This Month is my Daughter Iris’s birth month. It also marks the beginning of one of most intense years of my life, and what I can only describe as my rebirth.
I’m sharing this story because I want to illuminate the importance of speaking your truth, and the importance of moving through your experiences, rather than trying to move around them. Our pain, as difficult is it can be, is very often our most important messenger and the way to healing.
I thought I knew myself, I thought I understood my struggles with anxiety but as my pregnancy unfolded with Iris I soon learnt that I didn’t. I am going to split this story into two parts, and I hope that by sharing my truth it can give you the courage to go into your darkness and bring all the shadows into the light, in order to truly show up in this life.
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An extraction from my journal. The only entry I made during my pregnancy with Iris.
7th August 2019
“There is a little baby squirming in my tummy. I’m now 25 weeks, it’s been tough and I feel like I have lost quite a lot of myself along the way. Can I say that I feel a bit absent, I’ve retreated somewhat. I want to feel excited but I don’t really feel anything. We are moving into our new house in a few weeks and I feel nothing. I’m very disconnected”
Physiological symptoms aside, what I experienced during my pregnancy and birth with Iris, on reflection was the unravelling of my person, a psychological death. To put it into context I had suffered with anxiety disorder since I was a child, triggered by a very early traumatic child hood experience. Throughout my life I went from being anxious attached to anxious avoidant.
During my pregnancy with Iris it was as though someone had unblocked my throat. All of my true thoughts, feelings, opinions and past experiences pushed past my internal walls and began to emerge. I did my best to push them back down deep within me, because that is what I had been doing for my entire life, in order to survive until this point. Trauma does not just go away, and when left unexpressed it continues to live within the body until it is. So while I pushed back on my trauma it manifested itself, in my belief, in other physical ways – hyperemesis, pelvic girdle pain, back pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and disassociation.
At the age of 3 I experienced one of many deeply traumatic experiences and from that moment onward I had been doing everything I could to make myself as small, unseen and as unnoticeable as possible. I was at constant war within myself, because within me was a child, a young girl, a woman who had fire, loved to sing, dance, draw, be colourful, be vibrant, be excited, be curious and speak her mind. I shoved her down, constantly, trying to fit into any other mould I could other than her, she managed to come out at times, but generally being her was very dangerous. I rejected her.
Every time I experienced pregnancy I would get flashes of her, and then when my 2 year old daughter started resembling me as a child, in every way possible, it was like someone holding up a mirror. During my pregnancy with Iris the memories began flooding in and I was reliving, on a daily basis my trauma. I completely shut myself down, I began to disassociate, which is something I used to do as a child; I would close my eyes and press my palms in to my eyes to block all light out and I would leave my body to float off into the stars in my minds eye. I felt so disconnect and anxious all the time. I had dealt with my ‘anxiety’ hadn’t I ? What I didn’t realise was that my anxiety was my most important messenger, it had been there my whole life, begging me to remember, remember, remember. See me. Love me. I can see that now, now that I have done the work, but before then I saw anxiety as the cause, something to hate, to medicate,to ignore; not a symptom of something far deeper.
On the day of Iris’s birth I was out walking, I remember talking to her, gently asking her to come out. I stopped underneath a huge chestnut tree and felt the first pang, I knew it was time but I didn’t say anything to anyone, I don’t know why, I just had this feeling that something very big was about to happen, bigger than her birth.
My rebirth. The beginning of my true healing.
Part 2 will be released on the 24th of November and I will share my healing journey and everything I have learn along the way.