Bethany Webster is a writer, international speaker and transformational coach. Through blending research on intergenerational trauma, feminist theory, and psychology with her own personal story, Bethany’s work is the result of decades of research and her own journey of healing.

450: Relisten: How To Heal the Mother Wound (290) [452]

Bethany Webster

Why is it such a commonly held belief that the more you self-sacrifice, the better of a mother, wife, and person you are? Where did this notion even come from?

Why do women feel badly when we set boundaries or take care of our needs?

If you’re looking to understand some of the deeper causes of our struggles as women, check out this podcast episode. In this episode I talk to Bethany Webster, author of “Discovering the Inner Mother,” about our inherited cultural beliefs, how the Mother wound affects our lives, how to lean into healing, and looking to the past to change the future.

Relisten: How To Heal the Mother Wound - Bethany Webster (290) [452]

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Hunter: Hey there, it's Hunter, and welcome to Throwback Thursday. Most Thursdays, we are going to re release one of my favorite episodes from the archives. So unless you're a longtime listener of the show, there's a good chance you haven't heard this one yet. And even if you had, chances are that you are going to get something new listening to it this time around.

[00:00:18] Bethany Webster: Because when you put someone else's needs before yours, your own, there's incredible resentment and exhaustion that happen. It's just cause and effect. But there was this illusion around it that You know, this is how you get love. This is how you get seen as good. So I think we're really at this point where many of us are seeing that we have to decouple this.

We have to pull this apart, that our worth and our goodness can no longer be hooked upon how much we deplete ourselves.

[00:00:50] Hunter: You're listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode number 290. Today we're talking about how to heal the mother wound with Bethany Webster.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Parenting, we know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 25 years, I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course, and I'm the author of the international bestseller, Raising Good Humans, and now, Raising Good Humans Every Day, 50 Simple Ways to Press Pause, Stay Present, and Connect with Your Kids. Welcome back to the Mindful Mama podcast.

This is an amazing episode, I'm so glad you are here. Thank you so much for listening. Woot, woot. Can you believe we have 290 episodes? Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. In just a moment though, I'm going to be sitting down with Bethany Webster, a writer, international speaker, and transformational coach. And she has blended research on intergenerational trauma, feminist theory, and psychology with her own personal story.

And she talks about The Mother Wound, and Mother Daughter Relationships, et cetera, and you know, it's like, we talk about this really commonly held belief that the more you self sacrifice, the better of a mother, a wife, and a person you are, and where does this belief come from, and why do we feel so bad when we set boundaries and take care of our needs, you know?

We need to talk about these issues. It's so important. And so. Bethany and I do this and I'm inviting you along on the journey. These inherited cultural beliefs and how they can really constrict us. So I want you to look for some important takeaways, how, you know, our culture really perpetuates some damaging beliefs.

We're going to talk about what the mother wound is and how it affects your self image and that the best thing we can do for our children is to heal our own. Mother Wounds by Finding Our Inner Mother. So, this is all about the mama. And I don't think I got anything else to say to you today. Yeah, this is going to be a powerful episode.

I think we should dive right into it. But you know, this is the work that we do. So, good for you for being here because when you invest this time, into taking care of ourselves, understanding, growing our perspective and learning about these things, the better we are as people for our kids, you know, in this relationship with our kids.

So let's do it. Let's dive right in. Join me at the table as I talk to Bethany Webster. Bethany, for coming on the Mindful Mama podcast. Thanks for having me, Hunter. I'm excited to talk to you. Um, uh, and okay, so let's just dive into this because it's such a, it's such a loaded title, your book and the work that you, you, you have.

Um, so you talk about, and you have wrote, written a book about healing the mother wound. So what is, what is the mother wound? I mean, it's, I, I feel like, you know, well, you just tell me because I have no idea. I'm really curious. 

[00:04:23] Bethany Webster: Yeah, it is. It's a, it's a very interesting phrase and it can be spark curiosity, but also can spark a little bit like,Oh no, that just sounds so intense.

[00:04:33] Bethany Webster: Um, so yeah, I started talking about this term back in 2013 and it organically just emerged as I was doing a lot of deep work, um, on my own, I had been in therapy myself, like, you know, 15 years at that point, um, but I had had, I experienced so many insights about the intersection between mothers and daughters, which is something that we don't talk about a lot, you know, even just.

You know, I think women generally have, well, can have ambivalent relationships with their mothers, you know, adult women and their mothers. Um, it can be tense at times, but not a lot of people talk about that. Um, and also, but it's a really this place I've discovered where there's a lot of pain and a lot of patterns that tend to hold us back.

And that our resistance to looking at our relationships with our mothers can actually, um. Cause us to kind of perpetuate painful things. Um, so I, I was really curious about this topic. Um, and I started defining the mother wound around, like I said, 2013. I define it, um, as having four levels. So there's the personal level, the cultural, the spiritual level, and the planetary level.

So I say there's four levels of the mother wound. Um, so as you can see, there's, it's, it's, it is, it's a complex, uh, big concept. Within that though, the, the most important is the personal mother wound. And just to answer your question, the mother wound is really an internalized set of beliefs and patterns.

that we develop as we grow up. Um, and those patterns are really those that originate from the dynamics with our mothers, right? So, um, and the reason why it's wound, it's a mother wound is because the mother wound, as I see it, is a by product of patriarchy, right? Um, and what I mean by that is just in the most broadest sense, That we live in a culture that still sees women as less than, generally.

So, to describe this motherhood, we really have to look at the cultural atmosphere in which mothers and daughters, you know, in which women grow up. Um, so, it's like our needs are, when we're little girls and, and children, our needs for love, safety, and belonging, which are our most primitive human needs. Um, and we need our mothers, right?

Our mothers are the primary person that we bond with early in life to develop, right? And in the course of that, we also absorb from our mothers, um, whatever degree to which she's had to limit herself, right? To survive as a woman in our culture, to survive, um, you know, the constant messages we get from media and education and different places.

That say that women are limited. So if you had to put it in a nutshell, the mother wound is really how we not only bond with our mothers and whatever intergenerational trauma she's also gone through herself, but it's the way that we actually bond with patriarchal views that say that we're not good enough, that we're less than.

And many mothers pass that along to their daughters out of an innocent sense of trying to keep them safe in a world that doesn't value women as much as men. So things like, don't rock the boat, don't be too big, don't speak too loud, don't want too much. Put other people's needs before yourself. These are ways to get approval in the culture.

These are ways to be seen as good. And so to some degree, you know, we can't avoid this because it's really in the air that we breathe. Um, so in order to help their daughters survive, mothers will pass this along as well. So it's, um, it's a combination really of culture and human development. and Intergenerational Trauma.

It's the intersection of many of these things.

[00:08:39] Hunter: Okay. There's so much there. Wow. Um, I just want to pull out one piece that you said. I mean, I'm nodding my head to all of these things and these messages and these wounds that we have. Don't rock the boat. Put others before yourself. And I want to pull out, put others before yourself because that is my biggest hip heave.

It drives me crazy. It's so stupid. It doesn't make any sense because not only if you're not getting your own needs met, like, are, you know, not only do you feel miserable and are, are, you know, not a fully, you know, evolved human being, but if you're not, if you're always putting others needs before yourself, you don't have anything to give.

Like, it's, it's bad in both ways. Um, yeah, yeah. Can you tell me a little bit more about some of these, or even that one in particular? 

[00:09:34] Bethany Webster: Yeah, it's a great idea to pull that one out because it is a big one and it's been modeled for us, like for generations of women, it's been modeled that that's how to, like the most desirable women are seen as, you know, the most yielding, the most selfless, the most, um, giving.

Um, and. When I think about that particular point, I go back to, I think about like mothers in the 50s, you know, or the 40s or the 50s, where women didn't have many opportunities outside of the home. They really were in the home, like almost prisoners of the house. So they had to put everyone, you know, they had to take care of children.

They had to cook all the meals. They had to clean. They didn't have many opportunities in a career sense. So this, this has deep roots, right? And many of our mothers and grandmothers. May have had no choice, but you know, the home was where the, the women had power. So, this ability to give other people things to put, you know, it's like that power was also their oppression.

So, what I'm just illustrating is that this has deep roots, a deep history for us. And, but now I think what you said is very important. I think in this generation, we're really seeing that that's literally impossible because when you put someone else's needs before yours, your own, there's incredible resentment and exhaustion that happen.

It's just cause and effect. But there was this allusion around it that You know, this is how you get loved. This is how you get seen as good. So I think we're really at this point where many of us are seeing that we have to decouple this. We have to pull this apart that are worse than our, our, yeah, our worthiness.

Our goodness can no longer be hooked upon how much we deplete ourselves, um, and, and, and make ourselves, um, kind of silence and erase ourselves in our relationships. Um, because it doesn't work, it creates more turmoil, but there was this illusion, I think, built out of necessity for many generations of women that, you know, the only place they had power was as a wife and a mother in a situation of giving.

Um, and so we're, we're kind of outgrowing that, thankfully, many of us are. are waking up to that, but not without conflict, right? When we, there are some people who still literally believe this and they could be our, our bosses or our spouses or who still have an unconscious belief that a woman has a place below me.

She's supposed to serve and be helpful. And so when a woman doesn't play that role primarily, um, it can be very threatening. And, um, even for mothers, like I know some women I've talked to who, when they don't. You know, they might have inherited that belief in their family, but when they don't, you know, live that way, they might live in, along different values, like my, my well being is just as important as others.

Um, a mother of an adult daughter can actually get very offended. Like, that's the value I lived by. Like, who do you think you are to just reject that and live in a different way? You're rejecting my whole life, my whole way of how I raised you. And so you can see how there can be some unconscious tension that can come up when we might reject the values we may have inherited from the culture and from our families, but how deeply necessary it is to reject these, some of these values, like putting other people before yourself, um, in order to change the legacy for the next generation, right?

Where Young girls and our young daughters need to see women who don't live by that, you know?

[00:13:31] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

Yeah, yeah, I mean, you, you talked about the idea that this, you, you, thinking back to the 1950s, I mean, you think back to like, I don't know. You know, the 1800s, the 1500s, like women were property. They literally were less valuable than men. And so that value was in what they could give to men and give to offspring, right?

