Yesterday I was clever and wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I will change myself.
The pages were written a while ago. A chapter that has been my story. A journey that I didn’t choose but that wrote me as it’s main character.
It’s been years that the pages have been written, dark days have at times been my reality. But now I feel a peace I’ve never felt before, and my wings are taking true flight, it is the close of a chapter, a time to look a head, there are new pages to write.
It’s been a long road my journey, recovery has been a battle I have waged and sort to win. There are years spent trying to make a difference for those like me lost too in the pain. It’s been hard, I’ve felt alone in a no man’s land.
PTSD largely unknown in relation to birth and perinatal mental health has meant a constant need to raise awareness and share how devastating it can be. Where other conditions have found the light, it has taken a lot of work to see birth trauma and PTSD recognised.
In the ‘World of Birth’ I have been an unwelcome voice, while the focus has been on physiological birth, the reality is that so much impacts on how a woman gives birth and many are struggling with their experiences. Birth is unpredictable and the system in place is lacking, often failing families and those that work to care for them. When others have sort to paint the blissful picture I have been the voice that reminds them that sometimes women are hurt, damaged and in pain from a birth that is anything but blissful. Many have not wanted to listen. I’ve told my story and seen some recoil in horror, even those who have told me to not share the damage I’ve carried. Yet this has been my journey, that out of my pain others could know they are not alone, and in turn find solace. That some may listen and question the care they give, that services may learn from the things I endured to help improve, so others may be spared.
As time has passed though I find I’m now in a new place. The pages are turning and this chapter is drawing to a close. The conversation around birth trauma is open and many more are speaking out. There are others too who are taking the reins to help improve birth and have the ability to do so in more powerful and eloquent ways they I ever could. I like to believe that I have played a part in opening the eyes to help others see what birth trauma is and its effect. I hope that in some ways I helped to bring change both in birth and in how it relates to perinatal mental health. My pain caused me to want to try to change the world, but in reality all we can change is ourselves. The issues that are leading to trauma run deep and need time to address. Many still just do not listen, ears closed to the reality of what they do not wish to see. It pains me that I still hear the voices of ones affected. But I cannot change the world, however much I want to, but I hope that others we see the need to change themselves, to question how we care for women and families so that in time trauma can be prevented.
There is now change for me. I know that now it’s time for me to draw my chapter to a close. My daughters are now beautiful young women forging their own lives and futures. I have time now to find me. My awareness of my past has given me insights into how I have become who I am, carved and moulded by not just trauma but the life that held me bound, the people around me who didn’t help my healing, and their expectations of me. Also my view of myself, my belief that I held little value, broken, defective and lost. Yet this is passing and I feel peace like I’ve never felt before. Healing for me is knowing that along the way I’ve tried to bring light out of my darkness, that my past while it has shaped me, is not who I am. It is a chapter that will forever tell a part of me, of my story, but not the whole of me.
So what does this mean for my future?
While the past we cannot change, and the future is unwritten, I know my present is here and it’s bright. I have found and feel love. I have beautiful daughters that bring me joy and make me so proud. I have new opportunities that lay before, me like cards ready to be played. My chapter, my journey, my experience I feel now it is time to close. It’s time for me to soar, to new beginnings and new adventures, even maybe new places.
My heart feels full of gratitude for all that life is. I was broken but those scars now lie faded, I now see my worth in the eyes of those that love me and find strength in those I choose to surround me. The darkness of the cocoon I was in is far behind me, wings know lifting me higher, the sky blue and endless. It is time to let it go, like the falling leaves of autumn this will be a time of change but also beauty.
I will still continue to offer support to others but in a new way that promotes nurturing, healing and growth. I have a job that I love which gives me the opportunity to help others with the support I never had. In time, hopefully, I will complete my book, the scrawlings of which litter my laptop. I’m looking forward to see what else lies a head.
There are many others who are now bravely sharing their journeys and they are powerful to hear. We owe it to them to listen. We can make sure that if we look deep in ourselves and the care we give women in pregnancy and birth we can make the changes that help every family to have a positive experience. This is what will change the world of birth, not policy, not organisations or guidelines but each person changing themselves.
When I close my eyes I can still see my little fairy baby, she’s in her glass box and the lights are still twinkling and the sounds of the machines are still in my ears, but now I feel peace and the pain floats from me because when I open my eyes she’s standing there before me, her sister by her side and their beauty takes my breath away……so I turn the page, it’s blank, a new chapter, and it’s waiting to be written. X