How can I forgive myself for the shame of being an unmarried mother?

How can I forgive myself and get rid of the shame of being an unmarried mother? I am 70 years old and it still makes me cry.

This question was submitted by 'Gail'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hello Gail and thank you so much for writing in.

I guess when you had your child or children, it was during a less open-minded time than we currently enjoy. Of course, millions of more mothers in human history were unmarried when we consider that marriage, as a ritual, is maybe a couple of thousand years old and human history stretches back two million years.

Shame is something we learn to feel from others. Some learning is great, some not so great. Some learning needs to be unlearned.

Understanding that you made the choices you did (or circumstances sort of made the choices for you) is important only if you can begin to feel differently, too. I want you to really imagine what you would say to a really cherished and valued friend if you were speaking to them about their sense of shame around the exact same issue. Write down what you, as someone else, would say to them.

We all have many selves that operate in different situations and different times. Bringing all these different selves together so that we have a unity of self can be a challenge. We need to understand the person who made the decision and realize that we may have changed since then. Or maybe it was the best decision at the time. You may well have already read the 'Learn Self-Forgiveness and Release the Pressure' article, but please read it again if you have and focus on the last paragraph. You can also listen to the 'Forgive Yourself' hypnosis session.

If you made a mistake, the emphasis is on 'made'. It's in the past and you are alive in the present and future. But maybe you didn't make a mistake, because perhaps there was no other real way at the time.

All best wishes,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - October 19th, 2014 in

Have you got any other ideas for our questioner? Let them know in comments below: