After nine years and ten seasons, the groundbreaking show on OWN, “Iyanla Fix My Life,” has come to an end. In celebration of the show that changed the trajectory of a network, OWN aired a special finale with Iyanla Vanzant speaking about some of the more memorable episodes of the series, including one that focused on the relationship between three generations of women, in which the grandmother had prevented her daughter from mothering her grandchild in the way that she might have wanted.
This was the very first episode of the series. But it also stands out in Vanzant’s mind because of the way this family dynamic mirrored her own.
In reflection, Vanzant said, “Our first show was about a mother and daughter in breakdown.” When Vanzant arrives at the grandmother’s house, after pleasantries, she asks her, how is Brenda (the daughter) supposed to be a mother to Brenetta (the granddaughter) with you (the grandmother) in the way.
The grandmother responds, Brenetta is more of a daughter than my real daughter.
Iyanla says of the experience,
“Ten minutes into the conversation with my very first guest, she told the story of my relationship with my youngest daughter. When she had her son at 16, I said she can’t raise this kid. So I did it. I created a fracture in the relationship between that mother and child. Knowing that I was being filmed, I kept a poker face. However, every question I asked her, I was internally saying, ‘This is about my relationship with my daughter.’
And my relationship with motherhood was complicated. I was teen mother and I grew up in a time when being pregnant at 16 did not get you a tv show. It got you shamed and guilted and hidden. By the time I’m 21, I’ve got three children, one whose father is absent, one whose father is addicted to heroin and one whose father is violent. I knew that I was the one that was going to have to get me and my three children wherever it was that we were going in life. I had some stuff I had to heal up and I was going to heal it up. And that’s how I learned about doing the work.”