive all of our failures, preventable or not. Love would happen. Societies ability to self-love and love others would blossom. The future of my child has already begun to change me. How? I am learning how to accept the things I cannot change about my body, but taking pride in how strong it has been to bring me this far. Every morning, I choose to NOT dress myself in shame. I choose gratefulness for learning this lesson because one day…I can teach it to my daughter. Hopefully, I can inspire some other women to teach it to themselves.