Like, and so it's servitude. Yeah. Yeah. Servitude. And it, I think that's a really interesting, like the way you You, you talk about that, you know, and the way that, you know, this idea that, you know, our worthiness can no longer be hooked on how we deplete ourselves, but to, I mean, to hear what Bethany's saying here, that this idea that I should be putting everyone's needs before my own, that's, that is tied to a, a legacy of servitude.

You know, is that what we want? I mean, I think people don't, we don't realize like we may feel like, we may feel like. Uncomfortable, when I say, this is what I need, right now, it may feel uncomfortable, but a lot of people aren't, don't understand maybe why, why does that feel uncomfortable? And it really is very deep.

What was, for you, what were those, some of those personalized? Like internal beliefs and patterns that you had to, you were, you were working on unwinding. 

[00:15:06] Bethany Webster: Yeah, absolutely. Mine were very much of that ilk. Like when I was a child, um, I very much had to grow up fast. So I actually never, for many decades, I never really identified as a child.

I always was like a little adult. So I was like, my, my mom's kind of emotional supporter. And, um, I played the role of like a good girl, the family mediator. Um, I became, as I grew, like an overachiever, um, people pleaser kind of adaptations. And, um, it was around the time I was in college. But I actually kind of hit a breaking point with that.

I started to, I thought to myself that I had, you know, like a really normal family, but I started to have like panic attacks and feeling deeply depressed and I couldn't figure out why. Like it, I just couldn't understand it, but I got into therapy and, um, and at the time my therapist was like, you know, let's talk a bit about your relationship with your mother, your family.

I didn't even want to talk about it because it was so threatening to me. Um. And it took me years, I mean, probably like five years to even get to look at that. I was looking at kind of surface issues, you know, like career or body image stuff that I was dealing with, food, but nothing about my family of origin.

But I began to see though that I had to look at that if I wanted to heal and, and grow beyond the symptoms I was having. So. Um. Once I did have the courage, I started to have so many light bulbs go off in my mind, like, oh my gosh, this is what has really been at the core, which was the beliefs about myself that I had internalized related to how my mother treated me, um, which was as her servant, you know?

And so there were some real unspoken contracts, what I call them, where I didn't know that my mother actually, and my whole family too, this was all unconscious. But there were some unspoken expectations of me, as a female, that I was to take care of everyone, that I wasn't to really have my own differing or contrasting values.

Like, it was just that I was gonna be kind of the, the good girl that takes care of everyone and agrees with everyone. So it was around the time I was 27, and I actually started to become really conscious of all this, and I said, I wanted to kind of talk to my mom and see if we could just test the waters and see if we could have kind of a different dynamic.

Because I was really, at that point, I had been doing so much personal growth that a lot of areas of my life had really gotten better and I was feeling more empowered. And I thought, you know, the dysfunction in that relationship was so, it became more painful with time. So I was like, I really want, this feels like it's the old way.

I want to bring this to the new level. And, um, what happened was. Really tough, because my mother was just like, rejected that entirely. Because I was like, I want us to be more equals, like more on the same footing. Um, I want to be closer with you. Like, it feels like I'm just kind of your, you know, underling and, and she was so offended and she took it as a total attack, like, and I, it became so clear that kind of like what we talked about earlier, that in her world view.

It's like what she did for her mother was to be silent about her feelings and just please her mother. And so it was like by the time she had a daughter, it was like, Oh, it's now her turn to be served. You know what I mean? So I, and I got to the point where I'm like, I'm not going to do that. I could literally feel that my health was at stake if I continued in that dynamic of being silenced, being erased, being disrespected, not being allowed to have boundaries.

Um, just basic enmeshment. You know, I was really enmeshed with my mom. 

[00:19:05] Hunter: Can you define enmeshment for people who don't understand what that is?

[00:19:07] Bethany Webster: Yeah, sure. Enmeshment's just kind of another way of saying codependency, which means that kind of like two people are not allowed to be individuals. They kind of have an identity that's shared in which, um, it's not really safe to be individuals.

Right. a separate kind of individual. Um, and there's a lot of people had that have written much more articulately about it than me, but, um, I think it was because of my mother's own pain. She saw me as almost like a little mother that she could get her needs met through me. And, but that required such a loss of self for me, you know, so.

I think, um, you know, dynamics are different between mothers and daughters. This is just my story. There's many different versions and expressions of this. But it's just an example of how, as women, um, in, in a lineage of women, that there's certain expectations. And I'd like to say it's like love or power.

You know, sometimes, uh, there's this bind where it's like, if I am my full self, and I always sense this actually, you know, as a young woman, it's like, if I'm really my full self, I'm going to lose people. Um, and that's actually what happened. It was like the one time I set a boundary with my mother, she discarded me because it was the ultimate, it was the ultimate betrayal was to attempt to have personhood in that relationship.

Um, so for women, I think that's why I talk about patriarchy, you know, people say, well, why do you talk about that? Why is that part of it? It's because it's really that larger lens. That we need to look at things through to get to kind of the deeper root of why pain passes through families. It's not just the family unit.

