Rebecca Ching didn’t think she wanted children, until she realised she could build a different kind of family than the one she’d known when she was little. But creating a family came at a cost: Rebecca’s body told her in no uncertain terms that her previously work-focused life had to change dramatically for her to be the business owner, partner and mother she wanted to be.
A few years into parenting and after the birth of their son, Rebecca and her husband learned that their daughter was on the autism spectrum. In that moment, everything shifted again towards finding the best support for their sweet girl and for themselves. It was a bumpy road of shifting relationships, grieving lost friendships and reassessing of every aspect of their lives. But it was made smoother by their absolute conviction that they, and no one else, knew best what their daughter needed.
They became super intentional about the way they were spending their time, with whom and how they were going to lead their family. There were years of intense loneliness as they felt around to find the people who supported them the way they needed to be helped (and not how other people told them they should want), and found ways of showing up fully in difficult moments with their daughter.
Working with Brené Brown’s research on shame and becoming trained in The Daring Way was key to Rebecca developing shame resilience and being able to navigate the excruciating situations she’d often find herself in.
In this conversation that could have gone on for days, Rebecca and I talk about the insidiousness of comparative suffering, the lies shame tells us to keep us safe, and how deepening isolation makes we mamas so vulnerable. We touch on the tendency so many of us have to numb the tough feelings through service, through being there all the time for others, until we can’t maintain it anymore.
Rebecca explains how shame, trauma and grief are all intertwined, and how there’s no way to avoid the loneliness of our path as humans learning how to be on this planet. When she talked about the thousand little traumas we all live on a daily basis, I could feel it in my body. The tiny misunderstandings, the glancing blows, the disappointments. They combine to create wounds all over our hearts and souls, and eventually our bodies will scream for us to stop.
The invitation to rethink how we’re doing life, and to face into shame and the feelings associated with it, is a precious one. Rethink who and what is in your life. How you fill your days. Where you’re going and whom you’re going there with. Really. Because streamlining your life might prevent a bigger breakdown.
When you’ve listened to this episode, go to our Virtual Village to tell us what you thought. I’d love to talk to you about this episode, your experience as an (expat) mama and how shame and isolation have played a part in your life.
To learn more about Rebecca and her work, or steep in some of her wisdom, look for her here:
Different books Rebecca mentions:
Brené Brown: Braving the Wilderness
The Body Keeps the Score: Dr Bessel van der Kolk
Brené Brown: Rising Strong
Brené Brown: Daring Greatly
Here are the podcast episodes I mention during our conversation:
Talking to my daughter: https://www.mamafuel.me/blog/ep038
Glyniss Trinder on running away to find herself: https://www.mamafuel.me/blog/ep036-glyniss-trinder
Julie Liebermann-Neale on living her E.P.I.C. life: https://www.mamafuel.me/blog/ep035-julie-neale
Leslie Potter on radical self-forgiveness: https://www.mamafuel.me/blog/ep007-leslie-potter