I didn’t need to be married to a man to make a baby and I sure didn’t need to marry one to change my name.
I did so because I could. But also because….
As I progressed down the baby path solo, I wanted to share with others what I had learned. In doing so, I found myself writing a book. My first draft was a how-to-guide which was a wonderful way to avoid all the real stuff that was going on. So I attempted a complete rewrite but a bunch of stuff lurking in the shade was preventing me from sharing the real story with the honesty it deserved. It was bogged down under a blanket of SHAME.
After wrestling with SHAME, trying to reason with it and even manipulate it so I didn’t have to confront it, I realised it wasn’t ever going to budge. It was hitching a ride whether I liked it or not and was truly screwing with my story. I finally decided to face it front on.
I stood eye to eye with SOCIAL SHAME which showed up through:
Embarrassment – I had to have a baby without a loving partner?!! WTF?!
Fear – I really don’t want to do this on my own!
Humiliation – No man chose me or thought I was worthy to have his baby.
Judgement – What are people going to think and say?
Oh wait! There’s more…..
Icky, ugly, dark FAMILY SHAME.
When I was a little girl my father attempted suicide and my then little brother found him in a pool of blood. My Dad didn’t pass away for another 20 years and to this day, the trauma of that event has deeply rocked our family core. My mother refers to this pain as “a living jail sentence.” As a result, SHAME found a way to not only grow and survive in our family, it thrived in the silence.
As I continued to write my book and my precious baby was gearing up to enter this world, I decided they both weren’t going to be under the Chapman name. A name that, for me, represents one of darkness….sadness…emptiness. My newborn baby didn’t need this heavy load and my book is reflective of who I am now, not who I was.
Squaring up with SHAME I realised the only way to eradicate it was to shine a light on it. So I did.
By doing so, my life-long darkness, guilt, and pain slowly melted away. You could say, opening up about my ‘rogue pregnancy path’, pushed SHAME into the spotlight, and the moment it was unveiled and shaken out of my shadow, it lost ALL its power. It no longer had the oxygen it so desperately needed to exist.
All my uncertain thoughts I had about having a baby solo disappeared and I no longer felt like I was the same person prior to doing so. I unhitched myself from our family’s burden, what other people think of me and my own thoughts about what I wanted my life to look like and what it actually does look like.
I’m strong enough to stand up to the bullies and naysayers; Shame. Judgement. Fear. (And the rest). Sure they’ll always be lurking in the darkness waiting to pounce, but with name and SHAME at rest, I feel free to live MY life on MY terms and no-one else’s!
I also think….
A name holds and radiates energy. It’s a label that represents how we’re seen in the world. And right now my wide-eyed little guy and I are busy painting a light, bright, breezy picture to go alongside our fresh, new story as the Hendo’s.