It's also this larger kind of socio cultural, I mean, there's so many layers to it, but I think when we have more insight into that, we can have more, um, capacity to transform it.

[00:21:07] Hunter: Absolutely. Yeah. Oh, this is amazing. I mean, this is what we talk about, like, in mindful parenting. Yeah. It teaches, like, the, the transforming these generational patterns.

And we can't transform anything until we can see them, right? Until we have this awareness of them. And I love that you're bringing this awareness to this. You know, this will be interesting because my mom listens to all these podcasts. Hi, mom. And, uh, and, and, and we have such a very different dynamic. And I'm so familiar with the Um, self sacrificing mom thing because I have so many women who come to, who come to Mindful Parenting who have that, but I personally didn't have that.

idea in my head at all. Cause I don't, I mean, I think my mom was like, maybe a little bit of a people pleaser, but she took care of herself. Like, yeah. Cause she had was in that generation of like, you can be a nurse or a teacher. And she was a nurse, but, but she also did like, you know, and dear listener, if you heard this before, I'm sorry, but she like, you know, she She went and did horseback riding lessons for herself and we were living on her nurse's salary.

Like horseback riding is an expensive sport, but there was no, it was just like, I deserve to do something that, you know, there was no like clear, you know, enunciation of this. But yeah, I realized like in my thirties was like, she did this thing for herself. You know, there was never any question of her value, whether she deserved to do this or not.

[00:22:36] Bethany Webster: None of that. No struggle around that.

[00:22:37] Hunter: No struggle around that. It was just like, this is what I'm doing. And she dove deeper into it and she always took care of herself in that way. And I realize now through working with so many other people who didn't have the example of a mom who takes care of himself, how Empowering that was for me to just like, well, no, my needs matter.

When I came into this situation where I have a small child and I have to take care of myself, like that was one of the first instincts I had was like, oh my gosh, I need to be taking care of myself. I need to have a little break. Away from this experience, you know, so like

[00:23:12] Bethany Webster: fill your own well,

[00:23:14] Hunter: yeah, exactly.

So, um, but it's interesting because that, that people pleaser thing is the same, that good girl idea, that idea that we have to, you know, we should be pleasing everybody else is so big and so huge for, for everybody and, um, and, um, yeah, it's like that

[00:23:35] Bethany Webster: comes from the culture. Yeah. Yeah. If we had moms like yours, like really.

Didn't necessarily live by that, which is so, thank goodness that there are women like your mom who, who really didn't struggle with that and could model that for you. But even women like you who don't have that personal, you know, level, that cultural piece is still, you know, like it comes at you.

[00:23:56] Hunter: It's oppressive.

It's crazy. The, the, the fear of being selfish. It's really, really huge for, for so many of us and, um, it, you know, yeah, I don't, I don't know. Like, so there's these, the cultural levels, there's the personal level, there's the spiritual level. You know, are you guys good now? I mean, did she ever come around? 

[00:24:21] Bethany Webster: Oh, no, no, she didn't.

My mom actually just, she was just, uh, just experienced a lot of trauma in her own life. So she was dealing with. You know, a lot. So she didn't have the capacity, you know, the resilience just wasn't there. Um, and so actually to speak about this, the, the spiritual level, it's like actually going through that experience was so helpful for me spiritually in a way because it was like, um, I got to have the physical experience that of my mother rejecting me, like a person who, you know, gave me life and was supposed to kind of be.

Always there, just completely dropped me. And it was like, wow. Um, it was such a powerful learning experience of kind of surrendering to a deeper trust, right? Like, um, in life itself, like opening up to, wow, I survived that. And, and, um, it just made me really, really strong and really, um, and really passionate about sharing this, this kind of work with other women because.

I thought to myself afterwards, like, what if I never tried to set a boundary with her? I mean, the risk was very high. Um, in my case, um, I did lose my family, but, um, I could have actually, it could have been worse in the sense that if I was too scared to set boundaries, I could have really kept myself small for the rest of my life out of that fear and exposed myself to more toxicity.

So it's like, I think for some of us who have families that are more dysfunctional, the stakes are really high to be your true self and to evolve and become more empowered beyond the generation behind you. So I really began to have more respect for this whole journey of how, you know, spirituality and trauma healing intersect, you know, for so many years, I thought I was on two paths, you know, that was in therapy.

And then I was doing spiritual growth, but I realized the more I healed my trauma, it's like they merged into one path. And this is true today. Like even, um, the more spiritual longing and, and kind of surrender I experienced my own life. There'll be another layer of my trauma that will come up for healing.

So it's like, but the more I heal another layer, the more connected I feel with life and with other people and more compassion, more empathy. Um, so I, I feel like, um, they're very much linked when we can face our own suffering and, and have support, you know, with a therapist or some other professional, um, when we're held, when we're deeply held in that way.

We can let go of a lot of the identities and, uh, you know, old, like, patterns that we've taken on to survive dysfunction. We can start to discard that scaffolding, you know, those old, like, for me, the people pleaser and the good girl and, like, overachiever. Like, those, I realized those actually were never who I was.

