Often, I receive testimonials from participants of the Healing From Birth mini-retreat. I celebrate whenever a woman experiences the freedom gained from clearing old trauma! Sarah’s testimonial is especially dear to me because she is now a birth professional. She graciously gave me permission to share her unedited testimonial in full.
I would love to see more birth professionals clearing their own experiences of trauma. This freedom allows us be fully present for our clients as Sarah describes in her testimonial.
“Evelyn and a birth healing workshop she led, truly transformed my life.”
I know, it sounds like a tall order, maybe even hard to believe, so let me explain further.
When I came to Evelyn’s workshop in August, I had birth baggage. Perhaps the baggage was not as obvious or disruptive as it had been at one time. But it was still there, preventing me from reaching my full potential more than 3 years after the birth of my sons.
I have five children. My oldest son is 7 years old was full term, born naturally after a very intense precipitous labor. My 3 year old twin sons were born via cesarean at 34 weeks gestation, due to severe pre-eclampsia and stubborn breech/transverse positioning. I also have twins- a son and daughter, that were born at 31 weeks VBAC due to spontaneous preterm labor.
Their births were accompanied by varying feelings regarding those experiences. In the workshop I chose to focus on the birth of my twin sons. That pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period was certainly the one I had the most baggage regarding. I was having a hard time, even years later looking at pictures of them as newborns without having feelings of guilt, sadness, and anger.
The labyrinth exercise helped me to see emotions, beliefs, and pain that had been pushed down, or never faced. Some that I didn’t even realize I had. The release of those feelings, while uncomfortable to face, was a very powerful step in resolution and acceptance for me. I had the power over them now, instead of letting them infect my subconscious (and daily life) with doubt, anger, and anxiety.
Evelyn, with her warm personality and experience working with women who have had difficult birth experiences, was an excellent facilitator for the exercises. It was a safe place, to feel without judgment, speak honestly and heal things many in our culture don’t acknowledge exist.
I came home and threw my labyrinth in the trash. At the time it was mostly because I lack artistic skill. I didn’t need one more “thing” in the house. Later, I realized it was the final step of letting go. I didn’t need to stare at it, or find it one day, because I had dealt with my feelings head on in the workshop.
Though it was the birth of my twin sons I focused on during the workshop, I found the closure and wisdom gained helped to disperse the small bits of baggage I had with my other births.
Closure, it was a beautiful thing. It’s not that those things didn’t happen, it’s simply that I control my view of them now. I’m not a passive participant. I have control.
Closing that chapter of my life allowed me to move forward with my desire to help other women have better birth experiences. I knew without first dealing with my own issues surrounding my births, that I was not in a position to serve others well.
By September, I felt confident enough in my own healing and closure. I attended my doula training workshop. In the workshop it was mentioned that birth issues of your own may detract from the birth experience of the woman that you are to serve, and that isn’t fair.
My gut instinct had been right. I had to face my births in order to move forward. I didn’t want to bring my baggage into another woman’s birth space.
I left the second day of the workshop and in the following days critically assessed my ability to do that. In my reflection, I determined that yes, I was ready.
I have since supported two families through the labor and birthing process as a doula. Both families have been very complimentary of my services.
The bigger testament to Evelyn’s influence on my healing however, is that I have not had issues with situations that would have previously triggered anxiety and sadness.
I am able to look at my births in a healthy way.
For that, I am so thankful!
~Sarah Scales, Birth Doula
This post was originally published on the Peaceful Birth Project’s website on March 1, 2014.