Physical trauma is obvious. Emotional trauma is unseen. We know we have experienced emotional trauma by the way we feel. After an intense event we may have intrusive recollections, flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance or numbness. These feelings have the potential to persist indefinitely. Our body is made of energy and consists of mental, emotional, spiritual and other layers as well as the physical. The trauma we experienced injured aspects of us that cannot be seen by most. Without support or careful self work, the pain associated with this wounding can persist long term or even indefinitely.
The first time I experienced this kind of imprinting in my birth work was at a significant shoulder dystocia birth. The emerging baby was stuck for almost 5 full minutes. The emotions/energy in the room was intense to say the least. I was helpless in my role as a birth doula. The outcome was amazing but for days after that birth I had spontaneous flashbacks of baby's squished purple head. I recognized what was happening immediately and made myself an appointment for professional support from my shaman. I worried that if left unattended, each time a baby's head was born in future I might return to the fight or flight experience of intense fear as if every baby was stuck.
In my work, common experiences that have this kind of imprint of trauma on the energy body include disempowering or scary birth experiences (as the birth giver or support people), miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss and sexual violence. These are the most common events that I support people in processing and healing.
One knows that they have healed their trauma when the recollection of an experience no longer has weight. That is, when a story is just a story, that can be told without a physical response in the body.
I had a miscarriage 11 years ago. I was unaware of the loss of my baby until I had a routine 12 week ultrasound. It wasn't until 3 years later that I attended to this experience specifically with the support of my energy medicine practitioner. Years later I sat in on a pregnancy and infant loss sensitivity workshop. I listened as the facilitator told the room that the pain of loss never goes away. That didn't feel true to me. I had made complete peace with my pregnancy loss. I had deeper awareness as to how this experience offered me opportunities to grow, heal and even better support others. I could speak about the baby I lost with peace and calm and even gratitude. At a later time when I spoke about my hospital experience during that same miscarriage, I could barely speak. My voice vibrated, my throat felt as if it would close and my whole body shook as if it might lift off of the chair. I realized I still had a significant wound associated with my loss experience. While I had done healing work around the baby I lost, I had not dealt with how I was mistreated. Just recalling the words that were inappropriately spoken to me made me feel physical and emotional pain.
This response is what we refer to as a trigger. A poke to our wound lights it up as if it was as fresh as the day we were wounded. Energy is not bound by time and space. Unaddressed, time does not heal our wounds.
So what does heal all? There are many different approaches to healing the wounds we can't see. Counselling, cognitive therapy, even bodywork. The approach I prefer for my own healing and obviously the work I am most familiar with is energy healing. The gift of energy healing is we don't have to re-traumatize the system. A simple recollection or connecting with the experience is often enough to light it up. Clients often start to experience an emotional response like crying (a simple but powerful release technique) and we can administer Reiki specifically to the areas of the body where trauma is felt (throat, chest, etc) and the rest of the body. We can offer healing to the whole person without digging into the subconscious. Because energy is not bound by time and space, we can also use Reiki to connect with the person at the time that the original event occurred. The client also holds the intention to let go of the trauma in their field with the guidance of the energy practitioner.
Why does trauma impact us so significantly anyway? Trauma serves great purpose. When we experience something frightening or dangerous, the imprint from this experience has the potential to protect us from future experiences. For example, when a soldier nearly dies after a bridge is blown up at war, the fight or flight he/she experiences when approaching bridges in future has the potential to save their life. Trauma offers a protective mechanism. In this way, when a person experiences the loss of a baby or has a traumatic birth, the imprint of this trauma can be enough to subconsciously prevent future pregnancies from occurring to protect the person from experiencing an event that the person feels they couldn't survive experiencing again. Energy healing can release and heal the wounds or energy that no longer serve us. It's not unusual for me to help clients process and heal from a loss so that they can become pregnant again.
When I have a new client who is experiencing secondary infertility (infertility after a previous conception/pregnancy) I will often start with exploring previous traumatic birth experiences, a significant loss or significant postpartum event.
I don't believe we have to suffer forever after experiencing a traumatic birth, a pregnancy loss, stillbirth or other significant event. I don't believe there is a right or wrong way to move through our grief and trauma, but I have seen and experienced healing that leaves us feeling light and unattached to the original weight and pain of our hard life experiences.
Healing after birth - a free online seminar for doulas
July 13, 2017 at 7:30pm