But I had to put on those masks in order to function inside of that family unit. And the more support I got, the more I've healed, the more I can just shed those identities and feel more secure in this really existential sense that just being, just the fact of being and being able to trust in the present moment, um, that I can do that more and more.

That I don't need these little, you know, They can be grown out of and our identities can expand to even more transpersonal levels. Yay.

[00:28:08] Hunter: That's so beautiful.

[00:28:11] Bethany Webster: You talk about Hard to put all of that into words, you know?

[00:28:14] Hunter: It's a lot of stuff. A lot of words to use. Oh, I love it. So, but you, you talk about, so I'm, I know that there, you know, the listener, like you may be nodding your head along with Bethany going like, Oh my God.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. So you talk about healing this mother wound by finding. Your inner mother. So who is your inner mother and how can, how can, how can she help us heal?

[00:28:39] Bethany Webster: Yeah, exactly. Um, the way I like to start talking about the inner mother is to just mention this term, the mother gap, because they go together.

So the mother gap is basically just looking at whatever you needed when you were young, um, that you didn't get. So all of us have some degree of right? Um, Because our parents are human, and they get to be humans with flaws and their own challenges, of course, so it's not like blaming our parents at all, like that, we're not blaming here, it's just really just taking responsibility for whatever we didn't get, and then, um, and that's in the course I teach, there's a whole section on So that's it.

The Mother Gap, identifying, you know, what you needed, because the real idea here is that whatever we didn't get in this kind of maternal way, like love, attention, affirmation, encouragement, support, mirroring, these are the things that we will project outwards, right, and that we will be looking for, um, and so we can project this need for mothering On to our bosses, our spouses, our kids even.

So the more we can become conscious of it, the more we can cultivate this inner mother, which is really a part of ourselves where we start to show up as a mothering presence for that child in us. that needs that, that holding, that support, that empathy. Um, and so it's, it's kind of a process of inner bonding.

Um, and people started talking about this, you know, in the seventies when the, when the idea of the inner child came, came on the scene. But now even neuroscientists are, are seeing even in the brain that, you know, um, when we do this kind of inner bonding work, we're creating more pathways in the brain, right?

We're not just looping between In these kind of neuro circuits of trauma, like fight, flight, or freeze. We can actually calm. It's almost like you're calming your nervous system and you're creating more possibilities for yourself in the moment. Um, so it's, it's kind of in two parts. I like to say inner mothering is like an everyday thing where we start to connect with our inner child and there's lots of ways to do that, but then it also comes in really handy when we're dealing with our triggers, right?

So we all get triggered from time to time. And so, and I like to tell people that triggers, triggers are. opportunities to heal those early places where we felt unheld and unsafe. Um, so intermothering is basically filling your reservoir of love inside of yourself on a daily basis. And it, it's a cumulative thing that builds over time with consistency, um, where you're less likely to feel like super triggered and you're more likely to be able to stay calm and present with yourself.


[00:31:35] Hunter: Yeah. I mean, this sounds like what we do, right? Like, this sounds like what we do in Mindful Parenting is like this re, re parenting ourselves, like, offering ourselves, you know, those habits that steady the heart, the mind, and the nervous system, right? That, and just like a, uh, you know, uh, a mother should be, right?

It's like that cumulative effect over time of, you know, that compassion that Empathy, or even that being here for you, like, I'm here for you, like, we can do, what I'm hearing from you is that we can do that for ourselves, like, by just being here for all the challenges and the difficulties and the different activations that arise within us.

[00:32:14] Bethany Webster: Absolutely. Absolutely. And sometimes that's like the most profound thing, right? Is I'm with you with this pain. You're not alone in this pain anymore. Like I'm, I'm with you, you know, just saying that to yourself in a moment of deep trigger can, can mean a huge, make a huge difference because when, when we're in those moments or reactivating traumatic moments, The child in us is almost, it's, it's like un, unheld.

So we can act out that way as adults. We can see conflict that isn't there. We can see distortions, you know, and how we perceive things, which can cause all kinds of problems. So this is a skill that can help us to stay calm and, and also be reality based, you know, as much as possible in those moments.

when we're, when we're triggered.

[00:33:07] Hunter: Okay. So yeah, I'm, I'm like that this is, I love this, this idea of, uh, you know, this, this gap between our needs and what needs were, were filled for us as a kid. And, uh, and then, you know, it's interesting, like, You know, you, you mentioned of course that this idea of taking responsibility for whatever we didn't get, and you mentioned it in the context of not blaming, and I think that's so appropriate.

'cause I imagine now as you think of your mother, you know, there's probably a, an incredible recognition of the pain and the needs and the difficulties and the trauma is that she must have had to, to have. Tattooed that on for, for you, right?

[00:33:51] Bethany Webster: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Um, it's like, I like to say that as we go through the process of healing the mother wound, we have compassion for what our mothers could not give us and gratitude for what she could.

Right. And, and so there's no blame. It's just like, because at the end of the day, it's really about capacity. People cannot be beyond the level of consciousness that they are. And ultimately, it's not personal, healing the mother wound is actually ultimately not about our mothers in the end. It's about ourselves and about being able to access our full potential and expand our capacity for love and compassion and creativity and all those wonderful things, right?

But we have to be able to revisit the, the, the wound. I like to say that, you know, the healing is inside the wound. The wound is really the answer. If we want to unlock this, how we create suffering for ourselves and others, we have to go to that original place. where we were victims, right? Because we were children.

And so if we can face that magnitude and grieve, right? There's a grief, grieving that has to happen. Um, that we can move beyond it in a really authentic way that includes compassion and acceptance. But I think too many people, I would love to see our culture mature in this way where we can start to have respect for, because it's very threatening, you know, to be like, Oh, I have to go back and look at what I went through.

Like, I don't want to do that. That's wallowing. That's despair. That's not going to help me. Um, but actually. Um, we have to, we can't move forward if we don't know what we're moving forward from, right? So it becomes about support and really getting the kind of support where we can be held as we do that deeper work so that we can ultimately move forward in like a really lasting way.

[00:35:50] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

Yeah. And you have to make conscious what you're dealing with. Like you can't deal with stuff that's unconscious, you know, you have to like deal with it and hear it. That's what we do in the second module of Mindful Parenting is we look at how we were parented. It, like, makes a difference. You know, it makes such a huge difference.

It's interesting as we talk about this. I think maybe if I had to, like, analyze myself in the context of this, I would say that I have, like, more of a father wound. You know, like, I had all those challenges and issues with my father and, you know, there had to be a big a place of like, like reconciliation and forgiveness for me, for him, you know, in, in our, our relationship is damaged for a long time.

Um, but, um, but yeah, I mean, just to see the, the suffering of our, our, you know, to, we can't, you know, deal with what we can't see. So we have to look back. We have to take those brave steps to, to look back and see what was that really like? How did I feel, you know, and, and, um, And, you know, we know that that memory is uncertain and distorted and all of those different things, but when we can look back with compassion for ourselves and compassion for the suffering of our parents, because nobody acts badly if they're not feeling badly, right?

[00:37:19] Bethany Webster: Like, yeah, and I think compassion for our parents Authentic, like I'm talking about because there's a lot of pressure even from psychologists. I see it still and it just breaks my heart, but there's a lot of people who encourage folks to go right to compassion for their parents, like, you know, and it's like a way of bypassing the pain.

I think we have to have compassion. for ourselves first. We have to, that's part of actually growing up, I think, is we have to show up for the little girl or the little boy that we were and say, I'm here for you now. You know, I'm sorry that happened to you. Your suffering is legitimate, it's valid, your feelings all make sense, and I'm here for you now.

We have to put ourselves first, and then work through that, and then I think we, we all, we get there. We get there with our parents, but we can't rush. The rushing is really a fear. It's like the little child in us, the saying, I don't want to look at how I was powerless back then, because that could, I could get stuck in that powerless place.

There's a fear. If I really look, it's just going to take over my life, but it's, it's actually not that way. It's like, we actually get our power there. You know, when we, when we have the support and we do the deep looking at and grieving of what we went through, that wasn't our fault. Um, we have to look at that victimhood place, that, that powerlessness, because if we don't, we create powerless feelings in our lives, in our relationships and in our.

You know, so it's like we have to kind of grieve that original powerlessness. And, um, then we can show up in our strength in a true adult place to sit, to look at our parents in a new way. So it's like we have to become that parent to ourselves, like you said, and then we can look at our parents, not as children that are terrified still, but as true mature adults.

Yeah. Yeah. Does that make sense? 

[00:39:16] Hunter: No, it makes a lot of sense. Like, there's, you know, for me, that process of having compassion and forgiveness for my father. It, there was a whole lot in between, like, there was a lot of like, I was really angry for a really long time and, you know, and there was, uh, definitely like a, a grieving and all the frustration and all the different things, like, that was all there too.

So I don't want to make it sound like, you know, and I, you are absolutely right. Like you need, you know, it's okay. It's you're, you're okay. You know, we're allowed to feel angry. We're allowed to feel. Frustrated. You know, women are told, like, be people pleasers, be the good girls, all those things. Like, and so we're all afraid to have any aggression or anger and all of that stuff and, and that.

Not being able to acknowledge or look at her aggression and anger is so, so toxic. It's just like, it's terrible. 

[00:40:09] Bethany Webster: Yeah. Our power is really in that anger and, and, and being able to, to feel it and let it run its course and then, you know. There's a lot of power there. I think that's why for so long women have been shuffled away from it because when women, part of anger is knowing your worth.

It's, it's natural to be angry when you see a violation, right? Or, or, or like an injustice. So we've all experienced some injustice, right? And so part of being a good parent to yourself is feeling the injustice on behalf of the child that you were. Because how can we do that for any other injustice in the world?

Whether it's, you know, Black Lives Matter or, you know, I mean, there's so many injustices we're seeing in the world. If we can't empathize with that child in us, I think it handicaps the way we can show up with a heartful compassion for others.

[00:41:05] Hunter: I love that, that, that idea, like part of your anger is knowing your worth.

That makes, that, that makes so much sense to me. Um, oh wow.

[00:41:15] Bethany Webster: Yeah, cause it's like we can have that fierceness as adult women. This is what I've seen in my, the women I work with. When you have, are able to feel for as long as you need to, the anger about what happened to you as a girl, it's, that's actually part of you embodying that fierce loving mother to yourself.

And then when you go back out into your life as an adult woman. You then are more capable of setting good boundaries, of saying no, of, um, you know, feeling the guilt and doing it anyway. You know what I mean? Like, it's, it's like part of the journey of reclaiming your power is reclaiming that anger. But then it's like a sword in your pocket that you can use.

To cut away any of the excess or the things that don't serve you.

[00:41:59] Hunter: Hmm. The old habit energies, I would say. 

[00:42:01] Bethany Webster: Yeah. The old habit energies that no longer serve you. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so it's like a discernment. It's like anger helps us develop so many of these capacities that help us be more conscious in the world.


[00:42:16] Hunter: Eh. All right. So, as we as p like me as par what can we as parents do to protect our kids from inheriting these, these wounds?

[00:42:30] Bethany Webster: Yeah, I would say the most important thing you can do is work on your own. Uh, you know, people ask me about the mother wound. Work on your own mother wound because the reason why the mother wound is so important in my mind is it's about the self.

The self is modeled on our relationship with our mothers because it's just developmentally how we're set up. So when we're looking at the mother wound, we're looking at all these different areas like about who you are, you know, how you came to be who you are, what's okay, what's not okay, what's acceptable, what's not acceptable.

I mean, it's endless. So, um. Look at your relationship with your mother to get more insight into how, you know, are you holding yourself back? Are you, you know, there's just, you know, what are the situations in your life that are causing you challenges? And then how does that relate to your relationship with your mother?

Um, another, so it's really, that's what I say. If you want to be a really good parent, if you want to become more conscious, if you want to disrupt cycles of, you know, disempowerment in your family, Um, it's, it's really the, we have to look back to look forward and, and the more awareness you have, the more you'll be poised to disrupt those cycles and, and create a new possibility for your children.

And it's all about you because your kids watch you, they absorb you. So it's like seeing parenthood, I guess, as a real powerful personal growth journey and using those triggers to, it's almost like you're digesting the pain of your ancestors. and you're creating, you know, more light, more clarity for your, your, your children.

It's like you're a clearing house. of pain, really. I mean, that's one way of putting it, but it's a sacred, it's a sacred, brave thing that every parent, I have so much respect for parents. I'm actually not a parent myself, but I have so much respect for moms and dads who are really wanting to do this work because it's brave.

I think it's the most empowered, most important work you can do. as a parent is to just be as conscious as you can. And you're going to make mistakes and you aren't going to pass things along, but that's okay. Kids don't need perfect parents. They really just need parents who are on their path, on their path of growth.

And by being on the path, you're going to lighten their load for sure. Yeah. Yeah. You're

[00:44:59] Hunter: going to like that. Definitely. I couldn't agree more. Absolutely. But you know, this interesting, you said this phrase, the clearing house of pain, it sounds like really heavy, but I think what I would What I would, I, in my mind, I equated that to a phrase that my teacher, the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, has said, which is really beautiful, and he says that no mud, no lotus.

Yes. Has the lotus, which is the flower that symbolizes enlightenment, it grows in the mud. And if you're a good organic gardener, you know that what flowers need is poop. They need poop. They need rotten. Yucky vegetables, they need, you know, manure, like they know mud, know lotus without those difficulties, without those pain, pain, the wound, all of that, like without any of that, like there's none of this flowering of awakening of compassion that, that you described.

And, and I firmly believe that. That's beautiful. Yeah.

[00:46:02] Bethany Webster: Thank you so much.

[00:46:05] Hunter: Um, Bethany, this has been so beautiful to talk to you. I really appreciate your sharing your, your journey and your voice and, um, and everything to, to do with this. Um, you said you, uh, your book came out, uh, the night before you had the book release release.

Party, was it the night after or the night before the insurrection at the Capitol?

[00:46:28] Bethany Webster: It was actually, my book event was the night of the insurrection.

[00:46:33] Hunter: Yeah. Oh my goodness. And so, so I just want to, I know we're at the very end of our conversation, but like, I'm really just curious about a little taste of how you talked about that just a little bit.

Can you share? 

[00:46:46] Bethany Webster: Absolutely. Yeah. Luminous about speaking about the mother wound on the night of the insurrection was that, you know, at the time, I think, Oh, actually, I think it was a little bit later, but yeah, it was this feeling like, you know, people were saying unity, you know, we need to have unity and, and, and the, but then people were saying, well, we can't have unity without accountability.

And so this was something that. I really, um, we just started talking about, you know, that's kind of the truth in our families as well. And I think we're at that, that generation where, you know, generations of the past. Loyalty and love meant silence. It meant pushing things under the rug. It meant, you know, putting a happy face on suffering, right?

That's what family loyalty meant for many generations was not talking about things that mattered, not talking about painful things. And I, I see this on the national level now. It's, it's basically, we need to have accountability. We have to face the truth. I think that's what, this is about truth, whether it's political or family or, you know, we're all at this new level of awareness, I think about the primacy of truth and that truth, um, it sounds so cliche, but you know, truth is freedom, you know, as painful as it may be.

I think someone said, there's a quote, facts are always empowering, you know, like the truth may be painful, but it's liberating because we can always do something. With truth, we can go somewhere real, we can create something lasting and significant from a place of truth, even if it's painful. Um, so I think it's speaking to this larger sense of resilience.

Like we're in the process, both culturally and, you know, in our country here about building resilience, building a capacity to face our pain. And to transform that mud into a Lotus, right. To, to have a new world. That where everyone can thrive, not just some people at the top. So it's also about power, you know, um, power and families is a place of pain, right?

Like in a patriarchy, the man, the man or the father is always at the top and the women are below. And I think we're in the process of transforming that power dynamic into. You know, power with, power within the individual and power with each other. And that requires accountability. That requires integrity and, and in parenting as well, and in all our relationships, so I think it's really about truth, integrity, accountability, and seeing that as our safe place, not a place that we need to ignore because it's too scary, but learning, learning to lean towards, they talk about this in Buddhism as well, we lean towards the pain, we lean towards.

the sadness or the suffering. And that's a resilience I think we're building both on all these levels.

[00:49:50] Hunter: Amen. Yeah. I mean, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. Like what is in the family and the micro levels and the macro level, you know, and you're, that's exactly what you're saying. And it's like that as we transform the structures of power in our family, we, we ultimately, uh, help transform the structures of power.

in, in the larger sense of the, but yeah, we're in this major transition phase. And I, I, but I love the idea that truth is always helpful. Like truth is always something we can build on. I mean, if you look at South Africa, right? The truth and reconciliation mission, like we need that so desperately here, but we're like, Oh no, no, no, let's just move on and like, keep going and, and not like look at the past.

And, and so that's the same message that Bethany is offering us here is like, that we need to acknowledge the past. We need to acknowledge our compost so that we can build our flower. So that we can have that richness, right? That's waiting to be new life inside of it.

[00:50:51] Hunter: Yes. Yes. Awesome. Well, Bethany, thank you so much.

I really appreciate your Um, your voice, um, the work that you're sharing, the, um, you know, the, the way you've talked about so beautifully, like things that can be complex and heavy, but there, you've talked about it with a real sense of, um, compassion and understanding that I think is, is really valuable. So, um, I really, really appreciate your time coming on today.

[00:51:17] Bethany Webster: Thank you so much, Hunter. I really enjoyed our conversation. It's been really fun. Thanks for having me. 

[00:51:24] Hunter: And where can people find and what you're doing?

[00:51:26] Bethany Webster:  Yeah, absolutely. My website is bethanywebster. com. You can find everything there. I have tons of free resources, articles, eBooks, uh, there's videos.

Um, I also teach an online course, um, and my book is out. It's called Discovering the Inner Mother, A Guide to Healing the Mother Wound and Claiming Your Personal Power, and that's available anywhere books are sold. Thank you so much. Thank  you.

[00:51:53] Hunter: I love what Bethany has to say about those, you know, damaging beliefs about what it means to be a woman is not cool. We gotta unhook ourselves from this, this damaging stuff. Yeah, I'm in. I'm in totally. This is definitely some of the work that we do in Mindful Parenting. You know, we, we do the work to understand our triggers and to take care and heal wounds that are harming us and our kids.

You know, what we don't transform, we transmit. So it really helps to have a format and a process to look at these things and to take care of these wounds. And that's part of the work that we do in Mindful Parenting. So if you're interested, you want to learn more about Mindful Parenting, get on the wait list at mindfulparentingcourse.

com. In other words, I'd love to know what you think. Do you have a mother want? I mean, collectively, maybe you don't. We all, I don't know. I'd love to know what this has brought up for you on Instagram. Tag me. I'm at mindfulmamamentor. Let me know. I've put up an image of this podcast. You can find it and talk to me about what your takeaways are or share your own speech of where you're listening to this.

I'd love to see that. And I hope that you've gotten a lot out of it. I hope it's helped give you some perspective and helped water some healing seeds for you. And that's it. That's all I had to say today. I'm wishing you a beautiful week. Thank you, thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate your presence.

Please do share the podcast around and I'll see you next time. See you next week. Take care, my friend. Namaste.

[00:53:43] Bethany Webster: I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better. And just, I'd say, communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse. It's been really a positive influence in our lives, so definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to each other. Connecting more with them and not feeling like you're yelling all the time or you're like, why isn't this working? I would say definitely do it. It's so, so worth it. It'll change you.

No matter what age someone's child is, it's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's a great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective. 

[00:54:47] Hunter: Are you frustrated by parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting Membership. You will be joining Hundreds of members who have discovered the path of mindful parenting and now have confidence and clarity in their parenting. This isn't just another parenting class.

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique, lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting, connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to mindfulparentingcourse. com MindfulParentingCourse.

com to add your name to the waitlist so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment. I look forward to seeing you on the inside. MindfulParentingCourse. com

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